After their Demonstrations in December, from the 13th to the 18th April the pupils of the Ballet School return to the stage at the Palais Garnier with their annual production, which this season brings together three great 20th century choreographers. Alongside Ivan Clustine’s Suite de Danses - a tribute to the French School, two ballets will be enriching the School’s repertoire: Un Ballo by Jiří Kylián, with its gracious and harmonious gestures, and John Neumeier’s Spring and Fall, a work tinged with folk idiom – all elegance and emotion. Elisabeth Platel, the school’s director, explains this choice of programme and comments on photographs taken in the rehearsal studios in Nanterre.
Suite de danses
I designed this programme around three master choreographers. Suite de danses is an extension of Michel Fokine’s Sylphides, the first ballet without a narrative. In echo to this choreographic modernity, I wanted to present two other ballets without narratives. This production celebrates the translation of musical emotion through movement.
I was also keen to juxtapose Jiří Kylián and John Neumeier, both of whom
trained with John Cranko at Stuttgart Ballet. This affiliation with the
Stuttgart school seemed to me to be essential. It’s also a sidelong reference
to Onegin, recently on the bill at
the Paris Opera Ballet.
Jiří Kylián has already offered the Ballet School his Suite Kylián, a series of three extracts from one work. I wanted to bring an entire ballet into the repertoire. Un Ballo is a rather emblematic work since it was created for the Nederlands Dans Theatre II: the NDT company that brings together young adolescents at a pivotal moment in their careers, not yet professionals but already very advanced. This is a ballet that one can pass on to five, six or seven couples, which gave me a certain amount of leeway when casting it.
It entirely captures the Kylián spirit: the hypersensitive quality of the almost ineffable relationship between man and woman. It is extremely interesting to pass on a ballet like this to young dancers. They don’t necessarily realise what they are doing but, in the end, their bodies inhabit that intention. It’s very subtle.Ravel’s score is marvellous, a beautiful listening experience. The demi-pointe work is interesting for the young girls. Similarly, the relationship between the partners, the diversity of the pas de deux, pirouettes and promenades with attitudes is part of their training. The pupils have been very motivated in the studio and particularly receptive. It’s not a recent ballet but its gestures speak to the dancers.
Spring and Fall
Your reading: Three Masters in the Ballet School Repertoire