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Ballet by John Neumeier

Préludes CV

A choreographic sketchbook in two parts

Don't try to understand this ballet. It has no "story" (that I could tell you) aside from the many stories that you yourself might sense, remember, or recognize while hearing this music and seeing the accompanying movement images. Surely, each of you might suggest very different stories...
Lera Auerbach's music moved me. Spontaneously, I chose dancers I'd "heard" in the various preludes and the characters of the ballet developed directly out of their personalities. Gradually their actions (the choreography) defined them and they took on a particular, independent life of their own. At the same time, just as people in real life, they remain enigmatic. For example, I see what they do (I invented it!) but don't understand their motivation. I don't always know what they're thinking. Sometimes I clearly recognize these characters in various, incongruous situations – sometimes they look like other people. I know them – I don't know them. Their relationships are ambiguous and constantly changing. They are unpredictable – like people in real life...

June 9, 2003
Notes during the last rehearsal days of "Préludes CV"

Parts of the ballet resemble a page in a sketchbook on which various objects are drawn in what seems to be unrelated juxtaposition to each other. Yet, this page may have a cryptic beauty of its own. The dimension of the paper provides the artist with a unifying space, and it is his own instinct which places each drawing "just there" in relation to each other, creating an enigmatic logic and beauty through his unconscious choices. Likewise, the choreographer is limited (as the artist by his page), by the spacial dimensions of the stage and the duration of the music. Within the limitations of my "page" (the stage), I have sometimes choreographed unrelated fragments of human situations in close proximity. Often in a sketchbook, the same motif may be drawn over and over again, revealing countless facets of the same object. The same – but different. Certain events in my ballet are also repeated – multiple variations of an action, dance or situation occur in varying contexts. The same – but different. In this reiteration, the observer (that is, the artist or choreographer) attempts to grasp an essence by giving form to the multiple facets of the same – constantly changing – subject...

April 3, 2003
Notes during the first rehearsal days of "Préludes CV"

John Neumeier


Music: Lera Auerbach – 24 Preludes for Violoncello and Piano and 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano
Choreography, Set and Costumes: John Neumeier

Premiere:
Hamburg Ballet, Hamburg, June 23, 2003

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