Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Perrault - La Belle / Jean-Christophe Maillot Ballet de Monte Carlo|
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Music By Pyotr Tchaikovsky; Choreographer Jean-Christopher MaillotMusic Pieces: — The Sleeping Beauty, performed by the St. Petersburg Kirov Orchestra conducted by Valery GergievRomeo and Juliet, performed by the Berlin Phi... more »
Sleeping Beauty transformed
Sackerson | Canada | 10/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jean-Christophe Maillot's expressionist retelling of "Sleeping Beauty", "La Belle", is a masterpiece in its own right. Forgoing the customary prettiness of the classical version by Petipa and Nureyev's re-casting of it (available in its most superb form in the Paris Opera Ballet DVD with Aurelie Dupont), Maillot cuts into the pith of the characters and reveals the central points of the story: the evil of Carabosse (who doubles as the Queen Mother of the Prince) compared to the innocence and naivete of la Belle and her court.
Thus the opening of the story takes place in the Prince's family: the King his father, a token figure in a wheeled frame with a crown on top, is helpless against the strength of personality and ruthlessness of his wife, the Queen. The Prince attempts to maintain a relationship with his father which is continually interrupted and blocked by his mother. When the Prince is shown the dream vision of La Belle and becomes enchanted by it, the mother -- now transformed into Carabosse -- arrives in La Belle's court to interfere there as well.
The court of the Princess seems sybaritic and self-indulgent: courtiers appear in utterly fanciful costumes with extreme appendages -- pantaloon legs, huge puffed sleeves and crinolines all sketched out in open-work bands of flexible metal around the basic brightly coloured costumes. The scene progresses into the arrival of the suitors for La Belle's hand, as in the more familiar story. But here, in the most remarkably inventive passage in the ballet, La Belle (danced beautifully by Bernice Coppieters) appears inside an enormous clear plastic ball in which she walks down a ramp to appear before the princes. At this point (roughly where the Rose Adagio takes place in the original) the princes approach the 'bubble' in which Belle exists (metaphorically surely a symbol of her over-protected innocence) but rather than waiting to be greeted in turn, they begin to attack it to get at her, finally tearing it open and leaving her brutally exposed and terrified.
When the Prince (the hero, that is) finally appears, his pas de deux with La Belle is extraordinary: embattled, erotic, yearning, and desperate -- a far cry from the poise and elegance of Petipa's or Nureyev's versions. The story unfolds in parallel to the original narrative, but with continual shifts into anger (Carabosse), terror (Belle), protective heroism (the Prince), and ineffectual posturing (the King and Queen and the courtiers).
The story's ending is perhaps equivocal, but the interpretive journey is remarkable. The dancing is beyond criticism, especially Coppieters as La Belle, Chris Roelandt as the Prince, Gaetan Morlotti as Carabosse/Queen Mother, and Paola Cantalupo as the Lilac Fairy. Coppieters especially has never been lovelier. There is an edge to all Maillot's choreography, quite beyond any sentimentality, which nevertheless never sinks to cheap cynicism (is there any other kind?) or mere facetiousness. Here, as in his Cinderella (also brilliant), he enters the reality of the people who inhabit and embody the story and makes us see these old tales as the archetypes they are.
For anyone who cares about dance, and who loves the classical repertoire but is not irreversibly wedded to it, "La Belle" is a mesmerizing, exhilarating work -- a true masterpiece. I cannot recommend it too highly."