The Staatsballett Berlin celebrated its 10thanniversary in 2014. The tradition though goes far beyond these ten years, as the company was founded by a reunification of the former ballet ensembles of Berlin’s three opera houses in 2004. Eversince, the Staatsballett has become one of the world’s leading ballet companies.
As Germany’s largest company to date and Berlin’s only classically trained ballet ensemble, the dancers excel in the whole variety of the ballet repertory: deeply rooted in the classical repertory, neo-classical and contemporary works are presented, as well.
Performance venues are the stages of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Komische Oper Berlin and the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater. In addition to these regular locations, the company also seizes opportunities to dance on other venues of the city, for example at the Tempodrom Berlin in the 2014/2015 season.
Since 2011, the Staatsballett Berlin has its home at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The opera’s former paint workshops have now become modern ballet studios that offer excellent working conditions.
With the start of the 2014/2015 season, Nacho Duato has become the Artistic Director of the Staatsballett Berlin. The renowned choreographer and ballet director brings the broad variety of his worldwide creations into the work of the company.
Born in Valencia/Spain, Nacho Duato began his professional dance training at the Rambert School in London. He then studied at the Mudra School of Maurice Béjart and eventually completed his education at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York. In 1980, Nacho Duato signed his first contract with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm. Onlyone year later, Jiři Kylián hired him for the Nederlands Dans Theater in Den Haag.
His talent soon led Nacho Duato beyond the borders of being a dancer to also devoting himself to choreography. In 1986, he was appointed one of the three house choreographers at the Nederlands Dans Theater. In 1990, the Culture Ministry in Madrid invited Nacho Duato to return to Spain and offered him the direction of the Compania Nacional de Danza. In Madrid, he created an extensive oeuvre and gained worldwide attention.
One year after his 20thanniversary at the Compañía Nacional de Danza, on 01 January 2011, Nacho Duato was appointed the artistic director of the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg.
As a choreographer, it is important for Nacho Duato to work closely with his company and to really get to know the dancers. He therefore took his time until he created a new choreography, uniquely designed for the company of the Staatsballett Berlin. The creation with the title “Static Time” premiered at the end of Nacho Duato’s first season as part of the triple bill evening “Duato | Kylián” on 14 May 2015.
However, the audience had a chance to familiarize itself with Duato’s style much earlier: Nacho Duato’s “Sleeping Beauty”, created during his tenure in St. Petersburg, premiered in Berlin in February 2015. The two classical pieces “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” were already included in the repertory, making the Tchaikovsky trilogy complete again.
In March 2015, Nacho Duato’s signature piece “Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness”, a homage to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, joined the Staatsballett repertory.
Repertory works of various styles completed Duato’s first season in Berlin. Two guest performances, strongly connected to Nacho Duato’s biography, were further notable highlights: the Béjart Ballet Lausanne presented itself to Berlin’s audience in October 2014 as well as the newly founded touring ensemble of Jiři Kylián's former NDT lll in March 2015.
For Nacho Duato and his company, the 2015/2016 season started with a trip to his native Spain. At the Teatro Real in Madrid, they presented three of his pieces: From the classical repertoire they presented Duato’s "Sleeping Beauty", and with Duato’s "Static Time” and his “White Darkness” – together with Marco Goecke's "and the sky on cloudy day" – they also showed a modern program.
In the season 2015/2016, the modern style of Nacho Duato unfolded further with three premieres, which could not have been more different.
In October 2015, the first premiere of the season was the triple bill “Duato | Kylián | Naharin”. The fast-paced program begins with Nacho Duato’s "Castrati", based on the fate of castrati singers in the 18th century with music by Antonio Vivaldi and Karl Jenkins. With Ohad Naharins "Secus", the company takes completely new steps as the dancers will make use of Naharin’s motion concept "Gaga" for the very first time. Jiří Kylián's "Petite Mort" rounds the evening off with great poetic sensuality, completely in sync with the famous Mozart piano concertos, which provide the musical backdrop.
In February 2016, Nacho Duato presented his “Herrumbre”, a highly political piece, which refers to the 2004 terrorists’ bombings in Madrid and the worldwide release of shocking images from the Guantanamo prison in the same year. By taking up issues such as terrorism, violence and oppression, Nacho Duato wants to point out their ubiquity and calls for a shared human dignity.
The third premiere of the season was George Balanchine's famous choreography "Jewels", which was inspired by the unique beauty and the unmistakable sparkle of rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.
A guest performance by the Norwegian National Ballet Oslo with a choreography based on Henrik Ibsen’s "Ghosts" completed – along with numerous repertory pieces – the highly the diverse 2015/2016 season.
In the 2016/2017 season, Nacho Duato invites the internationally renowned choreographers Jean-Christophe Maillot, Benjamin Millepied, Martin Schläpfer, and Hofesh Shechter to present their artistic visions to the Berlin audience.
While "7" by Martin Schläpfer is presented as a guest performance of the Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg, "Altro Canto" by Maillot, "Daphnis et Chloé" by Millepied and "The Art of Not Looking Back" by Shechter will join the Staatsballett repertoire. In combination with Shecher's work, Duato will present another creation for the Staatsballett, which will deal with the consequences of mankind’s destruction of the environment. Furthermore, a milestone of classical ballet will receive a fresh update: With his interpretation of "The Nutcracker" Duato presents a neoclassical version of this popular ballet.
In the 2016/2017 season, a new format will also be introduced, with which the director wants to promote young talents: For "DANCE \\\ RUPTION" dancers of the company will turn into choreographers and will create their own works together with their colleagues. First results will be presented at the Tischlerei of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
In addition to the performances on the Berlin stages, the Staatsballett will travel to Italy and will perform "Sleeping Beauty" in the Teatro Regio di Torino from 17 to 22 December 2017. In Berlin, a new offer will be launched to attract a new audience: Young people between the ages of 17 and 27 can become ballet ambassadors called “BaBos”.
As guests of the Staatsballett the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin will perform under the artistic direction of Gregor Seyffert and for the very first time the Ballettschule am Staatsballett, which was founded by Staatsballett dancer David Simic, will give a premiere on the big stage: "Coppélia".