Over the past few weeks I have been busy touring with Bern Ballet around Switzerland as part of Steps Dance Festival.
From where I last left off in Zurich & Luzern, we’ve travelled to Biel, Chiasso, Bulle and St. Gallen.
The current production (Lions, Tigers & Women) features two creations, one from New York choreographer Andrea Miller, and the second from Bern Ballet director & choreographer Cathy Marston. You can see video interviews I filmed with them, including sneak shots of the work and background on the pieces by going to the ‘Video’s’ section of this website.
While we where in Biel I took the opportunity to explore the town a bit.
It seems pretty small, and is not to far from Bern, we can’t of been on the tour bus for more than 45 minutes. I hear there’s a rather nice old town there, but I’d heard about the lake so I went off to explore this with some one of the musicians who’s playing in the show and know’s the place.
Close by the lake there is a lovely little pub that brews it’s on stuff, all sort’s of flavours – Honey, Syrup, the usual black and white, and even cannabis flavour for those of the Amsterdamian persuasion. Seeing as I had already done class & was in the position of a cover, a back up dancer if you will in case someone get’s injured, I jumped at the opportunity to indulge a little bit.
The honey beer was exquisite. Very, very nice indeed. I’ve got hay-fever and they always say your supposed to have some of the local honey to help fight the pollen invasion that comes with Spring, so I was only doing what was medically in my best interests.
We had a walk around the small marina admiring the wonderful yachts moored up, retired couples tending to their pride and joy – polishing down the railings, hoisting the Swiss flag, don’t you love to see someone proud of their country?
The lake itself is yet another beautiful idyllic swiss lake surrounded by mountains, something you would expect to see in a postcard. But by no means the best of the bunch I’ve seen so far, it was nice for sure, but Walensee, Luzern and Zurich all outstrip it in terms of sheer beauty and dramatic/stunning scenery.
The performance went well and we were all treated to a nice meal in a lovely restaurant by the Theatre that was hosting us before heading back to Bern late at night.
Chiasso was the next destination for the company, it wasn’t until Bulle that I rejoined everyone as I wasn’t needed to cover in Chiasso.
Bulle is a very special place.
Situated in the French speaking ‘Gruyere’ region of Switzerland (where the famous & my most favourite cheese of the same name comes from), Bulle or La Tour de Call to give it it’s proper title, is really a sight for sore eyes. You are surrounded by snow covered Alps on all sides, green pastures stretching out in front of you as far as the eye can see, the cleanest air I ever did smell, and a lot of friendly locals who greet you as they walk by going about their daily business.
After class I took my book and headed off to explore the local village. Very small and quaint, a few hardware shops, cafe’s and an old antiques shop besides the two town churches.
I got in some good reading before the evening’s performance, a novel by American writer Joshua Ferris named ‘The Unnamed’, quite a difficult read, it’s not what I would describe as light reading. Nonetheless a good book and I finished it in time for the show starting. There was a good audience and it was nice getting insights from the audience members who talked to me at the interval on the pieces.
Not long after our performance in Bulle it was back on the tour bus and off to St. Gallen this time. We got stuck in traffic on the way there which added an hour to the already three hour journey but everyone was in good spirits chatting, listening to music and watching films.
I’ve already been to St. Gallen and if you’ve read this far chances are you’ve already read my post about my weekend in St. Gallen a few weeks so I won’t bore you with information you already have gained about the place.
We checked into our hotel, beautiful and spacious apartments situated right in the centre of the city, then headed off all together for dinner. That evening there was also a buskers festival, with street performers and musicians from all over the world – Israel, Ireland and what sounded like an Australian accent to me amongst others.
We found a band composed of Swedish, American and English musicians who where playing some great balkan and swing music. Nothing prepared me for the sight I was in for. Right in front of me an unassuming elderly looking man who lead his partner to some space and proceeded to give the most amazing dance spectacle I have ever seen outside of a theatre.
This man could move, and I really mean move! He had this crazy footwork going on, swinging and lifting his partner around with such grace and control and was just so into the music it was so touching to see & I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear watching him, i’m grinning now just thinking about it again.
The following day we had class on stage & I used the afternoon constructively holding meetings and getting paper work done for the next production, Made In Bern, for which I am co-ordinating this year. That show premieres on the 16th June.
The venue was incredible, a real contemporary piece of artwork it is a former train depot. There was a kind of grungy feeling in the theatre, there was what looked like a top notch restaurant catering to a booked out room, as well as the usual bar & patio areas one would expect in a big venue.
The performance went well & with a torrential downpour upon us after the show we legged it back onto the bus for the long trip back to Bern.
That night was the incredible full moon I’m sure most of you saw incredible pictures of earlier in the week from all over the world. The closest it’s been to earth in 60 years and appearing 14 times larger than usual, it was quite a sight to see glowing down on the castle’s, forests and villages we passed on the motorway.
We are now finished the touring part of the festival, there are a few more performances still ahead in Bern, the next one in a few hours, so plenty time to come and catch this show before it’s out.