Edward Clug on Radio and Juliet by Philip Szporer

Excerpts from a discussion between Philip Szporer and Ballet Maribor Artistic Director and Choreographer Edward Clug on Radio and Juliet and the state of ballet in Slovenia.

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From July 1-5 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA, Ballet Maribor performed Radio and Juliet, an innovative ballet that combines the classic Shakespearean tale of star-crossed lovers with the music of Grammy-winning band Radiohead. The following are excerpts from a PillowTalk led by Pillow Scholar-in-Residence Philip Szporer and Ballet Maribor Artistic Director and Choreographer Edward Clug on Radio and Juliet and the state of ballet in Slovenia.

Philip Szporer In Central Europe, there are long traditions of contemporary and classical dance. Can you give a sense of the dynamism of the area and why so much work is coming from it?

Edward Clug I’ve lived in Slovenia since 1991, since its beginnings. I’ve contributed from the very beginning in a dance way. What we’ve started in Maribor is a different way of looking at dance and, more specifically, classical dance. Personally, as director of a national ballet in a country that’s so small, I’m really very connected with so-called really modern choreographers from the alternative and experimental scene, and I challenge them to come work with a national ballet company. And it turns out to be a great experience.

PS Can you describe how Radio and Juliet fits into the plans you have for your company?

EC When you hear the title, Radio and Juliet, it’s very intriguing, and hopefully when you see the performance that’s true as well. I know that this performance somehow puts us on the map both as a company and myself as a choreographer.

PS When you think about people who redefined how ballet is seen, is Radio and Juliet the kind of work where a new language is being created?

EC I was always fascinated by the human body. My intention is not to decompose or reconstruct or deconstruct or reinvent. Each choreographer aims for a certain style and you try to be different from the others, and I’m not particularly obsessed with that. I think the only answer to that is that I do what my body fits and the way my body and my brain understand the movement. I think the details make the difference, and I spend the most time on this. I really don’t spend too much time talking about it; I spend most of the time creating it.

PillowTalks are free scholar-led discussions with artists and dancers held at Jacob’s Pillow on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the Festival. Visit www.jacobspillow.org for more information and a schedule of upcoming talks and other free events

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