Étoiles: Léonore Baulac, Dorothée Gilbert, Myriam Ould-Braham, Germain Louvet
Premiers Danseurs: Marion Barbeau, Héloïse Bourdon, Sae-Eun Park, Audric Bezard, Paul Marque
Blake Works I by William Forsythe
Created in 2016, this work is said to be a moment as important as the premiere of Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1987. What Forsythe did then was radical: he moved ballet into new, utterly contemporary terrain. Almost 30 years later, he has taken a long and loving look at ballet’s past, and once again moved it into the future—some have called it Forsythe’s love letter to ballet.
Created for Paris Opera Ballet, Blake Works I is performed to seven songs by the English musician James Blake, who writes delicate ballads over electronic keyboard and syncopated percussion. The choice of music, with its allegiance to popular culture and its narrative implications, is poetic, joyous, hopeful—a celebration of the youth, talent and collective knowledge of a new generation of Paris Opera dancers.
William Forsythe is one of the most influential ballet choreographers and directors of the late 20th century. His choreographic style is both postmodern and deconstructivist. Believing that classical ballet is a language with rules to follow, his interest lies in bending and eventually breaking the rules. Using traditional positions, he develops them to the extreme where geometries of classical ballet are twisted, tilted or pulled out of line. His work is acknowledged for reorienting the practice of ballet from its identification with classical repertoire to a dynamic 21st century art form.
In the Night by Jerome Robbins
Premiered by the New York City Ballet in 1970 and included in Paris Opera Ballet’s repertory since 1989, this work presents three elegant duets, each choreographed to a different nocturne by Chopin, featuring vastly contrasting sets of lovers, from innocent to impetuous, who meet beneath a midnight sky.
The first couple take to the stage in violet costumes and perform a flowing duet of tender expressiveness. They are followed by a couple wearing gold and rust colours, who dance a pas de deux of restraint and elegance. The final duet provides a tumultuous counterpoint: the ballerina, dressed in a dark dress, swings between explosive anger and desperate entreaty, as she and her partner are caught in a pattern of dispute and reconciliation. The finale brings all six dancers to the stage, concluding this beautiful and complex portrait of love’s twists and turns.
Jerome Robbins (1918–98) was one of the greatest American-born choreographers of the 20th century and one of the most influential figures in Broadway. He played a crucial role in the development of both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. Robbins was a pioneer in creating ballets that were intended to reflect his own era. His works are marked by his unique comic gift, his intelligence and deep musical sensitivity.
The Seasons' Canon by Crystal Pite
Created in 2016 for Paris Opera Ballet, this is a spectacular large ensemble work featuring 54 dancers performing to the avant-garde update of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, recomposed by Max Richter, a score that the Canadian choreographer had long ago fallen in love with. Drawing inspiration from the meticulous observation of natural phenomena, Pite imagined a series of succeeding, interlinking tableaux with highly structured formations more intricate than the next as the men and women soar in unison in pulsing, breathing masses.
Crystal Pite is one of the most sought-after choreographers in dance today. She was a former dancer with the Frankfurt Ballet, and is currently an associate choreographer with Nederlands Dans Theater, which recently performed her work The Statement at Esplanade’s da:ns festival 2018.