Saturday, June 13th 2015
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Jeunes chercheurs: Iris Julia Bührle

Jeunes chercheurs: Iris Julia Bührle
Iris Julia Bührle was born in Rome and studied History of Art, Comparative Literature and International Relations at the University of Stuttgart, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris (Maîtrise 2005), Sciences Po Paris (Master’s 2006) and University of Oxford (Master’s 2007). She has written two Master’s theses and numerous articles on ballet, including for programmes of the Munich Opera and the Paris Opera’s magazine En Scène (2015). In 2008, she assisted in organizing the Bavarian State Ballet’s festival week, Petipa symposium and John Cranko gala. Her other research interests include UNESCO, an organization she worked with for various projects on history and the arts. She has also contributed to a three-volume German edition of Marcel Proust’s letters for Suhrkamp in Berlin (publication due in 2015). In 2011, she authored a biography of the British dancer Robert Tewsley: Robert Tewsley: dancing beyond borders (bilingual English/ German, Würzburg: K&N). She recently published her Ph.D. thesis entitled Literature and Dance: the choreographic adaptation of works of literature in Germany and France from the 18th century to the present day (German, Würzburg: K&N, 2014).

PhD/Doctorat: Literature and Dance: the choreographic adaptation of works of literature in Germany and France from the 18th century to the present day.

Ph.D. (cotutelle Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3/ University of Stuttgart).

This thesis deals with the transposition of literature into dance, a subject which has received very little attention from researchers up to the present day. It focuses on texts that constitute a base for a ballet plot, which includes libretti as well as works of literature not written for that purpose. The comparison of the literary sources with the libretti and ballets they have inspired serves to explore how librettists and choreographers have adapted literature since the birth of ballet as an independent art form. The case studies reveal “choreographic” elements in several works of universal literature as well as different possibilities of “translating” literary texts into a wordless medium. Therefore, the dissertation contributes to current research on “intermediality”.

This study demonstrates that a new form of story ballet was created in the middle of the 20th century. It is characterized by the way in which it transposes the literary source and uses ballet’s means of expression. This genre is defined and described here for the first time. It is called “Literaturballett” (literature ballet) in reference to the term “Literaturoper” (literature opera). This new type of ballet continues and develops the 18th-century ballet reform around Jean-Georges Noverre which is discussed at the opening of this study. In the 20th century, dance finally became accepted as an expressive language, comparable for instance to singing in the opera. As a result, choreographers succeeded for the first time in representing complex literary plots in an uninterrupted flow of action exclusively through the means of choreography (supported by scenery, costumes, lighting and music).

Thesis viva held 04 April 2014 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Supervisors: Professor Jürgen Ritte (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)/ Professor Klaus H. Hilzinger (University of Stuttgart)
Examiners: Professor Georg Maag (University of Stuttgart), Professor Jürgen Ritte (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3), Professor Klaus H. Hilzinger (University of Stuttgart), Professor Bernard Banoun (Université Paris-Sorbonne Paris 4), Professor Georg Meyer (University of Music and Performing Arts, Stuttgart)
Grade: Très honorable avec les félicitations du jury à l’unanimité/ summa cum laude.


Literatur und Tanz: Die choreographische Adaptation literarischer Werke in Deutschland und Frankreich vom 18. Jahrhundert bis heute, 550 p., Würzburg: Koenigshausen & Neumann, October 2014.
Robert Tewsley: Dancing beyond borders/ Tanz über alle Grenzen, bilingual English-German, 128 p., with a postface by Horst Koegler (author of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet), Würzburg: Koenigshausen & Neumann, 2011.

Scholarly editions:
Translation and update of the annotations in volume two and three of Marcel Proust, Briefe (Letters), edited by Jürgen Ritte, Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2015, three volumes of about 500 pages each.

