Sasha Waltz & Guests marked another milestone with the world premiere of “Beethoven 7,” a two-part performance that premiered on March 11, 2023, at Radialsystem in Berlin. The performance featured costumes by Bernd Skodzig and Federico Polucci.
In June of 2021, choreographer Sasha Waltz created a dance piece set to two movements from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, filmed at the ancient temple in Delphi as part of the European broadcaster ARTE’s production “Through Europe with Beethoven.” The music has enraptured Waltz since that time, inspiring her to continue exploring its possibilities in her work.
With her ensemble of 13 dancers, she now devoted herself to a performance of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92” in its entirety. The piece, which was composed in 1812 when Beethoven was already losing his hearing, touches on themes that are still relevant today, including the failure of revolution, the tension between societal transformation and restoration, and the loss of freedom and future perspectives.
In the first part of the performance, Waltz and her dancers explore these themes through the use of electronic sounds composed by Diego Noguera, entitled “Freiheit/Extasis,” which were developed during the creation process. Through this contemporary lens, they examine the relationship between personal freedom and societal constraints.
The music was a perfect complement to Waltz’s choreography, providing a modern and dynamic sound that perfectly captured the mood of the performance. The dancers’ movements were again masterfully executed, creating an immersive experience that was both mesmerizing and thought-provoking.
The second part of the event was a choreography to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 7th symphony. The piece was a masterful interpretation of Beethoven’s music, blending classical and contemporary dance elements seamlessly. The dancers’ movements perfectly captured the emotional depth and complexity of the music, creating a powerful and engaging experience for the audience.
In his diary from 1812, Beethoven asked, “Are real, true people slaves to their environment or free?” He witnessed the political idea of freedom faltering between the French Revolution and the European Restoration, which left him deeply dismayed. Despite this, his work remains a powerful expression of artistic freedom and aesthetic ideals.
The show received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, with many praising the dancers’ technical skill and emotional performances. It was clear that Sasha Waltz & Guests had once again pushed the boundaries of contemporary dance, creating a performance that was both challenging and rewarding.