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Hamburg Ballet Is Fast, Impressive

July 15, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Hamburg Ballet opened its week at the Lincoln Center Festival 98 with two plotless pieces set to Mahler.

The company was led by American John Neumeier. It was the first time in 13 years, the Hamburg Ballet has danced his choreography here.

Two strong impressions were created Tuesday night at the New York State Theater. First, the company is full of strong dancers, who can move impressively fast and keep going. Second, conductor Klauspeter Seibel and the New York City Opera Orchestra gave a splendid performance playing Mahler. Seibel is music director of the Frankfurt Opera.

The overall title of the evening was ``All Our Yesterdays,″ which fits the mood of much Mahler music. Dance movement often depicted a painful, remembered sense of loss, of something or someone beautiful.

Newmeier’s style is rooted in classical ballet. Movements are often more abrupt than in classical ballet but they flow. To see a dancing ensemble speedily reform itself into another shape is a marvel.

Ten ``Soldier Songs,″ sung by mezzo-soprano Yvi Janicke and baritone Dietrich Henschel, and ``The Fifth Symphony″ provided the music.

A program note says Neumeier was influenced by the 50th anniversary of World War II. Neumeier choreographed the dances to be premiered on the same night. The more cheerful last three movements of ``The Fifth Symphony,″ program notes say, were inspired by the reunification of Germany.

The fourth movement, which was danced by Anna Polikarpova and Otto Bubenicek, was created for Natalia Makarova and Erik Bruhn. They danced it in New York in 1975. When the curtain falls on the fifth movement, the stage is full of dancers moving quickly around the stage as life goes on.

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