Dance preview: Seven

This article is from 2015

Dance preview: Seven

Credit: Geit Weigelt

Ballett Am Rhein tells little stories, set to Mahler

Unless you’re watching a narrative ballet, with all its gestures and mimes, what you make of a dance work is usually up to you. But sometimes, in amongst the abstract movement, there are glimmers of a tale wanting to be told. Seven is one such ballet. A powerful work set to Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 and filled with ‘little stories’, as choreographer Martin Schläpfer calls them. Just don’t expect to be handed the narrative on a plate.

‘I don’t like to go to the theatre and know how one gets from A–Z,’ says Schläpfer. ‘I like mystery, I like secrets – I like that sometimes it doesn’t make sense.’

Schläpfer was heavily influenced by the Holocaust, and human struggle in general, when creating Seven. Switching between pointe shoes, heavy boots with overcoats, and bare feet, he sometimes lets the costumes do the talking.

‘It matters what you wear,’ says Schläpfer. ‘A change of shoe work is good, and then of course the coats and boots give it a slightly hard, almost backward, conservative manner – but that fits the Mahler, or my view of it anyway.’

Edinburgh Playhouse, 473 2000, 20–22 Aug, 8pm, £10–£32 (£5–£16).


  • 5 stars

Germany’s Ballett am Rhein joins the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Martin Schläpfer’s epic response to Mahler’s enigmatic 7th Symphony. In this full-length ballet, the anguish and poignant beauty of Mahler’s Symphony seem to be written into the bodies of the dancers. Music and movement merge into a whirlpool of…