Independent Project, Commission



Created by Alex Ketley

commissioned by 
Ballet Leipzig

Music and Media:
Tar@JMB & Bach


Ballet Leipzig

Premiered February 2014

Ballet Leipzig created the program INTERSHOP and wanted to get aesthetic perspectives from different parts of the world. Alex Ketley was commissioned to represent the United States. He and his assistant Aline Wachsmuth spent six weeks creating ARENA for the company, which has dancers who have classical and contemporary backgrounds. The Leipzig Opera House is one of the largest theaters in the world, and the audience and performances happened on the actual stage and in the round. Much of the construct of the work took this sense of audience vantage point into consideration. 

It was a process that Alex Ketley really appreciated, and was excited about the distance the dancers traveled in finding the emotional resonance of this piece,


Leipzig Zeitgeist
April 2011

“For his work Arena, the dancers are in the middle bathed in light….bare…unprotected…literally surrounded by the onlookers. It starts with a lone dancer and then explodes as the others enter the arena. Throughout (the work) we examine self and that self in relation to others, whether it be as part of a group or in our personal relationships. How much, if any, of our personal exploration do we need to give up in order to completely trust? The intensity of emotion and tenderness are what I came away with. These are things that can only be experienced with complete trust.”