Three Choreographies by Thierry Malandain

L'Après-midi d'un faune / Le spectre de la rose / Une dernière chanson

By In Ballet 58 min
L’Après-midi d’un faune

A faun is lying down on a rock during a summer afternoon. Nymphs appear. Intrigued, he looks at them and leaps near them. They all run away, scared, except one of them who enjoys being courted. When the faun attempts to catch her, the nymph goes away but lets a silk veil fall on the ground. The faun takes it back to the rock and caresses it as in a love act.

In this synopsis, I mainly focused on the faun desire and the expression of his sensually through dreams and fantasies. My version does not refer to the antic Greece and its woodlands. That is why the boulder sheltering the faun is not represented by a mound painted by Léon Bakst, but is a Kleenex box. Because of the innovating style of the choreography and the gestures of «erotic bestiality» performed by Nijinsky, the first representation of this ballet provoked uproar amongst the audience. Carnal desire was at the very heart of this work. As in the original ballet, my faun performs in a fantastical and sensual world, except that he is not a legendary half-human, half-beast creature, but a lonely young man expressing his desire for the very vague remembrance of love.

Le spectre de la rose

A few lines by the poet Théophile Gautier inspired Jean-Louis Vaudoyer for this short ballet, created on 19th April 1911 by Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinski, in a choreography signed by Michel Fokine.
After a ball, a young girl is holding a rose in her bedroom; she is enraptured by its voluptuous scent and finally goes to sleep in a armchair. In her dreams, the spectre of the rose comes in through the window. She joins him in a magic dance before he disappears. She wakes up, feeling troubled, she looks around but can only see the rose.

A dream is essentially a window open towards all sorts of fantasies. This young girl’s dream is about the ghost of a rose, a spirit full of various symbols. It means love, desire, spilled blood, when thorn-pricked, life-saving blood. A gallery of scattered images to be visited with the key of dreams.

Une dernière chanson

In order to mark a decade of partnership with the Opera of Reims and thank the public from Reims for their loyalty, has created with his company a new ballet for 10 dancers entitled «Une Dernière chanson», in April 2012.
In 2001, the record came out Aux marches du Palais, a collection of «ballads and laments of the France of yesteryear», chiselled by Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique. At that time, Thierry Malandain would have liked to use that album of traditional songs, but as he had already used Benjamin Britten’s Folksongs and those by Luciano Berio for other creations, not to mention a Tristan et Yseult supported by medieval music or yet, traditional Breton tunes used for Blé noir, he felt he had to wait for t right moment.

Now, for this anniversary, he felles free to offer whatever he likes, hesitating between one of Beethoven’s last sonatas and «Aux marches du palais» dy Vincent Dumestre. He finally chose that album of day-dreaming inducing songs. In his own words : «it is a light-hearted, bubbly ballet intended as a moment of humanity to forget for a short while our tough, worried existence, saddened by all that our heart and reason cannot accept.» A ballet leading to the most tender emotions. And even if it veers towards melancholy, even if the shivers of death run through it, the richness of its poetry will give the charm of all that ends well. Just the way one enjoys the last drink, the last ray of the sun, the last song.


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