Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Duck

Malandain Ballet Biarritz, Noé, Theatre Chaillot, Paris

Recommended Posts

The company is in the middle of a two-week run of Thierry Malandain’s new work Noé at the Theatre Chaillot in Paris, set to Rossini’s Messa di Gloria. I saw Tuesday’s performance. While the piece is inspired by the story of the deluge - complete with Noé, his wife, their three children, a raven and a dove, a float or ship in the midst of rising and falling water, plus Adam and Eve and their three children – the message that I’ve taken away is timeless and universal.

The floor, a bench that spans across the width of the stage and pearl curtains on all three sides of the stage are in turquoise, illustrating the omnipresence of the water. The curtains will rise and fall along with the coming and going of the deluge. Dancers in muted tones of blue, brown, green and burgundy sit on the bench or dance in varying combinations.

Three male dancers rise to interact and fight, leaving one person dead on the floor. As a result, the deluge is approaching. Movements ensue that depict the rolling waves (dancers sit on the bench and stand up and sit down in the form of a wave, …), the daily grind and the desolation of those affected by the deluge (robbing along while sitting or lying on the floor, shuffling forward in circular movements with a hunched back and clenched fists, moving sideways along the bench, individuals trying to break out from the group and joining in again in as there is no way out in the midst of the floods, …).

Lots of movements in canon; this is where I started to notice Noé (Mickaël Conte, vastly impressive with his stage presence and stamina – he was dancing pretty much from start to finish) as he repeatedly starts with a solo and is then joined by more and more dancers, guiding his people throughout their journey in their search for hope and resolution. The pearl curtains are at full height by now – the deluge has reached its peak.

Adam and Eve (nude leotards) appear, providing hope, vitality and renewal. The other dancer’s movements are much more upwards now, some high lifts, Noé is praised by his fellow men, illustrating the joy and optimism. A dove and a raven fly past (dancers in long flowing white/ black robes), and the curtains are now on the way down again as and when the waters recede. One by one, the dancers take off their day wear and appear in nude leotards … there’s a fresh start, renewal, a new world, a new chance, a clean sheet.

How does it end? It ends as it started, with one person slaying another. The story has gone full circle.

Mankind is given a new chance and does not use it, I thought, rather depressed, as I was watching the curtain go down at the end of the performance.

Superb performance by all, full of engagement and commitment. Links to video extracts

Trailer http://theatre-chaillot.fr/malandain-ballet-biarritz-noe

Noé guiding his people https://vimeo.com/212740826

Close up of costumes and scenography http://malandainballet.com/actualites/article/premiere-de-noe-au-theatre-national-de-la-danse-de-chaillot-a-paris (“documentaire autour de la creation”)

 

 

Edited by Duck
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Merci bien encore une fois, Duck, for that very detailed review.  Your reports on dance in France are much appreciated, and reading them is the next best thing to being there!  Please keep them coming.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much, Sim   :)    I am in the process of building a schedule of what I am interested in seeing next season. I'll need to put in some serious work though as the list, as it stands at the moment, is far too long ...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've not heard of this company before. Is it new? I certainly value your accounts of the performances that you have seen in France, Duck, particularly those by regional companies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They have been established for many years now and have toured UK in the past.  I have enjoyed what I have seen of them - excellent dancers and interesting choreography by Malandain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks as though the company is coming up to 20 years old.  They've recently been in America - I can remember picking up a couple of reviews for the links.

 

Company website

 

Wikipedia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for comments and sharing the additional links :)

 

The company is based in Biarritz and seems to tour a lot. This was the first time that I saw the company, too.

 

Thierry Malandain also organises an annual dance festival in Biarritz "le temps d'aimer la danse".

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never heard of them but from the videos posted above I like the look of them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thierry Malandain is one of the more talented and respected choreographers on the Contemporary scene, Sim, a skilled "composer" of choreographic text, his Noé is a 70 minute long, remarkably fluid, original, at times ascending to the level of genuine pathos, composition. Ability to compose text, in an original and idiomatic way, to make it a match for the music, is certainly one of his fortes. There are very few choreographers working in Contemporary of similar ability and interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the post, Duck! Unfortunately I was unable to attend the performance myself, but I send my sister, living in Paris, to it. She was very content and impressed by choreography and dancers' skills! 

Edited by Estreiiita

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thierry Malandain describes his style in the following way - http://malandainballet.com/en/ballet/valeurs

 

"Deep human values underpin Thierry Malandain’s approach, as he leads a troupe of performers who master the grammar of classical dance with a contemporary expression."

 

""As DNA found in all living cells and passed down through generations, this information [from classical dance] might be altered over time to result in species diversity and evolution. That is why my dancing style leaves room for variation. Considered as a classical choreographer for some, a contemporary one for others or even seen as hereditarily neoclassical, I am simply on the lookout for a dance I like. A dance that would not only leave traces of pleasure but that would also revive the essence of the Sacred as an answer to the difficulty of being."

 

"Deeply linked to the concept of "Ballet" as an aesthetic movement, he gives priority to the dancing body and the celebration of its sensuality and humanity."

 

The sensuality and humanity were incredibly prominent in Noé.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Duck said:

Thierry Malandain describes his style in the following way - http://malandainballet.com/en/ballet/valeurs

 

"Deep human values underpin Thierry Malandain’s approach, as he leads a troupe of performers who master the grammar of classical dance with a contemporary expression."

(...)

"Deeply linked to the concept of "Ballet" as an aesthetic movement, he gives priority to the dancing body and the celebration of its sensuality and humanity."

 

Among these "deep human values" are longing for Beauty, Harmony, Clarity, and Meaning...

 

What I emphasised sets Malandain apart from a vast majority of people working in the Contemporary idiom today, and they are a legion, it is his understanding that ugliness, chaos, cacaphony, are alien to the spirit of ballet. One can speak with a vocabulary radically different from la danse classique, as he does, without descending to ugly athleticism, meaningless displays of gymnastics and twisting the limbs of the dancers in every possible way. Malandain's Noé is an example of such a radically modern work, despite the fact that one of its high points is a beautiful "classical moment", a duet of Dove and Raven. This 70 minutes long creation doesn't hang on a few isolated choreographic points, one or two interesting ideas while the rest is literally "filling the void", it leads the viewer on a symphonic tour packed with meaning and transparent clarity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×