Purity of movement, sophistication, musicality: those are the marching orders of Yorgos Loukos, director of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, in this line-up which draws a connection between Jiří Kylián and Emanuel Gat. And what will François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea make of all this, in their first creation for a ballet company? One thing’s for sure: everyone will be in pointe shoes, the men included, in this dance of extremes and extremities.
Questions to Yorgos Loukos, Director of the Opéra de Lyon.
What is your aim in showing Heart’s Labyrinth by Jiří Kylián, a piece from 1984?
When I was deciding on the programme, I immediately thought of this little-known piece, a very strange ballet that Kylián himself had removed from his repertoire for years because it was tied to a tragedy in his company, which I won’t go into here. For thirty years, I’ve been thinking that it was time to show this work again, with his consent. And, as always with Kylián, this dance is extraordinarily fluid, with simple yet sophisticated movements with a purity that we rarely see elsewhere.
Performing a Kylián piece makes real sense, especially these days when troupes are handed over to choreographers who use them to show their works but who have no knowledge of the rest of the repertoire. It’s strange to see that, in the theatre, directors stage Ibsen and Tchekhov, but in dance, repertoire is under-appreciated. I always wonder, what would become of the history of dance it weren’t for a company like the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon and a few others, though there are not many of us left.
Along with the Kylián piece, you’ve chosen a work by Emanuel Gat, with about 10 dancers and an orchestra.
What link do you see between these choreographic styles?
Putting Emanuel Gat on the programme was a way to emphasize the musicality, the sophistication and purity of the movements. What’s interesting with Gat is that he doesn’t fit into any clear category. We know postmodern dance and its descendants, those who claim the heritage of Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown or Lucinda Childs in their abstract choreographic work. Then there are the more literary French postmodernists: Boris Charmatz, Christian Rizzo… who feel compelled to cite Foucault or Derrida. Gat doesn’t think along those lines; he offers a simplicity of movement that is far more sophisticated than anything I’ve seen in new French contemporary dance.
Questions to François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea.
This is the first time you’re creating a ballet. Will the dancers wear pointe shoes?
Yes! Pointe shoes are part of classical ballet and they are indispensable for intensifying, exacerbating and transcending the fundamental parameters of dance: balance, gravity, form, speed, immobility... We will use pointe shoes, following on from work we did for our piece Dublove, not as a pastiche of classical dance but, rather, by embracing classical technique and considering the slippers from an entertaining angle, in a concrete way. In fact, it’s a tool for elevation that allows us to invent either a stiff, immobile body or a round and graphic one, so" and voluptuous, slow and heavy or fast and blunt... We will go further this time with the use of pointe shoes, for both the girls and the boys.
What is your relationship with ballet?
Cecilia Bengolea: I’ve always felt a great deal of emotion and admiration for choreographies by Balanchine, Kylián, Cunningham and Forsythe. I am moved by the mastery, the effort, both visible and hidden. François Chaignaud: I especially love abstract ballets, though the dream of weightlessness and immateriality of romantic ballet is still very powerful. I greatly admire Jiří Kylián: the clarity, the musicality and the humour of his pieces are true models for inventing combinations, rhythms and postures. He’s one of my favourite choreographers!
"Pointe shoes are part of classical ballet and they are indispensable for intensifying, exacerbating and transcending the fundamental parameters of dance: balance, gravity, form, speed, immobility..."
Musique : Schoenberg, Webern, Dvořák
Distribution en cours
François Chaignaud & Cecilia Bengolea
Musique : Toru Takemitsu
En coproduction avec l'Opéra de Lyon
Photo © DR - Portrait © Odile Bernard Schroeder