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Ballet Preljocaj

Les 4 Saisons...
Choreographer: Angelin Preljocaj
Chaosgrapher: Fabrice Hyber

NOV. 16.17.18, 2006

Théâtre Maisonneuve de la Place des Arts

"...The whole piece is colourful and lively, with a positive energy and a series of scenes reserving one surprise after another. A ballet […] that rekindles the pleasure of Vivaldi’s wonderful music.” (Le Figaro Magazine, France)

“Dance can be so gratifying when a choreographer knows how to play with sensuality. The whole piece is colourful and lively, with a positive energy and a series of scenes reserving one surprise after another. A ballet […] that rekindles the pleasure of Vivaldi’s wonderful music.” (Le Figaro Magazine, France)

he Ballet Preljocaj, with its superb dancers and artistically innovative, sophisticated shows, is always a surprise and a delight. The company was a hit with its Hommage aux Ballets Russes, a program made up of reinterpretations of Noces, Spectre de la rose and Parade, presented at the Centre Pierre-Péladeau in 1996. Audiences also hailed the Ballet Preljocaj’s 2001 return to the same venue, where it performed Helikopter and LeSacre du printemps. As a first-time guest of Danse Danse, the French company will treat Montreal audiences to Les 4 Saisons... according to Angelin Preljocaj, set to Antonio Vivaldi’s incomparable masterpiece.

When asked by Paris Match what inspired him in the famous violin concertos, Angelin Preljocaj replied, “the profusion, richness, flamboyance and life.” His playfully excessive and colourful ballet for 12 dancers and a miscellany of objects is proof. A coproduction of the Festival Montpellier Danse 2005 and Paris’ Théâtre de la Ville, Les 4 Saisons... is a sensual, meteorological celebration created with artist Fabrice Hyber. Designer, chaosgrapher and no-holds-barred creator of POFs (prototypes of functioning objects), Hyber also designed the sets and costumes for the new choreography.

“It’s a real feast for the eyes, made up of a dotted sine-wave shape, half sea urchin, half seaweed, clear plastic bears, dancers with stools stuck to their behinds, called “pant-chairs,” yellow potato sponges that fall from the sky and a cut-out wood seesaw to make stiletto heels teeter […].” (Le Monde, Paris)

Since its June 2005 premiere, the show has been enjoyed in cities across France as well as in West Africa, Israel and Japan. Les 4 Saisons... will also tour Morocco and Italy, detouring to Luxemburg and Germany.

As a Danse Danse and La danse sur les routes du Québec initiative, Les 4 Saisons... will also play at Québec City’s Grand Théâtre and the Cultural Centre of the University of Sherbrooke.

Angelin Preljocaj
A choreographer with an impressive body of work, Angelin Preljocaj was born in Paris in 1957 to Albanian immigrant parents. Now the artistic director of the Ballet Preljocaj – Centre chorégraphique national, he studied classical dance before taking on contemporary dance, first in France, then in New York with Merce Cunningham. Back home, he danced for companies that included Dominique Bagouet’s in Montpellier, where he also started out as a choreographer. In 1984, with a Ministry of Culture award under his belt for his piece Marché noir, he founded the Compagnie Preljocaj in Champigny-sur-Marne.

In 1987, he spent time in Japan studying Noh theatre. Returning to France, he continued creating ballets, including Hallali Romée and Liqueurs de chair (1988) as well as a futuristic, comic-book version of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with the help of comic artist Enki Bilal. In 1992, he was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Danse by the French government’s Ministry of Culture. He was later invited by the Palais Garnier to present an Hommage aux Ballets Russes, made up of his reinterpretations of Parade, Spectre de la rose and Noces.

In 1996, his company moved to Aix-en-Provence, where he staged a new version of his Roméo et Juliette. The following year’s presentation of Annonciation, Spectre de la rose and Noces at the Joyce Theatre in New York led to a commission from the New York City Ballet. Angelin Preljocaj received a Bessie award for his Joyce Theater program, and his Roméo et Juliette won an award for best choreography production in France from the Victoires de la Musique.

In 2000, year of virtual reality, CGI and an explosion of dance, he created Portraits in corpore, a choreographic installation that set up a dialogue between the dancers’ bodies and videos of them. He followed up with Helikopter, performed in Montreal in a double program with Le Sacre du printemps, a French-German coproduction combining the dancers of the Ballet Preljocaj and the Berlin Staats Oper.

Since founding his company, now made up of 24 dancers, Angelin Preljocaj has created 30 choreographies ranging from duets to large ensembles. Many companies have added his works to their repertories and commissioned new ones, including the Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, the Scala in Milan and the New York City Ballet. He also works with artists including Enki Bilal (Roméo et Juliette, 1990), the band Air (Near Life Experience, 2003), Granular Synthesis (« N », 2004) and Fabrice Hyber (Les 4 Saisons..., 2005).

Angelin Preljocaj holds the honorary titles Officier des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Ballet Preljocaj
The Compagnie Preljocaj, formed in December 1984, became the Centre chorégraphique national de Champigny-sur-Marne et du Val-de-Marne in 1989. The company’s January 1995 move to Toulon was cut short in May of that year when the Front National won the municipal elections. In 1996, it found a home at the Cité du Livre complex in Aix-en-Provence and became the Ballet Preljocaj – Centre chorégraphique national de la région Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur et du département des Bouches-du-Rhône.

Along with sharing its repertory, the Ballet Preljocaj presents about 110 shows a year on its tours of France and abroad. Its many audience development activities in Aix-en-Provence and surrounding area include vidéodanse screenings, public rehearsals, workshops, internships and dance interventions in the urban environment. The company also organizes the Corps à Cœur festival, showcasing favourites from their tours, and hosts companies-in-residence in its studios year-round.

The Ballet Preljocaj is about to take over a new space. Designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti and christened the “Pavillon Noir,” the new building in Aix will host dance shows in its built-in performance hall throughout the year.

Fabrice Hyber
Artist Fabrice Hyber, prolific creator of public installations, defies categorization. After transforming the Paris Modern Art Museum into a “Hybermarché” and setting up a hair salon at the Centre Georges-Pompidou for the Féminin/Masculin exhibition, Fabrice Hyber was chosen to represent France at the Venice Biennale. He walked away with the Golden Lion for his transformation of the French pavilion into a TV recording and broadcast studio.

In his famous POFs (prototypes of functioning objects), among them the square balloon and the double-edged car, the artist shifts the original purpose of everyday objects. Their new shapes mislead and induce new behaviour, changing the way we perceive and use the objects.


February 2006

Photos JC Carbonne | Header photo dancers: Zaratiana Randriananteniana, Kaori Ito