Behind the Scenes of ’The Little Mermaid’
Director: Thomas Grimm
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 30 min.
16:9 shot in 1080i HD | stereo
© 2011, a BFMI production in co-production with NDR / arte, WNET.ORG + THIRTEEN and NHK
The Little Mer­maid was ori­gin­ally cre­ated in 2005 for the Roy­al Dan­ish Bal­let: a homage to Hans Chris­ti­an An­der­sen to cel­eb­rate the writer's bi­cen­ten­ary, which was premiered on April 15 for the open­ing of the new Op­era House of Copen­ha­gen. In May 2011 The Little Mer­maid was brought to stage again by the San Fran­cisco Bal­let, one of the world’s most highly ac­claimed bal­let com­pan­ies at the San Fran­cisco War Me­mori­al Op­era House. Based on Hans Chris­ti­an An­der­son’s fairy tale, John Neumei­er has cre­ated a mod­ern but time­less in­ter­pret­a­tion of The Little Mer­maid – a dra­mat­ic tale set in two con­trast­ing worlds: The un­der­wa­ter life of the ocean creatures and the flam­boy­ant life­style of hu­mans.

Hans Chris­ti­an An­der­son took the in­spir­a­tion for the story of The Little Mer­maid from his real life. It is a story of sac­ri­fice and un­re­quited love. In fact, The Little Mer­maid was writ­ten shortly after the mar­riage of one of An­der­son’s love in­terests.
John Neumei­er in­cluded An­der­son as a char­ac­ter: the poet as the al­ter-ego of Hans Chris­ti­an An­der­son who is an ob­serv­er, dir­ect­or of the piece and takes part, who like the little mer­maid is in love with the prince. The poet ima­gines and dir­ects the ac­tions.

John Neumei­er de­scribes the cre­at­ive pro­cess, how to find a move­ment vocab­u­lary to ex­press a life un­der the sea in dance steps and talks about his mo­tiv­a­tions. Neumei­er not only cho­reo­graphed the bal­let but also de­signed the cos­tumes, the stage set and the light­ing. His most in­tim­ate part­ner is the mu­sic and es­sen­tial for his in­spir­a­tion. He de­cided to com­mis­sion Lera Auerbach to write the mu­sic. It is the second col­lab­or­a­tion of Neumei­er and Auerbach, who is fast be­com­ing one of the world's most fre­quently per­formed liv­ing com­posers.
The prin­ciple dan­cers talk about their roles and ex­plain the story line. Lloyd Rig­gins (The Poet) ex­plores his char­ac­ter be­ing both the cre­at­or and the sub­ject of the story. Dav­it Kara­petyan re­veals his ap­proach to the role of the Sea Witch. Tiit He­li­mets and Sara van Pat­ten talk about their worldly por­tray­al of the Prince and the Prin­cess. And Yuan Yuan Tan (The Little Mer­maid) dances with her heart and makes it ma­gic.