German ballet & film worlds connect in age of COVID

Dance · Film
Grand Pas de Deux from LE CORSAIRE: Iana Salenko, Daniil Simkin

As we have said umpteen times — to the point of “We get it!” — doing the arts on line is not our first choice. We love going out, we miss it so much. Everyone does. But, wow, some creative things have been pouring forth from the Zoom link.

Just yesterday, two of our European allies, France and Germany, announced that a roiling, infectious wave of Coronavirus has required further shutdowns. The German government announced that bars, restaurants and theaters will close for four weeks. Schools, an exception, will stay open. So you’d think German cultural exports would go pretty silent. Far from the case!

PAS DE QUATRE by Anton Dolin with Yolanda Correa, Evelina Godunova, Sarah Hees-Hochster and Aya Okumura

That’s why it was nearly bittersweet to start the day today with a live ballet offering from Staatsballett Berlin, streaming on Facebook, really my first up-close look at pure classicism in a very long time. The German dancers offered (to the world!) two nitty-gritty technical works, Sir Anton Dolin’s restaging of the historic “Pas de Quatre,” a tribute to 19th century ballet divas Lucile Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni. Next up were two contemporary beauties — Iana Salenko and Daniil Simkin — in the warhorse pas de deux from “Le Corsaire.”

Another way Los Angeles loves to connect with Germany is via film. So the just-announced GERMAN CURRENTS FILM FESTIVAL, now in its 14th annual showcase, does not surprise us by reinventing as a virtual film event. As ever, the Festival, a compendium of screenings, talk-events, and this year a drive-in movie option, is co-sponsored by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, the American Cinematheque, and the Friends of Goethe. This year’s films will spool virtually — the exception, of course, the drive-in. If you are ready to study the offerings, and jump through a few registration hoops, free passes are available. Otherwise access is granted by an inexpensive Festival pass. More on GERMAN CURRENTS to come soon.

Berlin Staatsopera live stream | on Facebook
German Currents Film Festival | Nov 9 – 15

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