The moon wears a white shirt

Volksoper Wien is offering a ballet triple bill this season that celebrates three unique contemporary choreographers whose featured works address different aspects of human connection. “The moon wears a white shirt”, a special selection of modern masterpieces by Martin Schläpfer, Karole Armitage and Paul Taylor, explores romantic relationships as well as everyday encounters, the reverence before nature and the losing of the self in the human whirlpool.

The evening begins with Swiss choreographer Martin Schläpfer and his Third Piano Concerto, a study of being in love and the perception of this elevated state. What does being in love do with us, and how do those around us perceive us during this unique experience? Through his delicate and emotionally charged choreography, based on the Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra by Alfred Schnittke, Schläpfer brings out the raw beauty and tingling excitement of those first romantic waves, both gentle and resolute at once.

One of modern ballet’s grandes dames, Karole Armitage looks back on a rich career full of stellar collaborations with ballet giants like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, George Balanchine and Merce Cunningham. From these interactions, she has crafted a style all her own that is highly poetic, strongly visual, and always daring and intense. Her series of three ballet scenes titled Ligeti Essays takes its cue from the tunes of Hungarian neoclassical composer György Ligeti and presents several titillating human encounters. The common thread is the deep philosophical exploration and the search for meaning, which colour all of Armitage’s notable works.

Dandelion Wine by Paul Taylor rounds off the evening and offers an unabashed celebration of springtime and the re-awakening of life and joy. The music is by the irrepressible violin virtuoso Pietro Locatelli, and the choreography more than matches his bow-flashing wizardry. As the dancers leap and tumble, seemingly not touching the ground, a sense of pure joy and playfulness is sure to overcome you. Thus ends “The moon wears a white shirt”, a modern ballet exploration of human connection, emotion, and enjoyment at Vienna’s Volksoper.

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