George Balanchine, a fervent admirer of the female gender, pays tribute to them in Joyaux, a ballet inspired by the flamboyant window displays of the jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels on New York’s 5th Avenue. Émeraudes, Rubis and Diamants succeed each other in a skilfully orchestrated triptych, a celebration of the capital cities of the three great schools of dance: Paris, New York and Saint Petersburg. To complete this luminous picture and bring a festive air, the Paris Opera has called upon the designer Christian Lacroix. Who better to bring to life Balanchine’s dream through sets and costumes than this creator of beauty?
Source: Paris Opera
More information: operadeparis.fr/en
An American dancer and choreographer of Russian origin.
Born in Saint Petersburg, the son of a Georgian composer, Balanchine joined the Mariinski Dance School by chance and graduated in 1921. In 1924, whilst on a tour with the Soviet State Dancers in Germany, he left his country and joined Diaghilev's Russian Ballet troupe as a dancer. Promoted to ballet master in 1925, he asserted his vocation as a choreographer and began a close partnership with Igor Stravinsky. When Diaghilev died in 1929, he worked sporadically in London (for the music hall), Copenhagen and Paris. He collaborated with the Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo (1931-1932), then, after meeting Edward James, the Anglo-American millionaire and surrealist arts patron, he founded the Ballets in 1933, with whom he performed several times in Paris and London. He went on to accept a proposal from L. Kirstein, to create a classical school in the United States and established himself in New York in August 1933 and became an American citizen in 1939. After creating the School of American Ballet (1934), he became director of the American Ballet. He was invited to create works for the Original Russian Ballet (1941), the American Ballet Caravan (1941), the Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo and the Paris Opera. From 1935 to 1951, he also choreographed for Broadway stages (“On Your Toes” in 1936; “Babes in Arms” in 1937; “Cabin in the Sky” in 1940; “Where's Charley?” in 1948) and for several Hollywood films with V. Zorina. But it was in particular as the director of the Ballet Society of the NYCB, from 1948 onwards, that he enjoyed a fertile and prestigious career.
Balanchine prioritized the danced element. Very early on, he deliberately distanced himself from dramatic narration and, although he created a few theme-based ballets (“Apollon Musagète” in 1927; “The Prodigal Son” in 1929; “La Sonnambula” in 1946; “Orpheus” in 1948 and “Nutcracker” in 1954), he did so by eliminating all pantomime and sought to recount the story clearly and exclusively through the expression of dance. He also arranged “ambience ballets”, which were, as such, without intrigue, but maintained the situations and/or the characters that the partition suggested (“Cotillon” in 1932; “Serenade” in 1934; “la Valse” in 1951; “Liebeslieder Walzer” in 1960 and “Tzigane” in 1975).
The music and how it was interpreted were the cornerstones of his work. For him “ballet is first and foremost a matter of tempo and space: space delimited by the stage and by time initiated by the music”. His most specific productions were theme-free ballets whose construction and form emanated from the musical source. Without illustrating, he allows a partition, that has been composed or not for dance, to be visualized, by building on the rhythmic structure, the melody and the harmonic development of the work selected: “Watch the music, listen to the dance” he advised. Although he had a preference for classical works, he also used a more modern registry and occasionally a popular or jazz one. Notwithstanding, his favourite composers were Tchaikovsky and in particular Stravinsky, with whom he created over thirty ballets.
Privileging scenographic denudation so that the regard could focus on the choreography, he generally opted for a bare stage and costumes that emphasized silhouettes, regularly imposing simple tunics and leotards.
Esteeming Petipa as his spiritual father, he was in keeping with the classical tradition and referred to academic steps so that he could in fact go beyond them. He developed a style that was characterized by an external appearance that was carried to the extreme, dynamic, precise and vigorous movements, haunched positions, complex combinations of steps that could even veer to the acrobatic, swiftness in performing that was in accordance with the tempi of the musical works that inspired him. He advocated formal beauty that tended towards pureness, technical virtuosity transcended by the performers' mastery and he gave preeminence to the dancer. He worked with a myriad of “muses”, ballerinas with long, slender legs and discreet silhouettes, that he often led to make their debut at a very young age.
