Leipziger Ballett


The former first soloist and current head of visitor service Sibylle Naundorf talks about Mario Schröder.

von Nele Winter Monday 31.05.2021
Mario Schröder and Sibylle Naundorf © Ida Zenna

In our series #marioschroeder10 we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer at the Leipzig Ballet. This time the former first soloist Sibylle Naundorf remembers when she was on stage with Mario Schröder and reports on her present perspective on his work.

The connecting element

When I started dancing at the Leipzig Ballet, Mario was already there. Soon we started dancing together, among others in »Daphnis and Chloé«. Especially defining was the time with Uwe Scholz. Before Uwe undertook the leadership of the Leipzig Ballet, he already worked together with Christoph Böhm, Mario Schröder and me in a project for Switzerland. When he became the Artistic Direcot und Chief Choreographer, Mario and I danced Adam and Eve in his »Schöpfung«. I loved this piece and especially the pas de deux with Mario and there are special memories connected with it, because we danced it on the night before my wedding day. Laster we danced both in funny pieces like »Sommernachtsträumereien« and serious pieces like »Pax questuosa«, which was reperformed a short while ago. It is a beautiful and also connecting feeling to sort of pass the piece on to the next generation. The time when we were dancing together, is still the connecting element between Mario and me, although we still sometimes get to work together in our current workspaces.

Galvanizing Presence

When Mario and I rehearsed in the ballet hall, we were the same as on stage. It was very emotional and a lot of fun. He was a very active dancer. Even if we weren't dancing together, I liked watching him a lot. He was not a prince with long lines and beautiful feet, he simply had character. When he danced, he had a lot of body tension and was very agile, so you liked watching all of his movements. Uwe used that for several choreographies. Mario was able to fill the whole stage on his own and to galvanize the room. Not every dancer can do that. One of the first roles which I saw him dance, was Mercutio in »Romeo and Juliet«. I was fascinated by him bringing so much life to a character.

Memories of the time at the Leipzig Ballet © Andreas Birkigt
© Andreas Birkigt
© Andreas Birkigt
© Steffen Naundorf

New Ways

Mario had already been choreographing, before he did it professionally. In this time I danced in some of his first pieces and also in his final exam. I am very happy to see, what has become of him today all the more and that I had a small part in that progress. Back then I was already sure, that he would go this way and that I would choose another way. When Mario went away for some time and then returned to the Leipzig Ballet as Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer, I was really impressed by his works. Especially the pieces about personalities like »Chaplin« oder »Jim Morrison« fascinated me. It is astonishing how he manages to fill the stage with only a few dancers and to bring the room to life. He has found his own artistic way. Still I am glad, when one can recognize traces of his mentor Uwe Scholz here and there, but only in a very hidden way and never as if it was a copy. Other than »Chaplin« and »Jim Morrison« I enjoyed the show »Rachmaninow« where Mario's Rachmaninow piano concerto was combined with the one by Uwe Scholz. From his newer pieces I really liked »Magnificat«.

Mario has great ideas and beyond that great dancers who manage to realize these ideas.

Sibylle Naundorf

Change of perspective

In my current occupation I catch a lot of the audience's perspective. I am responsible for the front part of the opera house. Therefore I get to watch every piece. Furthermore I witness the reactions of the audience immediately. The age spectrum of the audience of Mario's pieces is very wide. But especially young people are often fascinated by Mario's style and by the company. The box office sales are running really well in this group of people. The young students often come sponaneously and are glad, when there are still tickets available. With a few exceptions the visitors are excited and leave the show impressed by the overall performance. Even if I have another job today, my love for dancing is still alive. I give dancing lessons avocationally.