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Double Bill of "Overture" and "Angels' Atlas" in Berlin

A night of celebration of generational talent comes very rarely, and the world premiere of "Overture" by Spanish choreographer Marcos Morau shown along with "Angels’ Atlas" by Crystal Pite has become one of such memorable occasions. 

"Overture" by Marcos Morau: A Luminary in Contemporary Dance 

Against the backdrop of Gustav Mahler's symphonic opus, the stage starts pulsating with life, echoing the cyclical nature of human civilization. This is Marcos Morau’s debut creation with the Staatsballett Berlin centered around the themes of renewal and metamorphosis.  

Through intricate choreography and impressive set design, Morau invites the audience to ponder the fragility of tradition and the inevitability of change. The breathtaking performance captures and relays the message to the audience: "Together we stand, divided we fall."

The performance begins in utter darkness, but as the lights come, the seemingly naked figures of bodies cling to a large granite Corinthian column lying on the ground. The first act of “Overture” ends with everyone pushing the pillar up collectively, giving the message to the audience that true progress can only be achieved when working together. 

A wonderful combination of light and darkness has elevated this choreography into being even more astounding. Marc Salicrú should be credited for the masterful lighting effects that have given the audience the perception of depth and immenseness despite the small stage.

In the second act, to everyone’s surprise, a black veil begins to lift. As this veil lifts, and the sole pillar stands there, civilisations start growing around it. Eventually, as civilization flourishes, more pillars appear from above. However, as civilisations flourish, there also comes division. It furthers branches into privilege, tribalism, and exclusivity. 

The differences between two groups of society have been distinguished by their costumes. Interestingly, there have been characters who wore a mixture of both groups and have been picked on by the people of both communities. 

The performance concludes with the inevitable return to conflict, as the pillars vanish, leaving only one to fall, symbolizing the transient nature of empires and civilizations.

"Angels’ Atlas" by Crystal Pite: Crafting Poetry in Motion

Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite is renowned for her boundary-pushing approach to dance. "Angels’ Atlas" has turned the stage into an expression of a kaleidoscope of emotions. Set against a background of shifting lightscapes, it seems to have drawn inspiration from cosmic and the ephemeral scenes. "Angels' Atlas" is dedicated to the exploration of human transience and resilience. 

Lighting and set design have played pivotal roles here, enhancing the dancers' expressions with dynamic reflections and changing stage sets. The white fire in the background symbolizes the angels’ struggle for elusive truths, aligning with Pite’s vision of the light as a "frontier, a portal, a portrait of the unknown."

The evening's success highlights the power of collaboration, supported by the Spanish and Canadian Embassies in Berlin. "Overture" and "Angels' Atlas" have brought together a constellation of talents, from choreographers and musicians to lighting designers and costume artists. Their combined creative energies have produced a symphony of expression, culminating in a standing ovation from the captivated audience.


Text: Oshin Ahlawat

Photo: Staatsballett Berlin, Serghei Gherciu


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