Friedemann Vogel: Always moving forward
We have talked with Friedemann Vogel, the principal dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, who has astonished and inspired a lot of people around the world for more than twenty years. Friedemann's schedule is extremely busy but he found time to tell us a little about his creative path.
This year is symbolic for you, you have been on the jury of Prix de Lausanne, 25 years after your win…
What can you advise for young dancers who are in the beginning of their ballet path?
Be open, be curious, be observant, and above all, work hard. Only when you are fully prepared through training and rehearsing, can you let go and really take off on stage.
You have said that your brother Roland inspired you to start dancing and connect your life with ballet. Have you ever danced together?
When I joined Stuttgart Ballet after graduating at Princess Grace Academie Monte Carlo my brother was a principal dancer with Stuttgart Ballet, maybe the most memorable performance for me was dancing Lenski alongside Roland as Onegin…I remember my mother crying after the performance as Onegin shoots Lenski in their duell.
Do you have favorite roles, maybe some of them are closer or more opposite to your personality?
There are quite a few: Rudolf in Mayerling, because it was such a demanding and thus fulfilling character to embody, Onegin, because that was always a dream to dance in Stuttgart, and of course Boléro, though it’s not a role as such, but each performance is unique and always a wild ride.
A little about Mayerling as an example: it's a very demanding ballet from both technical and artistic point of view. You seem not as emotional kind of person as your character… or am I wrong?
I definitely haven’t lived the tortured life of poor Rudolf, thank god! In fact, we have hardly anything in common. This is the most fulfilling aspect in my profession to portray so many different roles and to live their stories on stage.
Do you have dream roles?
A challenging role in a full-length narrative ballet created for me.
What interesting things should we wait for the upcoming season in Stuttgart and your personal schedule?
In Stuttgart, there is also John Cranko’s masterpiece “Onegin”, and a “Nutcracker” creation by Edward Clug, which I am really looking forward to.
Let’s continue with the recent shows. Few years ago the audience had a chance to enjoy Nuit Blanche by Sebastien Bertaud performed by you and Eleonora Abbagnato. This month you’ve been performing in Serata Preljocaj, Nuit Romaine with Eleonora, a collaboration with Dior again... Tell us a little about it.
It’s a joy to dance with Eleonora – there is a lot of trust between us, and we always have so much fun! I think our friendship comes through in our performance.
In terms of the collaboration with Dior, it’s been brilliant to work with Maria Grazia again. She has a real interest in and respect for dance, and the costumes for “Nuit Romaine” are truly works of art and very poetic. Dance has such a strong influence and inspiration on fashion in general. It’s a bonus if we can bring a new audience to encounter dance through a Maison like Dior, which has had such a long and strong history with our art form.
Angelin Preljocaj is one of the greatest choreographers of nowadays, is it your first time working with his piece? What are your impressions?
Indeed, this is my first time working with Angelin. Well, the second time, if you consider how the stage production of “Nuit Romaine” is really quite a different work compared to the film we shot at the stunning Palazzo Farnese, which was very site-specific. It’s always interesting for me to work with a choreographer for the first time, to learn their movement vocabulary and discover a new way of communicating. It’s almost like acquiring a new language. With Angelin, it’s the same. It has been wonderful working with him, and to be involved in the process of creating a film, then a work for the stage.
I’d like to ask about art, you’re fully in it: ballet, literature, fashion, amazing palaces and pieces of art… what styles and periods are your favorite?
There is so much that I like… it’s too much to go into… But what I can say is, nature is a big source of inspiration.
Do you have any favorite films or drama theatre performances?
I love Pedro Almodóvar’s films; I am fascinated by his distinctive aesthetics and his rich, profound cinematic universe.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
Always moving forward :)
Interview: Julia Sumzina
Photos: © Noémi Ottilia Szabo for Dior, Valentin Hennequin for Dior