‘The four Temperaments’ by George Balanchine is not only a jewel of the neoclassical repertoire, it also embodies everything that characterizes the style of the Russian-American star choreographer: virtuoso technique, athletic dynamism and charming details. To the eponymous score by the composer Paul Hindemith, Balanchine created his interpretation of the four ancient humours: phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholy and choleric. This neoclassical view provides the evening with a starting point for four new perspectives. Contemporary and individual versions of human mood patterns are lined up to explore the multiplicity of feelings through dance.
John Neumeier is an established figure in the national and international ballet world and has been ballet director and chief choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet for almost 50 years, for which he has created and continues to create outstanding evening-length works. It is now all the more interesting for him to be part of an evening that brings together different styles and signatures. For Ballett am Rhein he choreographs a world premiere dedicated to the melancholic temperament, guided by the music of Franz Schubert. Bittersweet longing and anticipation lie in every movement, in every pause and breath.
For more than 30 years Franco-Canadian Hélène Blackburn has directed the dance company "Cas Public" in Montréal which successfully tours all over the world. Her pieces regularly guest at renowned international theatres such as the Paris Opera but can also be seen in schools and educational institutions as Blackburn has set herself the goal of creating sophisticated contemporary dance theatre for all generations. Both structurally and aesthetically, she scrutinizes Balanchine's original choreography for "Choleric" and creates a new choreography from her perspective on its individual elements.
Belgian choreographer Michèle Anne de Mey tackles the supposedly undanceable phlegmatic temperament for this evening, confronting it with the energy of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." De Mey, who along with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker was one of the co-founders of the "Rosas" company in 1982, has attracted attention in recent years primarily with works that oscillate between the genres of dance, theatre and film - highly precise, sensitive works that appear like miniatures and yet surprise with astonishingly great power.
Demis Volpi, ballet director and chief choreographer of Ballett am Rhein, explores the sanguine temperament. The sanguine human being is considered to be spirited, lively and cheerful - based on this, Volpi examines in his choreography the driving force that forms the basis of our moving physicality.