Béjart Ballet Lausanne

L’Oiseau de feu – Syncope – Offrande to Stravinsky – Le Sacre du printemps – Light – Boléro For the 25 yars of the BBL by Maurice Béjart, five sensational ballets and two Italian premières

Teatro Regio, from 30th November to 14th December 2012

Fifteen days, thirteen plays, six choreographies for two programs, the first three national premières and five ‘must be seen’ masterpieces by the star-choreographer Maurice Béjart.

The Béjart Ballet Lausanne is celebrating its twenty-five years from 1987 to 2012 with a world tour. Such celebration will touch the stages of the Teatro Regio from 30th November to 14th December. It is not only a celebration of a quarter of a century but also of «continuous operation and transformation in which choreographers and dancers have never ceased to surprise in a moving and touching way the audiences all over the world» (Jean-Pierre Pastori, President of the BBL Foundation).

But Lausanne is just the last step of a long and exciting history of art of Maurice Béjart; born in Marseille in 1927 and died in 2007. To start with there is post-war Paris, where he studied and absorbed the best of what was made available to him, a Paris of the great choreographer Djagilev, where one could learn from the best teachers at the best theatres in the French capital. Then, there was Brussels, the Belgian capital, where Béjart led his Ballet du XXème Siècle, whose debut alone was enough to achieve global fame, with an astonishing triumph, his Sacre du printemps (1959). And then finally Lausanne which was a kind of continuation of his Belgian ballet company and also where the BBL Company was created. Nowadays, the BBL is directed by its own heir Gil Roman, former dancer for the BBL, deputy director since 1993 and finally appointed by Béjart's in 2007 as his successor.

Béjart, Turin, Teatro Regio, is the story of a special bond that has lasted for more than fifty years. Turin is the place where this great choreographer directed, in 1998, the festival Torino Danza, and it was also here where he presented his most beautiful creations: the unforgettable Boléro with Jorge Donn, his favourite dancer and love, as well as Le Presbytère/Ballet for Life, a hymn to the talents torn away a bit too early from life, such as: Mozart, Freddy Mercury, Jorge Donn, to name but a few. 

From 30th November to 5th December, the first program will present: L'Oiseau de feu, Syncope, Offrande to Stravinsky and Le Sacre du printemps.

In the Oiseau de feu (premiered in 1970), the orchestral suite by Igor Stravinsky in 1919, Béjart nourished, fed and revolutionized this classical piece of 1900 «finding the two contrasts which were the basis of this creation: Stravinsky, a Russian musician and Stravinsky a revolutionary musician. Dance is always, therefore the abstract expression of these two elements present in music, a deep feeling of Russia and a break with musical tradition that results in unusual rhythmic violence and provokes the creation of impetuous vortices» (Maurice Béjart). The Firebird, the flaming rising Phoenix, is just like the Poet/Revolutionary and ideas that never die.

Syncope (2010) is choreographed by Gil Roman with music by Citypercussion that arrives in Turin for its Italian première. The choreographer explains what happens when syncope takes place, there is loss of consciousness, loss of inhalation, loss of invention: «music is a backbeat, we speak of syncopated music. In medicine it is a cardiac arrest or the slowdown of heartbeats. Those 5 to 10 seconds of unconsciousness, during which our brain can imagine anything, invent everything, review everything. Memory or imagination? Memory or Creation?».

Offrande to Stravinsky (2012) is a charming little tribute to Stravinsky choreographed by Maurice Béjart and will be in Turin for its première. This tribute is the fusion of two fragments from two different choreographies: the first one - performed by Gil Roman – representing the voice of Stravinsky during an orchestra rehearsal (taken from the ballet Igor et nous in 2007) and the second is a ‘pas de deux’ with music of the third movement of the Concerto for violin and Orchestra in D major by Stravinsky.

