Do you feel more of a stage director or a choreographer for this production of Romeo and Juliet?
Has the hierarchical structure of a ballet corps like that of the Paris Opera been an obstacle to this organic approach?
true that hierarchies in general can be a problem. I always aim to eliminate
them so as to allow a community to emerge and make this collective body
possible. However, the Paris Opera, albeit an august institution, has the
extraordinary capacity to carry the artist along and allow her/him freedom of expression.
I have felt really good here and I’ve been able to work with some outstanding
professionals in all the domains which go together to make a production. By the
way, I also really admire the way in which the Opera Ballet has opened up to
As a contemporary artist, how do you feel about working with this operatic repertoire?
love this music. My first experience of opera choreography was Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2005. Baroque music
is intimately linked to dance, its forms are inspired by dance forms, which, by
the way, offers another kind of challenge to a choreographer. With Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, I found material of a
very different kind, yet charged with potential for dance. This is a work
unlike any other: neither an opera nor a ballet but a
“dramatic symphony” with a very abstract, refined narrative. In it, Berlioz
developed a way of thinking that was more suggestive than narratorial, an
approach that can simply be extended by dance. If only because of this
suggestive quality, the music is profoundly romantic.
Are you a “romantic”?
Nobody is ever one single thing, but rather a multitude of different facets! Each work, each project draws on a different facet. I am also a great realist! Whatever the case, Berlioz’s romanticism is a powerful, intoxicating current that is particularly conducive to that collective organism I was talking about. One is literally swept along. But from an emotional point of view, Romeo and Juliet is also harrowing; you have to go with the flow whilst being careful not to get carried away, which is dangerous. I haven’t, strictly speaking, fought against this vulnerability or repressed the emotion. Berlioz’s music really stimulates our emotional side, obliging us to open up, to welcome this emotional flood and find an appropriate corporeal language. But at the same time, I’ve had to maintain a certain distance, so as not to lose my hold over the artistic aspect.