Leipziger Ballett


Roman Slomski is the First Balletmaster of the Leipzig Ballet. He has shared most of his working life with Mario Schröder.

von Anna Diepold Friday 23.04.2021

Roman Slomski has worked alongside Mario Schröder for many years. For our series #marioschroeder10 the First Ballet Master of the Leipzig Ballet shares details of his job and remembers the start of his collaboration with Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer Mario Schröder.

Being a ballet master

»The daily class of the company is also the start of my working day. I adapt the structure of class to the members of the ensemble: I integrate more jumping exercises or specific training for pointework for example, depending on who I’m working with on that day.

After class I attend the rehearsals of the day and in »normal« times I also prepare and monitor the shows in the evening.
At the moment we receive a lot of audition material via video. So, I use a lot of my breaks to go through all the sent in videos of candidates and choose the ones we want to see more of.

Mario and I are in close communication on every part of my job. We decide on casting choices together, work on organizational problems together and consult on the audition process.«

Roman Slomski during rehearsal. © Ida Zenna
Roman Slomski during rehearsal. © Ida Zenna

An influential coincidence

»I met Mario in Würzburg in 1999. The fact that we are now working together is the result of a coincidence. During that time, I was already thinking about retiring from dancing and was dancing as a soloist in Würzburg. We already knew that there would be a new director coming in the following season – this new director was Mario. He came to Würzburg to get to know the ensemble and my colleagues asked me if I could give class on that day which I did. Mario was watching and offered me a position as ballet master afterwards – even though we had just met. I don’t know if this was coincidence or fat but we have been working together for 22 years know. Würzburg was the first position for Mario as artistic director and also my first position as ballet master. We are, so to speak, the original duo and have gone together to Kiel and subsequently Leipzig after our time in Würzburg.«

Roman Slomski und Mario Schröder. © Ida Zenna
Roman Slomski und Mario Schröder. © Ida Zenna

A long time and growing trust

»The 22 years of me and Mario working together feels like a relationship. Mario is my work-life partner and like in any relationship there are ups and downs. During the years our collaboration has changed a lot and the trust in each other has been growing constantly. Especially when it comes to holding rehearsals. Mario is creating and leaves the process of clearing out the movements to me. This is a process of repeating a lot and focusing on synchronicity. I know what kind of nuances and movement qualities Mario is going for and know how to adapt this on the dancers without changing the choreography of course. But there are minimal changes that Mario trusts me with.
This trust also comes through when I go to other companies to teach Mario’s pieces. We start this process together and decide on the cast. We don’t always share the same opinions in this matter. Casting a ballet is not only a question of technique but also a question of personal preferences. But I try to hold back in those decisions. In the end of the day the pieces are Mario’s creations and if he prefers dancers to do certain roles I would not prevent this. When the casting is done I take the lead on teaching the ballet. I am still in contact with Mario and keep him updated on the progress but he trusts me with his ballets.«

Fond Memories

Memories of "Chaplin" by Mario Schröder. © Ida Zenna
Memories of "Chaplin" by Mario Schröder. © Ida Zenna

»›Chaplin‹ is very dear to me. We taught it to many ensembles all over the world and we started our time in Leipzig with this piece. ›Chaplin‹ still is so close to me, one could wake me up in the middle of the night and I would be able to teach it. Due to the pandemic we couldn’t realize the scheduled new performances of ›Chaplin‹. I was looking forward to doing the piece again and I hope that we are soon able to bring ›Chaplin‹ back to the stage.
But also, the pieces set to the music by Johann Sebastian Bach are very close to my heart because they are so interwoven with the city. I cherish this connection between the ballets and the city of Leipzig.«