Le Sacre du printemps (1959) is a milestone in the history of dance: the scandalous Paris première in 1913, the shocking Nijinsky with his "ugly" choreography, the screams of the audience loud enough to overpower the music of Stravinsky ... Maurice Béjart approached this with great courage, and his version full of new meanings, physicality and sensuality became a universally recognized success. With Béjart the sacrifice of the ‘Chosen’ according to the pagan ritual after the long winter, disappears. Then Spring becomes a celebration of birth, a huge primitive force that has lain dormant for a long time «under the cloak of winter which suddenly breaks and embraces the world in all its forms, with the plants, animals and humans. Human love, in its physical appearance, symbolizes the act by which God creates the cosmos, and the joy it brings. [...] Let this ballet be bare of all picturesque artifice, let it be the hymn to the union between man and woman at its deepest level, between heaven and earth, the dance of life and death, let it be as eternal as spring!» (M. B.).

From 7th to 14th December the Béjart Ballet Lausanne presents Light, to be premiered in Italy, and Boléro.

Maurice Béjart created Light (1981) with music by Antonio Vivaldi, The Residents and Tuxedomoon. It is a ballet about light itself: in the scenes, in the dance, in life. Its starting point is the music of Vivaldi and the boundless love of Béjart to Venice (city where the choreographer filmed Je suis né à Venise, a film tribute to his fetish dancer Jorge Donn) and then again another city on water: San Francisco and its musical scene a sort of experimentation of the 1970s represented by The Residents and Tuxedomoon, one of the most original experiences of new wave. Béjart imagined a bridge between the two cities, like the one of Rialto and a rainbow; two cities plunged into the water, but boys and girls emerge from the water dancing on a lit platform. Therefore, birth, life, characters, places and dimensions all blend in as if in one single dream.

In Boléro everything seems to have already been said, in different ways, such as the way Ravel composed it in 1928: the new composition was commissioned by Ida Rubinstein (a famous Russian dancer and actress) who was the first dancer at the Paris Opéra and then was presented with the choreography by Bronislava Nižinskaja. The Boléro of Béjart, had its debut in 1961 in Brussels. Boléro is a play in which all the big names wanted to interpret it resulting in a total of 27 male and 11 female performers since its creation. Names such as: Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Luciana Savignano and Sylvie Guillem; stars who had made it famous by enriching it with their own personal touch. «In a choreographic work, the dancer is much more important than the choreography itself. It is the body of the dancer to be the real author of the opera. I have often said that choreography is like love, they are both made with two persons» (Maurice Béjart, La Stampa, 1985). Boléro achieved its highest reputation with the interpretation of Jorge Donn, unforgettable in the final scene of the film Les Uns et les Autres by Claude Lelouch in 1981. In Béjart’s version, what is essential emerges with violence, there is no room for picturesque gimmicks, there is only the melody, an obsessed crescendo, «a tune that wraps tirelessly round itself, increasing in volume and intensity, devouring the space of sound and then, eventually swallowing the melody» (M. B.). The choreographer assigns the central role, the Melody, either to a male or a female interpreter, while the Rhythm is played by a group of dancers. Perhaps what is worth adding is the emotion one can feel even by simply watching it on youtube; the emotions that arise can be translated in every language in the world. It shows a great deal of excitement for life, as something unique, exciting, moving, thrilling... a spectacle that must be seen. In the evening performance of 11th December, we will see an exceptional protagonist for Boléro: Aurélie Dupont, étoile at the Ballet de l'Opéra in Paris and host étoile of the BBL.

The symphonic music of these two shows will be performed live by the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio conducted by Nicolas Brochot.

The performances of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne will be presented to the public by Elisa Guzzo Vaccarino at the Incontro con il Balletto which will be held at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 28th November at 17:30.

Teatro Regio Box Office - Piazza Castello 215 e-mail: biglietteria@teatroregio.torino.it. For more information call: +39 011.8815.557 or go to www.teatroregio.torino.it.

Turin 9th November 2012