Friday, May 17, 2013

Guest Blogger: Jean-Christophe Maillot of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

”There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.”
  Vicki Baum

During National Dance Week (April 26 – May 5), we invited notable artistic directors, choreographers and experts for a special posting on Center Scene. Here, Choreographer-Director Jean-Christophe Maillot of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo reflects on the complex yet enjoyable nature of narrative dance forms. Segerstrom Center will present Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo dancing their production of LAC (Swan Lake) March 6 - 9, 2014 as part of our International Dance Series. 

LAC (Swan Lake) by Jean-Christophe Maillot Ballets © Laurent Philippe

By Jean-Christophe Maillot
Choreographer-Director, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

One could believe that the narrative ballet, in case it’s telling the story, would bring the audience from the point A to the point B, on contrary of so called abstract ballet that stays open to all the possible interpretations. It has been now 30 years that I experiment the narration in my pieces and finally things don’t seem so simple. For example I am not sure that all the people in the audience arrive to the same conclusion at the end of my performances. The point B is obviously not the same for everyone. So we could ask ourselves if the narration is a support for the comprehension or ... on contrary, as I think, a walking stick to venture off the beaten tracks. Inversely, the intrusions that I allow myself in the more abstract forms are not necessarily difficult to understand. 

Cendrillon by Jean-Christophe Maillot © Marie-Laure Briane
Certain movements talk by themselves, starting up simultaneous emotion in spectators. The reason for this is that we all have a body and in a certain way we are « already always » connected with what the dancer is doing on stage. If he jumps, if he curls up, or shakes, our body feels in its flesh what is happening and the sensations are more direct than through the story. 

It happens that Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo return today to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts to present LAC (Swan Lake). It is a narrative piece that confronts us with uneasy characters, filled with the contradictory desires that are conspiring against each other. The narration in this case complicates things but unveils more and lets everyone to the self-interrogation until the point they choose to reach. This is why I love narration. Because it cures us of the environment where the messages and codes are simplified to the extreme in order to satisfy populist stakes.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: