Date:2019-02-22      Source:National Centre for the Performing Arts

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Venue: Opera House

Dates: March 14-16, 2019


Choreographer: Jean-Christophe Maillot
Music: Sergueï Prokofiev
Set Designer: Ernest Pignon-Ernest
Costume Designer: Jérôme Kaplan
Lighting Designer: Dominique Drillot

Loyal to his reputation as a fairy tale paleoanthropologist, Jean-Christophe Maillot strips Cendrillon (Cinderella) of its sugar-coated layer and delivers a poignant meditation on the way in which people who disappear shape the future of those left behind. The theme of a prince who marries a peasant girl (an idea responsible for the shattered dreams and hopes of entire generations) is not given a lead role here. The choreographer denies this idea the importance it is usually given, preferring to focus on the emotional cogs that drive this timeless tale forward.

Because in addition to a reflection on mourning, Cinderella is a funny, incisive take on a society crammed full of artifice, where the quest for pleasure strips its inhabitants of any sense of reality. Frenzied distraction rubs shoulders with idleness, and the palace’s Two Superintendents of Pleasure are on-hand to entertain a moribund court slowly suffocating from boredom. Yet again, Jean-Christophe Maillot gives these two key characters movements all of their own. Every step, every jump reflects the over-excitement, one-upmanship and thirst for happiness they seem to mindlessly promote.

In contrast to this, Cendrillon (Cinderella) is simplicity incarnate (a key concept that influenced Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s set design). She needs no accessories to render her beautiful, and even the famous glass slipper is replaced here with a bare foot glistening with delicate, ephemeral gold dust. Cinderella’s bare foot becomes a symbol of ballet. It symbolises not only the simplicity and starkness of this young girl, but also a part of the body without which dance would not exist. The foot is the pivot of choreographic art, its pillar, its momentum, its take-off and its survival.

Somewhere between Cendrillon (Cinderella) and the lying, cheating world she inhabits is the Prince, imprisoned in his palace, brooding as he waits for a more real existence. Having only ever known flattery and emotional repression, he is unaware of the real world. Everything slips between his fingers like sand, he has no memory to hold on to because he has never truly lived. A spectator of his own life, he is suspended between life and the void. His moments of desolation and dejection differ from those experienced by Cendrillon (Cinderella), yet they too hint at a dream of a different life. The Fairy blindfolds him so that he may know love beyond a pretty face, and he is forced to leave his world to seek the one he loves. The young woman’s salvation does not lie in the social status her future husband can offer her: the Prince must abandon his palace and prostrate himself "at the feet" of his loved one. Thus, the lovers embark on a journey hand-in-hand, ready to take on all that the world offers up to them. Death is no longer unbearable. The deceased walk beside them. And they lived happily ever after...


Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

1909 marks the beginning of a strong presence of choreographic art in Monaco.Serge de Diaghilev presents his Russian Ballet in Paris for the first time. They set up in Monte-Carlo which becomes their creative workshop for the next two decades. Since the Principality, Diaghilev has reformed ballet in his time in all its forms. Upon his death in 1929, the company was dissolved. Several personalities and choreographers revived it under various names but it disappeared completely in 1951.

In 1985, the Monte-Carlo Ballet Company (Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo) was born thanks to the want of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, who wanted to enrol in this dance tradition in Monaco. The new company was directed by Ghislaine Thesmar and Pierre Lacotte, then by Jean-Yves Esquerre.

In 1993, H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover nominates Jean-Christophe Maillot as the head of the Monte-Carlo Ballets. Backed by experience as a dancer from Rosella Hightower and John Neumeier, and choreographer-director of the National Choreographic Centre of Tours, Jean-Christophe Maillot takes his turn in the company. He creates more than 30 ballets for her, including several which enter the repertoire of large international companies. The Monte-Carlo Ballets are now in demand throughout the world thanks to the iconic works of Jean-Christophe Maillot such as Vers un pays sage (1995), Roméo et Juliette (1996), Cendrillon (1999) La Belle (2001), Le Songe (2005), Altro Canto (2006), Faust (2007) and LAC (2011).

Furthermore, Jean-Christophe Maillot also enriches the company's repertoire by inviting the major choreographers of our time but also enabling emerging choreographers to work with this exceptional tool, which are the 50 dancers of the Monte-Carlo Ballets. Among these guest choreographers are Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Shen Wei, Alonzo King, Emio Greco, Chris Haring, Marco Goecke, Lucinda Childs, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Karole Armitage, Maurice Béjart and even Marie Chouinard.

In 2000, Jean-Christophe creates the Monaco Dance Forum, international window to dance that presents an eclectic fusion of spectacles, exhibitions, workshops and conferences. The company regularly participates in this festival and the Princess Grace Dance Academy.

In 2011, under the chairmanship of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, a new structure directed by Jean-Christophe Maillot reunites these three institutions: The Monte-Carlo Ballets currently concentrates on the excellence of an international company, the assets of a diverse festival and the potential for a school of a high level. Creation, training and production are currently reunited in Monaco to serve choreography in an unprecedented manner in the world of dance.