Bertaud, Bruno Bouché, Simon Valastro and Nicolas Paul, all dancers with the
Paris Opera, offer us their creations for the company’s dancers on the stage of
the Palais Garnier. An opportunity to examine the choreographer’s profession
and, more importantly, to reveal to the public four personalities, four of
today’s dancers and four choreographers of tomorrow.
How did this project – the creation of a work on several pieces of sacred music by Josquin des Prés – come into being?
project was born out of research in several areas: research on the historic
periods of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance which have fascinated me for a
long time, and also on the theme of the Flood and its representations in those
periods, which struck me as being surprisingly modern by their simplicity and
starkness. Alongside that, Jean-Christophe and I developed work on the body and
water using video.
Does the title directly evoke the episode of the Flood in Genesis?
description of the water which, during the flood, reaches “seven and a half
metres above the mountains”. The modernisation of this passage from the Bible
amused me (translations tend to refer to cubits which was the basic unit of
measurement) and on a more serious note raises the issue of the modernisation
What references do you make in your choreography to medieval iconography?
notation of movement one finds hand positions directly inspired by pictorial
representations from the Middle Ages which accord a crucial importance to this
part of the body. A certain treatment of colour also seemed to me to be very
specific to this period, as is the question of perspective.
How is the video footage you created with Jean-Christophe Guerri articulated around the dancers on stage?
is treated as a series of tableaux and forms a direct contrast with what is
happening on stage. Whilst the choreography, characterised by its profusion, is
very dense and rapid, the video offers a succession of fixed images, rather
slow with imperceptible movements. Through this contrast, I’m hoping that the
two art forms will create a dialogue.
Does video provide a bridge between this period of history and today?
The image of a drowned corpse immediately evokes recent events and a series of geopolitical situations. It is absolutely necessary to be aware of this mirror effect. However, I was seeking to evoke an intimate perception of the flood which might be psychological or social, not necessarily political.
You joined the Paris Opera School of Dance in 1989 and the Corps de Ballet in 1996. What does it mean to you to take part in the House’s official season?
this production exemplifies the diversity that an institution like the Paris
Opera Ballet is capable of generating, - the different personalities that have
developed and flourished with its support. On a more personal level, I have
another three years with the company before I retire. This piece, therefore, is
probably that last that I shall create for the Company before I end my career
as a dancer.
Your reading: A dialogue between the arts