Heart-Stopping Emotion

The Stuttgart Ballet, renowned for its performances of choreographer John Cranko's dramatic ballets, will visit Japan for the first time in three years, marking its tenth trip to Japan.

John Cranko was a genius at telling the stories of longer literary works through the wordless medium of dance and at clearly portraying the personalities and psychological traits of the characters. With legendary breakthrough works that earned his collaboration with the Stuttgart Ballet the nickname of "the Miracle of Stuttgart," he brought the company into the ranks of the world's first-class ballet troupes. Even in the years since Cranko's death, his innovative creativity has become part of the company's legacy and has built for it a unique position in the world of ballet.

Both ballets that will be performed during this tour, Romeo and Juliet and Onegin, are masterpieces that Cranko created based on long works that are part of humanity's literary heritage. Both excerpts and full productions of these works have been seen in Japan on numerous occasions, and they have a reputation among ballet fans for arousing the full range of human emotions. In addition, a one-time gala performance, "The Miracle of Stuttgart," will give audiences in Japan a unique opportunity to see the company as it is today in a program that ranges from Cranko's shorter pieces to contemporary works.

The Stuttgart Ballet has been a multinational troupe since Cranko's time, and it continues that tradition today by recruiting the finest dancers from around the world, who all share an uncommon ability to portray characters. We are certain that seeing these dance-dramas performed by artists with exquisite acting ability will be an unforgettable emotional experience for you.

Photo:Kiyonori Hasegawa

A Twentieth-Century Master of Choreography Who Created the Dramatic Ballet

Photo:Hannes Kilia

In 1961, John Cranko, a young choreographer associated with Britain's Royal Ballet, was invited to assume the post of artistic director of the Stuttgart Ballet. In Britain, this spirited choreographer had won a following with his wonderfully witty and varied works, and he had enjoyed major successes with the musical revues he had put together. In his new environment, he conducted auditions, assembled a wide range of superb dancers, and then threw himself into creating new works for them. While Romeo and Juliet was a richly textured portrayal of young lovers, his Swan Lake interpreted a classic in new ways. After creating Onegin, based on Alexander Pushkin's masterpiece, he then applied his bold imagination and eloquent dance vocabulary to Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Cranko's productions, which vividly portrayed the personalities, psychological traits, and even the conversations of characters, aroused the audience's sympathies and emotions.

In 1969, the Stuttgart Ballet spent three weeks performing in New York, which was then regarded as the center of dance. The company's historic success on that tour gave it a new nickname, "The Miracle of Stuttgart."

With its free and exhilarating creative atmosphere, the Stuttgart Ballet also trained many of the next generation of young choreographers, including John Neumaier, Jiri Kylián, and William Forsythe. Having been trained by Cranko, they ended up generating new artistic currents in twentieth-century ballet.

Cranko died suddenly in 1973, at the age of 45, on his way back from the Stuttgart Ballet's second New York engagement. His premature passing sent shockwaves throughout the dance world. However, he left a firm foundation for the remaining group of artists, and they have carried on his tradition with a sense of conviction.