White Sleep by Universal Ballet, music by Philip Glass (Truman Sleeps), choreography Raimondo Rebeck. This is Modern by Universal Ballet, Korea. Shot on 26.6.2017 in Astana Opera house in frames of Eurasian Dance Festival 2017.
Raimondo Rebeck, born in Berlin, received his training at Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. As principal dancer at Staatsoper Berlin, Deutsche Opera Berlin and Aalto Ballet Essen, he is one of the most well known German dancers. He has won numerous national and international awards, for instance in Lausanne and Osaka. He also received the Berlin and German critics’ award. Roland Petit, Maurice Bejart and Rudolf Nurejev created leading parts specifically for him. Since 2003, he has been a worldwide requested ballet master and choreographer.
Raimondo Rebeck about the White Sleep
Maybe the words dementia or Alzheimer’s are too much but “White Sleep” is inspired by this disease. For 17 minutes, I am trying to touch on the idea of things that you forget slowly in life. My grandmother, who meant the most to me, suffered from the disease, so I saw how things slowly disappeared from the mind. I think with memories, there are two opinions. Sometimes, it is harder to forget than to remember but also sometimes it is harder to remember than to forget. So what I’m trying to do is to play with this. It’s not dramatically bad to forget. I talked to those who suffer from dementia, including my grandmother, and found out that it’s hard when they can’t remember things in the beginning but then they cross a line where it doesn’t bother them anymore and it’s not so bad for them to forget. It’s like they forgot how to forget. If you forgot everything, you cannot forget anything. I saw this as a positive thing. If your mind starts to forget things and it becomes empty, one can see it as a total darkness or pure white. I saw it as white and named the piece “White Sleep.”
The Universal Ballet was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1984. One of only four professional ballet companies in South Korea, the company performs a repertory that includes many full length classical story ballets, together with shorter contemporary works and original full-length Korean ballets created especially for the company. The company is supported by followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, with Moon’s daughter-in-law Julia H. Moon, who was the company’s prima ballerina until 2001, now serving as General Director. According to the New York Times the Universal Ballet is considered to be one of Asia’s leading ballet companies.
Philip Morris Glass is an American composer. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century. Glass’s compositions have been described as minimal music, similar to other “minimalist” composers including La Monte Young, Steve Reich and Terry Riley. However, Glass has described himself instead as a composer of “music with repetitive structures”, which he has helped evolve stylistically. Glass founded the Philip Glass Ensemble, with which he still performs on keyboards. He has written numerous operas and musical theatre works, eleven symphonies, eleven concertos, seven string quartets and various other chamber music, and film scores. Three of his film scores have been nominated for Academy Awards.
Photos by Jack Devant Ballet Photography with kind permission of the Eurasian Dance Festival and Astana Opera, special thanks to Vasily Medvedev, Stanislav Feco and Janibek Kaiyr.