Watching a ballet dancer does his magic up close is just that: magical! That's how we felt when Spectacle had the chance to be part of the #InspiredbyPorsche project with Porsche and Friedemann Vogel.
Friedemann Vogel, the principal dancer and Kammertänzer of Stuttgart Ballet, had the chance to take the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid for a spin through his hometown of Stuttgart. He also translated the movement of the car into dance. The result is a wonderful video where elegance and movement collide.
We have had the chance to watch Friedemann Vogel perform on stage before, but being up close and part of every step of the preparation was something special.
Last week we showed you the finished project, today we take you behind the scenes.
The day started early. Very early. Like 6 am early. Friedemann Vogel arrived shortly after us, got dressed and joined us on stage, where he started his warm up routine. That is mesmerizing to watch: how he stretches his limbs, moves every muscle and starts his concentration process. Knowing quite well this will be an intense day.
A performance on stage lasts for about two hours with intervals. But a video shoot means doing moves over and over again so it can be filmed from different angles.
While we know that ballet dancers are in excellent shape it is a different thing to see how a dancer controls his body and muscles. The simple move of raising his arms left us fascinated, prompting a team member to say: he can move muscles I don't think I own.
Friedemann took it upon himself to a create a choreography. For over four hours he pliéd, danced and performed pirouettes. Two cameras, a drone and two photographers swarmed around him, almost all the time to catch every movement of his.
The other part is Friedemann driving the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid through the city and the countryside.
But before we headed outside, Spectacle had the chance to sit down with Friedemann and ask him a few questions. Actually, that is not correct. We asked him many questions throughout the day. Some that matter, some were just small talk, not meant to be printed. But when you have the chance to hold a conversation with one of the most famous names in ballet, you jump at the chance to ask him everything you always wanted to know.
The first sentence, Friedemann says in the finished video #InspiredbyPorsche is:
“I don't even remember when I first started to dance ballet. It was always there”. No wonder it was, his older brother also danced ballet. Therefore, Friedemann grew up with an understanding that ballet for boys and men is not unusual. Now, he has been with Stuttgart Ballet for over 20 years with no end in sight. How do you keep a career going for such a long time, we wonder?
“You certainly need luck on your side. But discipline also plays a very big role. Each day you challenge yourself and push your own limits” he answered. “If you let things slide, your body becomes slow and is not as fit as it needs to be to avoid accidents”.
Not too long ago, there was a discussion whether the requirements for dancers have changed. “Yes, the requirements are changing” Friedemann admits. “One reason is, there are always new creative directors or choreographers that look for something extreme. There was a time for very classical ballet and then came the modern ballet. Today these two blend together and you have something new. The challenge is to train your body, so it can perform Swan Lake on one day for three hours and on the next you do something very modern and artistic, during which you spend a lot of time on your knees for example. Therefore, I need a full training session of 1 ½ hours each day to completely warm up my body”.
If you look Friedemann Vogel up online, you'll find a few interviews with him. But you'll also find that Friedemann likes to keep his life very private. He has no intention to change that, he says. A few years ago during a tour, a friend told him he really should set up an Instagram account. So he did. He posts the photos there himself (and he reads the comments, too!).
Friedemann's schedule is packed for the next years, hence there is not a lot of time for his private life. But what does a professional dancer like him enjoy doing in his down time?
First up, he doesn't necessarily think you need to separate down time and work. “If you love what you do, then you don't need time away from it”. But when he is away from the stage he enjoys interior design, architecture, art and music.
Music! Great cue. Next week, we'll bring you another post about #InspiredbyPorsche and also an exclusive Spotify list of Friedemann Vogel's favourite songs he likes to listen to in the car.
But first it is time to head out to film the second part of the video. Taking his seat behind the wheel, we drove up and down the Stuttgart countryside. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is such a sleek car, and since we filmed on a Sunday there were not that many cars on the roads. Meaning Friedemann could really test drive that car. Making a stop at the State Museum of Natural History and finishing his ride at his workplace: The gorgeous opera house in the city centre of Stuttgart.
The finished video is well worth your time and intertwines the movement of the car and Friedemann's movements so perfectly that we want you to see it again.
How badass is the move at 1:12?
Watch the video over at the Porsche Newsroom.
(This post is an exclusive cooperation with Porsche and Friedemann Vogel).
Car information: Fuel consumption combined 3.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 74 g/km; electricity consumption (combined) 16.0 kWh/100 km