Articles (printed):
Forthcoming: “Suicides in Ballet”, in: European Drama and Performance Studies, ca. 5000 words, spring 2016.
“Aschenbachs Totentanz: Thomas Manns ‘Tod in Venedig’ als Ballett“, in: Düsseldorfer Beiträge zur Thomas Mann-Forschung, 6698 words, summer 2015.
“L’éveil d’une belle oubliée“ (on the ballet Paquita by Marius Petipa/ Pierre Lacotte), in: En Scène! Le magazine de l’Opéra National de Paris, May-July 2015, 36-37.
“L’éternelle jeunesse de Lise“ (on the ballet La Fille mal gardée by Frederick Ashton), in: En Scène! Le magazine de l’Opéra National de Paris, May-July 2015, 34-35.
“Of spines and men: a thorny redemption”, in: Maria Villalonga Cabeza de Vaca, Exhibition catalogue Hombres & cactus, Madrid: Districto Municipal de Arganzuela, February 2015, 28-34.
“John Neumeiers Sommernachtstraum – eine neue Dramaturgie für einen alten Ballettstoff“, in: programme of the ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream (John Neumeier), Munich: Bavarian State Ballet, 2013, 18-25.
“Different dreams, yet…“, in: UNESCO Courier, July-September 2011, 25-30.
“Geld ist der Motor aller Entscheidungen“, interview with Manuel Legris, in: Tanzjournal, no.4, 2009, 14-18.
“La France et l’UNESCO, 1945-1958“, in: Revue d’Histoire diplomatique, vol.122, no.2, July 2008, 117-134.
“Cranko bewahren: auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Schritt“, in: John Cranko: Der Choreograph und seine Arbeit in München, Munich: Bavarian State Ballet, 2008, 24-29.

Internet (selection):
Around 150 articles published since 2004 on the websites,,
Filmed interview with Alice Renavand (2014, French): link
Interview Mathieu Ganio (2012, F) : link
Interview Aurélie Dupont (2012, F): link opera-de-paris
Interview Patrice Bart (2009, German): link
Interview Robert Tewsley (2007, D): link

Reviews (in German):
La Fille mal gardée by Frederick Ashton at the Royal Ballet (2015): link
Giselle, La Scala Ballet (2015):
Nutcracker by Rudolf Nureyev, Paris Opera (2014): link generationenwechsel-an-der-pariser-oper
La Bayadère, Palais des Congrès Paris (2014): link
Onegin by John Cranko, Paris Opera (2014): link
Fall River Legend/ Mademoiselle Julie, Paris Opera (2014) : link
Gala in honour of Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, Palais des Congrès (2013): link
Sleeping Beauty by Rudolf Nureyev, Paris Opera (2013): link% 2580%259e ballett-der-ballette
American Ballet Theatre Fall Season, New York (2012,): link farbenprachtiger-indianersommer
New York City Ballet Fall Season, New York (2012): link
Ballets by Noverre at the Versailles Opera (2012): link
Martin Schläpfer in Paris, Théâtre de la Ville (2012): link
The little Mermaid by John Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet (2012) :
Manon by Kenneth MacMillan, Paris Opera (2012): link die-unvergleichliche-pariser-manon
Sylvie Guillem and Mats Ek in 6000 miles away, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysees (2012): link
Les enfants du paradis by Jose Martinez, Paris Opera (2011): link
Swan Lake, Mariinksy Ballet (2011): link
Flammes de Paris, Bolshoi Ballet (2011): link
Ballets Russes, Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (2011): link
Anna Karenina by Alexei Ratmansky with the Mariinsky Ballet (2011): link
Anna Karenina by Boris Eifman, Ballet Eifman (2010): link
Passion by Sasha Waltz, Théâtre des Champs Elysées (2010): link kein-ausweg-aus-der-unterwelt
Romeo and Juliet by Rudolf Nureyev at the Paris Opera (2011): link
Balanchine/ Brown/ Bausch at the Paris Opera (2010): link
The Little Humpbacked Horse by Alexei Ratmansky, Mariinsky Festival St Petersburg (2009): link
Mayerling by Kenneth MacMillan, Vienna State Opera (2008): link
Giselle, Rome Opera (2008): link
Genus by Wayne MacGregor at the Paris Opera (2007): link
Cyrano de Bergerac by David Bintley, Birmingham Royal Ballet (2007): link
Lady of the Camellias by John Neumeier, Paris Opera (2006): link
Sylvia by John Neumeier, Paris Opera (2005): link
Le Songe de Médée by Angelin Preljocaj, Paris Opera (2004): link

Sabine Chaouche

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