Everything for that magical moment

Bettina Welzel

Bettina Welzel

Maybe you wonder how I get hold of the information I need to organize guest performances in Leverkusen. The answer is: by attending as many live performances as possible by major ensembles, and by independent, regional and international dance groups, talking to managing directors, tour managers and artists’ agencies, and networking with choreographers and colleagues working in other theaters. A second option is online video searches, specialist publications and professional gatherings (e.g. the internationale tanzmesse). All that research is followed by a wide range of organizational activities until finally a specific ensemble can perform in Leverkusen. Tour schedules have to be viewed, the technical requirements of the dancers have to be discussed with our technicians, my colleagues who are responsible for concerts and theater performances have to be consulted about schedules, hotels have to be booked and contracts negotiated. And even when everything seems to have been arranged and the dancers are en route to Leverkusen things can go wrong. For example, an ensemble could get stuck somewhere due to a rail strike. Then we have to find solutions to avoid canceling a performance. As you can see: the crowning glory of what is often many years’ work is always the performance itself – the arrival of the guests in our theatre, the technical setup and rehearsals, then the magical moment when the hall is buzzing with excitement and the curtain is raised.

In the coming season we will once again be presenting a small overview of the programs currently on offer by the European dance scene. I am particularly pleased that after many years we have once again managed to secure a performance by the Ballet Preljocaj from Aix-en-Provence. After training in classical ballet, choreographer Angelin Preljocaj turned to contemporary dance. During his career he was a member of the Merce Cunningham ensemble, whose clearly structured works always fascinated him. Back in France, in 1985 he founded the Ballet Preljocaj and rapidly gained a reputation as a shooting star of the young French dance scene. Strength and speed coupled with precision and agility are the hallmarks of Preljocaj's expressive medium and have influenced the development of a whole generation of dancers. Playlist # 1 – an evening with extracts from the repertoire – immediately appealed to me. A panorama of Angelin Preljocaj’s expressiveness and creativity unfolds before the eyes of the audience: From an intensive duet by two male dancers (Le Parc) from 1994 through some of his own most beautiful and romantic pas de deux (Snow White - brilliant!) to La Méduse, a sequence for seven dancers created in 2015. The program was first performed in St. Petersburg in 2015 to mark the 30th anniversary of the ensemble and Leverkusen will be its first performance in Germany.

The French production by American choreographer Andrew Skeels is completely different. After the First World War, when clubs were mushrooming in Berlin, swing emerged in New York's black neighborhoods. Prohibition, segregation and the Depression could not prevent people having fun and seeking an escape from the drudgery of daily life in music and dance.

This season's program also includes two big names from the Netherlands, Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, plus – for the first time in the Erholungshaus – Spellbound Contemporary Ballet from Italy. For children and families, Collectif Petit Travers will be performing an enchanting dance -/juggling act in March. And naturally, you will have an opportunity to see how the young members of the German National Youth Ballet are developing.


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