38th Hamburg Ballet Days / 16. June 2012
Michael Court, winner of the European Fashion Awards FASH 2010 by the Stiftung der Deutschen Bekleidungsindustrie (German Fashion Industry Foundation – SDBI), designed the costumes for the premiere of “Renku” on the occasion of the opening of the 38th Hamburg Ballet Days. The Hamburg Ballet Days are considered one of the world’s five most important ballet festivals. The world premiere of the poem-turned-dance “Renku” is unusual not only in its form, but also due to the fact that it was not chief choreographer and general manager of the ballet John Neumeier who opened the Hamburg Ballet Days, but young and upcoming choreographers taking over the Great Stage of the Hamburg State Opera. Two members of his ensemble, Yuka Oishi (*1984 Osaka) and Orkan Dann (*1983 Celle), are responsible for the choreography. The task of designing the costumes was awarded to Michael Court. After Jil Sander (1984), Giorgio Armani (1998) and Albert Kriemler of Akris (2006 and 2008) he is only the fourth fashion designer to create costumes for the Hamburg Ballet. The performance is slated to become an established part of the repertoire.
Interaction of Ballet and Fashion
Renku is a form of Japanese poetry, created by two or more authors. The result is a comprehensive blend of dance, music, costume and stage design. Court’s elegant, flowing garments in white, black and red represent innocence, death and passion. “The garments shape the dancers and only their movement creates new shapes. One lives off the other and vice versa,” says Michael Court.
The audience at the premiere rewarded the courageous experiment with standing ovations and largely positive feedback. Critiques ranged from “a surprisingly mature accomplishment”,“impressive master work” to “exceeded all expectations”. The Hamburg Abendblatt wrote: “A large part of the success, however, was due to the efforts of fashion designer Michael Court with his solid-color creations in red, black and white.” And Irmela Kästner wrote in “Welt”: “Style- conscious, youthfully modern, and pleasantly endorsing the dance movements, one can truly speak of costume imagery in this production.” An accomplishment gaining even more significance considering that Michael Court designed the costumes parallel to his studies at the University of the Arts Bremen.
“We are proud that with the help of our European Fashion Award FASH, as well as our mentoring and contacts we can make a small contribution to assist exceptional talents like Michael Court to gain great opportunities. Michael Court is a perfect example for SDBI’s goal to endorse a new generation of fashion designers with an eye on the future,” comments Joachim Schirrmacher, Project Director and Advisory Board Chairman of the Stiftung der Deutschen Bekleidungsindustrie.
Michael Court, Yuka Oishi and Orkan Dann met in February 2010 in response to talks between SDBI and the Hamburg Ballet, when Court’s voluminous winning designs from 2010 were to be presented at a talk show by Radio Bremen. Among Court’s supporters is design doyen Peter Schmidt, who himself has created multiple stage and costume designs for the Hamburg Ballet. Following Dann’s suggestion, in 2010 Schmidt invited Court to design costumes for the performance of “Arkadien – Orte der Sehnsucht” at the renowned Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.
Ballet by Yuka Oishi and Orkan Dann
Music: Frank Schubert/Gustav Mahler, Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke
Choreography: Yuka Oishi and Orkan Dann
Stage Design: Yuka Oishi and Orkan Dann, in cooperation with Heinrich Tröger
Costume Design: Michael Court
Michael Court was born in 1985 in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. He danced in the ballet company of the Freiherr-vom-Stein High School in Leverkusen and performed a pas-de-deux part in the opera “Idomeneo” at the Cologne Opera. In 2007 Michael Court began his studies at the University of the Arts Bremen in the sector of Integrated Design with a focus on “People and Fashion”. In 2010 he won the first prize of the European Fashion Award – FASH by the Stiftung der Deutschen Bekleidungsindustrie (German Fashion Industry Foundation). The jury commented on his designs: “Michael Court wants to revive fashion without disguising – and let the wearer make part of the decision. The quality is exception in all areas – perception, concept, design, technique, illustration, and language. Michael Court was able to create something rarely seen these days: serious fashion that appears natural.” In 2010 he designed the costumes for the performance of »Arkadien – Orte der Sehnsucht« during the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Michael Court cooperated with dancer and choreographer Orkan Dann and designer Peter Schmidt on the project. Subsequently, he worked in the men’s fashion department at Vivienne Westwood Ltd. in London. Later, he contributed to a number of large projects at the University of the Arts Bremen, among them “L’Orfeo” by Monteverdi. In early 2012 he developed the multi-media fashion event “IN BETWEEN – Mode Medien Musik” in cooperation with a group of fellow students.