Klavier Festival Ruhr
zur deutschen Version English language selected Petruschka
Dance workshops

Igor Stravinsky composed Petrushka for the Ballets russes, an ensemble of Russian dancers which, with its spectacular ballet productions during the early decades of the 20th century, caught the imagination of many audiences throughout Europe. With its rhythmic vitality and variety, this energetic music is an ideal basis for a dance project involving children and young people.

During September and October 2007 about 50 schoolchildren engaged intensively with Petrushka in a series of dance workshops led by the dance teacher and choreographer Mohan C. Thomas. The schools chosen - the Graf-Spee Primary School (Grundschule) in Essen, the Speldorf High School (Hauptschule) and the Willy-Brandt Comprehensive School (Gesamtschule) in Mülheim – reflect the conscious efforts of the project organisers to include a variety of school types in the project. While a number of the participants, aged between six and nineteen, had had some dancing experience, others had never danced before. In the workshops, which took place mainly in the Ringlokschuppen in Mülheim, the participants worked on a choreography of two central sections of Stravinsky’s work. The workshops aimed primarily to foster the body awareness and the agility of the participants, some of whom had restricted mobility. They also sought to strengthen the children’s power of concentration.

After a thrilling dress rehearsal, for the first time with live orchestra, the children performed on the 27th October 2007 in front of an enthusiastic audience of more than 1,500 people who filled the Jahrhunderthalle to capacity. The cooperation between the Bochumer Symphoniker and the dance participants in their performance during the Petrushka fair was a highlight for all the young dancers.

Pupils from the Ruhr area develop a choreography to Stravinsky’s Petrushka Mohan Thomas and the pupils at the dance workshops The choreography to Stravinsky’s music progresses