had a profound impact on the recent development of the German Dance. Creative and controversial, she is rooted in the tradition of Mary Wigman, Dore Hoyer and Gret Palucca. Now she has seized new challenges directing opera and so she is inspiring performers with her innovative interpretations with her special feeling of scope and music. Born near Dresden she was trained to become a professional dancer at the Palucca School. Palucca herself – an engraving experience – was her teacher in Modern Dance. Her excellent founded “classical” education she was taught by Russian Nina Ulanova. The critic of Washington Post called her an "exceptional artist".
In 1970 she was committed to the Komische Oper Berlin dance theatre by Tom Schilling. Her engagement at the house of Walter Felsenstein and the working with him became a further important experience for her. In 1979 she became a soloist at Dresden State Opera (than Semperoper). Already during her study she started with choreography. Her first solo programmes “Gesichte” (Faces, 1985), “HerzSchlaege” (HeartBeats), “Fluchtlinien” (Lines of escape or Flightlines), and as well reconstructions of works of Mary Wigman like “Hexentanz” (“Witch Dance”) or Dore Hoyer's “Afectos humanos” made her internationally famous. Since the late 1970ies she toured whole the world.
Also as director of companies she became remarkable. At the Dresden State Theatre she founded her first own dance theatre in 1987. Then in 1992 she founded a new ensemble in Dessau. In 1996 she had been appointed as “Berufene Expertin” (reference expert) at the famous Dessau Bauhaus for two years. She created a lot of choreographies. Her first taking up the whole evening was “Othello and Desdemona” in 1988 at the Komische Oper Berlin with a libretto by herself and the music by Gerald Humel. In Vienna she choreographed Stockhausen's “Setzt die Segel zur Sonne” (out of “The Seven Days”) and in Leipzig she made a ballet “Medea Landschaften“ (Medea Landscapes) with the music by Sofia Gubaidulina. A reconstruction of Kandinsky’s “Der gelbe Klang” (The Yellow Sound), the Mahler “Song of Earth”, the Verdi-“Requiem” or Stravinsky’s “Le sacre du printemps” are some of the works she staged in Dessau Theatre.
She made engraving experiences assisting Ruth Berghaus, when Berghaus (rooting as well from Palucca) created the “Orpheus”-Ballet by Hans Werner Henze at the Vienna State Opera in 1986, and as well the following year, when she created with Peter Konwitschny the “Sieben Todsuenden” (The Seven Mortal Sins) by Kurt Weill in Dresden. At the Bauhaus Dessau she created several performances, so especially the “Ursonate” after the famous Dada sound poem by Kurt Schwitters or when she created with the stage designer, architect and author Hans Dieter Schaal “Stadtraeume - Einsamkeiten und Dinge” (Cityrooms - Loneliness & Things), a reflection about the living in the cities of today.
Together with Hans Dieter Schaal and with costume designer Marie-Luise Strandt she performed her first opera production: “Macbeth” by Giuseppe Verdi in Ulm (1998). Several important creations for the opera followed. For instance “Aida”, “La clemenzia di Tito”, “La voix humaine”, “Eugen Onegin”, “Les Contes d’Hoffmann”. Her most important success then has been the “Freischuetz” by Carl Maria von Weber. The critics set it on the same level as performances of Ruth Berghaus and Peter Konwitschny.
Especially new and unknown works appeal mostly to Arila Siegert. She creates her productions under the gesture of the music. Her intention is to connect deeply motion, music and scope. On that base she created at famous Schwetzingen theatre a “Dido/Electra” project of the preclassic “Mannheim School”. For the German EXPO 2000 in Hannover she put the chamber opera “The master and Margarita” (after a novel by Bulgakov) on stage whose composer Sergej Slonimski was prosecuted in Sovjet times.
In Bielefeld she realized the scenic first night of “L’armonia drammatica” by Vinko Globokar that was said unable to perform. In Chemnitz she created the late German first night of Gabriel Fauré’s “Pénéleope”. Or she experienced Kleist’s “Der zerbrochene Krug” as chamber opera by Fritz Geissler that became one of the most popular new operas in the 1970ies.
She was getting in touch also with the Operetta and musical. Lehár’s “Land des Laechelns” (Country of Smile) became a celebrated performance in Dresden. She climbed cult status with her heart touching performance of “Anatevka” in Eisenach, the young Grit Dora von Zeschau created the stage design. The “Zauberfloete” (Magic Flute) by Mozart she created even twice, one in Tartu (Estonia). "The Flying Dutchman" was her first Wagner-Opera.
Also as dancer she presents her again and again. For example in a performance entitled “Die menschliche Figur” (The Human Figure) and the painter Helge Leiberg painted it “over”. This performance was emphatically applauded by the critic of the most important German newspaper FAZ: With a performance like that, he wrote, Arila Siegert was shown as a “choreographer on the top”. Also in the production of Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice” with the conductor Wolfgang Hauschild she created a character for herself. With the “Bolero” by Ravel she performed a new Solo.
Arila Siegert has got a lot of distinctions and decorations. In 1989 she was honoured with the critic's price on dance. In 1993 she was awarded the Federal Service Cross. In 1997 she became elected member at Berlin “Akademie der Künste” (Academy of the Arts), in 2007 as well in Dresden. The archives of the Berlin academy keep her materials for students. Arila Siegert taught seminars and workshops. She is guiding young dancers and directors. Her present production one can find under events and actual.
Some of her newest projects were Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Rameau's spectacular Les Paladins, Handel's Alcina, Carlisle Floyd's The Passion of Jonathan Wade, Mozart's Don Giovanni, The Verdi la traviata, Monteverdi's l'incoronazione di Poppea. And she was working on a new opera in Wien by Lera Auerbach about death of Gogol, Frederick Delius' A Village Romeo and Juliet which got an enthusiastic review in The New York Times) and Barber of Seville by Rossini, which was nominated as production of the year 2012 in famous review Opernwelt.
Now Handels Agrippina and Tchaikovskys Onegin are on the way.
Ariela Siegert, stage director