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A short Talk with Eno Peçi - Soloist Vienna State Ballet and Choreographer.

A short Talk with Eno Peçi - Soloist Vienna State Ballet and Choreographer.


A short Talk with Eno Peçi - soloist Vienna State Ballet & Choreographer


A short talk with Eno Peçi – Soloist Vienna State Opera – Sep. 18th, 2017


In anticipation I was very much looking forward to chatting with Mr. Peçi. I had the feeling that this talk would be very rewarding and would enrich me very much not only personally but also in my “feeling” for dance. I could not have been more right.

Mr. Peçi entered the room quietly as if not to cause any commotion. Such a discreet person… We greeted each other warmly, talked about my “method” of interviewing, his lovely family, summer in Albania and started quite authentically and enthusiastically to talk about dance…

On this day we decided not to focus on his career as a dancer – and he is a brilliant one – but on his choreographic work – Somehow you cannot separate one from the other: having watched  Mr. Peçi, I don’t know how many times, on stage, you cannot expect anything else but emotion, understanding, passion in his work as a choreographer. This combination of intelligence, sensibility and – yes – wit is something that is not so common anymore… it became a rarity on our days.

Since a long time I had a question in my mind about the difference about his creative processes in two different levels: in his own ballets and in the ballets that were sort of “commanded” by Opera Houses… we started to discuss his “own” work.

“Dear Eno”, I asked, “How do you start you creative process while “visioning” an own project?”

He smiled in a way that made me think that he was smiling to his inner spiritual self and said quite simply without pondering at all – yes, that was a simple answer for him: “I have ideas which I want to investigate, to bring to light… I need but quite an area of freedom so that the audiences can understand – and also – make its own interpretations. It is not necessary to tell “a story” – stories have boundaries, certain limitations… but the dance language in itself can tell so much. The bodies can express so many emotions without referring to “stories”, “textual statements” and I add to that that neither a “ballet” nor a “theatre” language are necessary for that… There are no boundaries for dance and this is why the magic of it comes into existence”.


I particularly had to smile and he asked “Why?” I had to tell him how much I agreed with him and how much I don’t like certain ballets like, for example, MacMillan’s “Mayerling” because of its 99% use of “theatre language” instead of “ballet language”. I always feel that I should read books of Austrian history to be fully aware of what is happening on stage. And that is no “dance language”! We both burst into laughter…

But that is the good thing about sitting together to discuss something that means so much to both parties. And this feeling of understanding each other’s words: indescribable.

Then the question about the pieces that were “commanded” by the Opera…

“Let’s talk about “Petroushka”, he said. “I got the name of the ballet and the music. But I wanted to do something else out of it. I knew the music would be interpreted like originally played but I saw possibilities on it of telling another “story”. I knew the score very well since I had danced it many times before… even so I used the original “division” (like the music and its tempi are divided between the characters) to highlight other characters – a family father and teacher and his “nemesis” – in this case the school director that does not stop the bullying (and even encourages it) that is being developed against him… “

I had to say “This was the only ballet ever that I have seen that is concerned with social problems – and as I wrote on my critic to your piece, I loved your use of a school and its students and teachers, from so many classes, religions, backgrounds as a “micro cosmos”, as a symbol of what is happening nowadays, especially in Europe. It was a very clever insight!”

Mr. Peçi uses his dance vocabulary very carefully. He is not one to put “everything he knows” into each piece of choreography. Much on the contrary. Each of his pieces has a “own language” of movements… I told him that and he looked at me nearly in amazement as if saying: “How could it be otherwise?”


“Do you think that you may change your choreographies when you work on them again after some years?” I asked.

“No” he said introspectively “Yes, little things… costumes, hairstyles… here and there little things – but the concept is kept. It stays. It was meant to be like that when I did it”

Eno is a very strong observer – of life, of emotions, of the human soul and social problems – and of course, of his dancers. He follows every movement of them on every day’s class (We talked much about Roman Lazik’s beautiful use of his arms) “You can see, nearly touch the essence, the substance of every single person in his dance, in his movements. When I observe dancers, when I know how they are then I can SEE them dancing. The ESSENCE of their beings always come out on stage”

Dear Eno, THANK YOU – in capital letters – for such a conversation. It was such a present for me to share for these hours not only your company but also your thoughts and principles about dance. Do you realize we have not talked for one single moment about technique? That was good this way. We talked about DANCE!

Ricardo Leitner


Special note: “YOU ARE A SUNFLOWER” That is for the children in Albania who affected by inborn blood diseases and need help! 1 t-shirt for 1 childs life! You can donate by buying a t-shirt online! Check out the web for more information and help:

Copyright: Ashley Taylor

Copyright: Ashley Taylor

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Manuel Legris will finish his period as the Director of the Vienna State Ballet in 2020

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