Seated, her head tilted back, her arms trembling, Yvette Chauviré relives La Mort du Cygne (The Dying Swan). Here she transmits to Dominique Khalfouni her knowledge and interpretation of one of the leading roles of romantic ballet.
Source : Patrick Bossatti
La mort du cygne
Created in Saint-Petersburg, by Michel Fokine, for the dancer Anna Pavlova, The death of the swan enters the legend in 1907. Written on a page drawn from the Carnival of the animals of Camille Saint-Saëns, this monologue where illustrated the most great artists, recalls with extreme poetry the last moments of a swan.
Source: Malandain Ballet Biarritz
Born in Paris on April 22nd 1917, Yvette Chauviré was admitted to the Paris Opera dance school at the age of ten. She took her first steps on the stage in 1929 in L’éventail de Jeanne. She joined the Opera corps de ballet in 1934 where she quickly worked her way to the top: from quadrille she directly became petit sujet without ever being Coryphée. She was named Étoile in December 1941 at the premiere of the ballet Istar choreographed for her by Serge Lifar.
In 1947, she enjoyed tremendous success with her interpretation of the role of the shadow in les Mirages by Serge Lifar. However, her career at the Opera was rife with disputes and she left the company a number of times, particularly in 1946 when she joined Serge Lifar as guest Étoile at the Ballet de Monte-Carlo. She had already performed with this company in 1945 and after. She returned to the Paris Opera from 1947 to 1949 and set off again on a world tour from 1949 to 1952 before returning to the parent company from 1953 to 1962. Alongside this, she continued to perform under contract in various companies world-wide, as well as creating choreographies including Rendez-vous sentimental.
In 1970, she performed in Brazil in Buenos Aires in the solo The Dying Swan. That same year, she opened a dance school in Paris. In 1972, she bade farewell to the stage alongside Cyril Atanassoff in the role of Giselle. From 1970 to 1977, she presided over the Académie Internationale de Danse, Paris, and passed down her talent to the Opera’s Étoiles. In 1976, Yvette Chauviré performed in the play Amphitryon by Jean Giraudoux. She was also honorary president of the Association Française des Maitres de Danse Classique (A.F.M.D.C.). In 1991, she accepted to return to the stage in Switzerland to create the role of Maude for the contemporary creation of the ballet Harold and Maude by the company Sinopia Ensemble de Danse, choreographed by Etienne Frey: a role that she interpreted in turn with Rosella Hightower, on an original score by Michaël Jarell especially composed for this ballet.
She was awarded the title of prima ballerina assoluta, a distinction that is very rare. Yvette Chauviré was made Commander of the Legion of Honour in 1988 and Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour in 2010.
Yvette Chauviré passed away on October 21st, 2016.
Source : Opéra National de Paris
After Beaux-Arts (Fine Art School) studies and musical classes (piano and classical singing), Dominique Delouche met Federico Fellini and became his assistant ("Nights of Cabiria"). In 1960, he directed his first film « Le Spectre de la Danse ». Until 1985, he produced and directed short films, like « Aurore » et « La dame de Monte Carlo ». In 1968, he staged Danielle Darieux in “Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman", a Stefan Sweig novel 's adaptation selected for the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, and the musical theatre “Divine” (1975). He filmed other features like « Une étoile pour l’exemple » (1988), « L’homme de désir » (1970). He produced and filmed the opera “La voix humaine” (The Human Voice) for French television (text by Cocteau and music by Poulenc; directed by Georges Prêtre), with the soprano Denise Duval. His last film is "Balanchine in Paris" (2011). He also directed, created decors and costumes for the Opéra de Paris and for the Festival of Aix en Provence: “Werther”, “Le Roi malgré lui” (The Reluctant King) (1978), “Didon et Énée” (Dido and Æneas) (1972).
Source: Dominique Delouche's website
Yvette Chauviré, Dominique Khalfouni
Production / Coproduction of the video work
Films du Prieuré, Cinémathèque française
Le Spectre de la danse
Le Spectre de la danse (The Spectre of dance) is the title of the film that Dominique Delouche produced on classical dance in 1961. For this director who strives to show the Etoiles in a new light without tarnishing their aura or their disembodied image, this film is a manifesto. The title was then used as the generic name for the series of seven short films produced between 1961 and 1986 :
Le spectre de la danse
Autour de la Sylphide
Leçon de ténèbres
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