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Past Links 2011

Danielle DeVor

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Guest The Lilac Fairy

I agree, great link. Although, my teacher who is a Kirov graduate, is still insure on how all of this will turn out. On the other hand I am hopeful that Kirov will still produce some beautiful dancers. :clapping:

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Danielle DeVor
Danielle DeVor

The Zurich Ballet, which will perform in Tel Aviv this month, is dominated by its soon-to-retire artistic director Heinz Spoerli.




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Thanks for posting this. It provided some interesting insights into his character. It prompted me to read some reviews from other locations - the play got really mixed reviews. It says it will be in Russian which should be interesting. Oddly enough DS is supposed to be on a tour in Tel-Aviv that ends on the 15th when the production starts. We're sending him this link and hoping he is there another day or two and can manage to get to the show. I know they have several Russian speaking dancers in his company who hopefully will be drawn to seeing it provided tickets are available. DS' speaks enough Russian for socializing and survival - it would be interesting to see if he can make anything out of the play. Most importantly what a great opportunity to consider career and performing options that one has after years spent as a dancer.

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We read this over the weekend. There were some interesting notes regarding Mr. Spoerli's reasoning for leaving that I haven't yet heard of. We know he announced two years ago - or more - of his intent to retire at the end of the season but this made it seem like a recent decision! Also some interesting comments regarding the alleged Swiss view of Spoerli's decision to create an international group of dancers rather than hiring strictly from the pool of Swiss dancers. I may have read too much into the article but it seemed fairly critical of his prominence in the company (and yes, they had an entire tram painted with certain dancers from the company - it ran throughout Zurich the entire month of Spoerli's 70th birthday and yes - the dancers all wear vests that say Heniz Spoerli's Zurcher Ballet :).) I don't know what is true and what isn't - but it is the first article I've read that is tainted with criticism, though certainly in a very low key manner! And it was particularly interesting to hear reference to potential changes that may await the company from a financial perspective. For the past several years they've been fairly secure.

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I also thought it was quite interesting. :)


Spoerli has been an "institution" in dance - at least over here - since I can remember.


The part in the article where he mentions reasons for not only hiring Swiss dancers is also intriguing; I do not think that anyone else in this part of Europe goes to such trouble to "explain" their hiring of "foreign" dancers; but fact is - there are almost no "homegrown" dancers in many companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. (I am not as familiar with France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Czech, etc. etc. etc.)


It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Zurich company when Spoerli retires. I hope it can retain its size and presence; but the signs of the times do not point in that direction. -sigh-



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this was great! Thanks! :)



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Well, if you want to know dirty details PM me ;-)


It makes me always angry when I hear that he has nearly no Swiss dancers and he should have more "homegrown" dancers. Many of his dancers studied in Switzerland.

The point is, that the situation in Switzerland with dance/ballet is so bad that you have to go abroad to find a good school (or you have the perfect body and are very very talented and lucky and you will get into one of the few good schools). I personally had to go to Italy to have a decent formation as a professional dancers (without being vicitm to the usual snobism in Switzerland if you want to enter a top school and do not have 180° turnout).


There is no acknowledged formation for balletteachers, you have to go abroad to do that (ME again!!) Everyone can open a school, maximum lessons you may take are twice a week (it is hard to find school that offers more), many times 60 min long, children are put on pointe with one lesson a week (even if you have a teacher who is aware of the problems they may create they have to do that to survive, otherwise you will loos students) and so on.


There's no such a thing like dance/ballet in university and if you want to take the lesson they offer the level is extremly low and you won't get points or marks for what you are doing there. If you study, you kill yourself with evening lessons and studying during the night (me again). For multiple classes a week (like everyday a class) you have to find multiple schools and travel a lot (if you do not have a car or a parent that is your driver nearly impossible).


Under these circumstances it is extremly difficult to become a dancer: You go the way with perfect body and talent over an accademy or you will never be a pro (or you go abroad).


So what is better? To have foreign dancers who studied in Switzerland or Swiss dancers who studied abroad?


Spoerli made extreme efforts to change this situation but government and others tought it would not be important. Just an example: Prix de Lausanne is shown all over the world in TV. Guess where you cannot watch it? Yes, in Switzerland. You have to go to Lausanne if you want to see it!


Spoerli announced about 3 years ago that he will retire (officially!). The finances are already bad, their main sponsor cut nearly all the money (but again about 2 years ago). We do not have any further cuts in cultur (the crises is not so bad in Switzerland as in other places). He might be vanished but the Zürcher Ballett is thanks to him one of the best comapnies in Europe and I think we can allow him a little vanity.


Sorry for ranting: I danced nearly 20 years in my homecountry and had to overcome so many obstacles until I decided to go abroad and I have found the dance paradise (although people there are complaining....)

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Danielle DeVor

But the company does at least have some Swiss dancers. I know of at least five, maybe six. He also brings in dancers from Prix de Lausanne and that are from the school in Zurich. The school in Zurich is attempting to expand and seems to be doing well - many dancers that graduated this year found jobs. So maybe things are changing - at least in that city. As for the rest of the company, for such a small group it has a very high number of countries represented. He has a certain look he wants, especially with the men. As for finances, I knew that there were problems in other cities. But have heard nothing of possible problems in Zurich other than a cancelled Asian trip last May. They still have two international tours this year, the program is still very aggressive, Spoerli choreographed a new ballet for the opening of the season and will do yet another new program for the spring. From my perspective they are still going strong but obviously I'm looking from the outside - and from thousands of miles away. It's always interesting to hear other perspectives, but honestly I've never heard anyone criticize Spoerli. Sometimes his pieces - but even that doesn't happen often! In fact, everytime my DS mentions Zurich Ballet the automatic response is Heinz Spoerli. So the two terms have become synonymous.

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Back when I was dancing, Basel Ballet was synonymous with Spoerli. (oooh, that dates me, for sure! ;) )


I did not know that Basel Ballet was closing! There are always rumors, but I had not heard that this time it was "for real".

As far as the website tells, the theatre will continue to be supported financially through the next two to three sesaons.

Do you know something they are not telling?


That would be really very bad if that comes to pass. I am always sad when (dance - or any) companies have to close. :(

Over here, in the typical "3-part-houses" (plays, opera and dance together) if one has to close to save money, it is usually either the acting or the dance dept.



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They must have changed their mind - sorry if I alarmed you and I went and deleted that section from my previous comment since it now sounds like conjecture! I do know that a month or two after DS performed in Basel the message went out that they would be closing. Someone must have stepped in. I know there was a Facebook Campaign to try and save it. I didn't post the article at the time because we were still very quiet about DS' location.

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