Acclaimed as one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, he contributed to the “Americanization” of ballet and played a key role in the development of musicals, where he introduced classical dance and, paradoxically, the principles of narrative ballet.
Source : Larousse Dance Dictionary online
More information : balanchine.com
Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
The Paris Opéra Ballet is the official ballet company of the Opéra national de Paris, otherwise known as the Palais Garnier, though known more popularly simply as the Paris Opéra. Its origins can be traced back to 1661 with the foundation of the Académie Royale de Danse and the Le Ballet de l'Opéra in 1713 by King Louis XIV of France.
The aim of the Académie Royale de Danse was to reestablish the perfection of dance. In the late seventeenth century, using 13 professional dancers to drive the academy, the Paris Opéra Ballet successfully transformed ballet from court entertainment to a professional performance art for the masses. It later gave birth to the Romantic Ballet, the classical form of ballet known throughout the world. The Paris Opéra Ballet dominated European ballet throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and remains a leading institution in the art of ballet today.
Source: New World Encyclopedia
Choreography : George Balanchine
Interpretation : Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris
Original music : Igor Stravinsky
Lights : Jennifer Tipton
Costumes : Christian Lacroix
Created in 1972 and run by Antoine Perset since 2004, Telmondis is one of France’s largest audiovisual producers of upscale live performances : opera, ballet, theatre and world-renowned circus performances, musical shows, classical and contemporary dancing, jazz, world music and documentaries.
More information: www.telmondis.com
[1930-1960]: Neoclassicism in Europe and the United States, entirely in tune with the times
The Ballets Russes paved the way for what would become known as: neo-classical. Back then, the term “modern ballet” was frequently used to define this renewal of aesthetics: a savvy blend of tradition and innovation, which each choreographer defined in their own way.
The committed artist
In all the arts and here especially in dance, the artist sometimes creates to defend a cause, to denounce a fact, to disturb, to shock. Here is a panorama of some "committed" choreographic creations.
CHRISTIAN & FRANÇOIS BEN AÏM – VITAL MOMENTUM
[1970-2018] Neoclassical developments: They spread worldwide, as well as having multiple repertoires and dialogues with contemporary dance.
In the 1970s, artists’ drive towards a new classic had been ongoing for more than a half century and several generations had already formed since the Russian Ballets. As the years went by, everyone defended or defends classical dance as innovative, unique, connected to the other arts and the preoccupations of its time.
Why do I dance ?
Female / male
A walk between different conceptions and receptions of genres in different styles and eras of dance.
The “Nouvelle Danse Française” of the 1980s
In France, at the beginning of the 1980s, a generation of young people took possession of the dancing body to sketch out their unique take on the world.
Body and conflicts
A look on the bonds which appear to emerge between the dancing body and the world considered as a living organism.
Modern Dance and Its American Roots [1900-1930] From Free Dance to Modern Dance
At the dawn of the 20th century, in a rapidly changing West, a new dance appeared: Modern Dance. In the United States as in Europe, modern trends emerge simultaneously and intertwine in thier development. Let's dive into the beginnings of American modern dance!
Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces
Charles Picq, dance director
A Rite of Passage
When reality breaks in
On 24th May 1959, Tatsumi Hijikata portrayed the character of the "Man" in the first presentation of a play called Kinjiki (Forbidden Colours).
The Ankoku Butoh was born,
States of the body
Explanation of the term « State of the body » when it’s about dance.
Ballet pushed to the edge
Ballet’s evolution from its romantic form until néo-classicism.
Dance in Quebec: Untamed Bodies
First part of the Parcours about dance in Quebec, these extracts present how bodies are being used in a very physical way.