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Travel Tip: Dance in Germany
John Neumeier: The Floating World - Seven Haiku of the Moon

Jo&euml;lle Boulogne and Alexandre Riabkoin John Neumeier’s <EM>Seven Haiku of the Moon</EM>
Joëlle Boulogne and Alexandre Riabko
in John Neumeier's Seven Haiku of the Moon
John Neumeier: The Floating World - Seven Haiku of the Moon
HAMBURG  •  Staatsoper Hamburg  •  Ongoing

Seven Haiku of the Moon
Ballet by John Neumeier

First part of The Floating World:
Second part : Seasons – The Colors of Time

Music: Arvo Pärt, Johann Sebastian Bach
Choreography, Set, Light Design: John Neumeier
Costumes: Yukiko Hanai

The Hamburg Ballet

Seven Haiku of the Moon
It is surely impossible to dance a Haiku. But, I believe, there is a parallel be tween the Japanese poetic form and dance. Firstly, both arts suggest more than what is actually said, or shown. And, just as Haiku pin-points a particular instant of time, sharply observing and comparing concrete images to suggest cosmic unity, so may dance use the reality of the human body, moving through time and space, to evoke something universal or metaphysical.

Fascinated by this relationship between the two arts, I have arranged a series of "visual Haiku" joining dance, music, and spoken text. However, my ballet does not illustrate the Haiku which inspired me, but establishes images independent of the poems. Similar to Haiku Painting, this combination of text and movement results in a dialogue – a new form revealing insights neither word or dance alone could express, and thus expanding the meaning of the poems. One might ask, are the spoken Haiku the thoughts of the dancers while "moon viewing", or are the dances visions provoked by hearing the words of the Haiku?

Arvo Pärt's music seemed ideal for the abbreviated, concentrated, profoundly simple Haiku form. During my preparations I heard a sarabande of Pärt's, which quotes Johann Sebastian Bach. Suddenly struck, not only by the calligraphic similarity of Bach's name to that of the poet Basho—, I realized that the two great artists had lived at the same time (J. S. Bach 1685–1750—Basho—1644–1694)—had looked at the same moon. It seemed right that some of J. S. Bach's music be woven into the ballet.

The ballet tells no particular story, but suggests many. Following the seasons, from Autumn to Autumn, moon images unite the dances. A moon framed by the "reflection of the night sky" touches its viewers.

John Neumeier

Hamburg Ballet Website

Detailed schedule information:

Contact: Theaterstrasse 25
D-20354 Hamburg
Tel: (49) 40 35 68 68

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