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© Wiener Staatsoper GmbH / Ashley Taylor
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© Andreas Jakwerth
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© Barbara Pálffy
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»Beacon of excellence«

»Beacon of excellence«

Award for the Vienna State Ballet by the international critics’ survey of the yearbook tanz 2022

The critics’ survey featured in New Spaces, New Bodies, the 2022 yearbook of tanz magazine, has come to the conclusion: The Vienna State Ballet was a beacon of excellence in the 2021/22 season and have been outstanding players alongside Gauthier Dance at Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Ballett Zürich and Nederlands Dans Theater.

Ballet director and chief choreographer Martin Schläpfer and the Vienna State Ballet are incredibly pleased about this commendatory recognition of their joint work over the past two years, which laudator Manuel Brug summarises in the internationally renowned magazine tanz:

»Martin Schläpfer met the challenge with extraordinary confidence and ease, especially since the last two seasons were at times heavily affected by Covid-19. While everywhere there is more of a standstill than a new beginning in the large, classically oriented companies. While creative talents who can choreograph for large ensembles seem to be increasingly rare, not to mention the interest in intelligent and contemporary story ballets ..., things were moving forward in Vienna. Already, the company has regained a distinctive profile, showcasing its vibrant soul.

There were big, interesting Schläpfer premieres like 4 after the eponymous Mahler symphony or, most recently, Haydn’s Seasons streamed live. In the productions, outstanding Viennese protagonists such as Davide Dato, the now quitting Roman Lazik and Rebecca Horner seem to mix harmoniously with Schläpfer muses brought along such as Marcos Menha and Hyo-Jung Kang. The repertoire was. Typical for Schläpfer, elegantly expanded with signature pieces by Balanchine, van Manen, Robbins, Ratmansky and others; the Volksoper also got high-quality ballet cakes. And even the New Year’s Concert received artistic attention from Schläpfer.

The director is present, but the whole repertoire is used; in the meantime also the somewhat worn-out classics. In the season just beginning, Schläpfer will add a new interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. And Andrey Kaydanovskiy, one of the most interesting choreographic rising stars, is getting a full evening production at the Volksoper. [...]

Given Schläpfer’s as-yet brief (and pandemic-stricken) tenure, Vienna State Ballet is sitting quite pretty.« Manuel Brug


The following nominations by Austrian and German dance journalists were addressed to the Vienna State Ballet and its director Martin Schläpfer in the categories »Company of the Year«, »Most Interesting Choreographer«, »Dancer of the Year« and »Online«:

Company of the Year

Helmut Ploebst, Vienna (Der Standard):

»The Vienna State Ballet under Martin Schläpfer convinces with technical excellence and the wonderful changeability of the company.«

Most Interesting Choreographer

Manuel Brug, Berlin (Die Welt):

»Martin Schläpfer, who remains true to himself both in Symphony No. 15 and in his full-length ballet The Seasons, but also grows and continues to find himself at the Wiener Staatsballett.«

Dancer of the Year

Andrea Amort, Vienna (freelance dance journalist for tanz, and others):

»Davide Dato among others as Albrecht – overall understanding of content and form, Marcos Menha, the Schläpfer dancer, subtle.«

Bettina Trouwborst, Krefeld (freelance dance journalist):

»Hyo-Jung Kang in The Seasons by Martin Schläpfer and Other Dances by Jerome Robbins: grace and brilliance.

Marcos Menha in Schläpfer‘s The Seasons: supple elegance.«


Vesna Mlakar, Munich (Abendzeitung):

»Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons in Martin Schläpfer’s musically enchanting and choreographically so kaleidoscopically bouncing realisation for the Vienna State Ballet.«

Sylvia Staude, Frankfurt (Frankfurter Rundschau):

»Vienna State Ballet with a carefully as well as originally filmed evening with Balanchine, Robbins and Childs.«

PATHBREAKING - 10 dancers with the best prospects

A special award goes to the dancer Victor Cagnin, who trained at the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy and is a member of the corps ballet of the Vienna State Ballet as of September 2021: his interpretation of the role of Tadzio in the production of Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice at the Volksoper Wien was so convincing that the yearbook 2022 of tanz magazine chose him as one of the »10 dancers with the best prospects« – »the start of a career as a tall danseur noble« (Andrea Amort).