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La Chambre d'amour

The Chambre d’amour is a legendary cave on the Basque coast where two lovers perished long ago. Located on the side of a cliff, this cavity formed by the sea’s ebb and flow echoes all of the mysteries connected to life and death.

The tale says they were named Ura and Ederra (water and beauty in Basque). They had taken shelter in the cave when, in the throes of love, the incoming tide took them by surprise. The next morning their bodies were found locked in each other’s arms on the sand. By dying, Ura and Ederra joined the ranks of other literary star-crossed lovers such as Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona … our Chambre d’amour reminds us of them.

I like to think that these shattered fates originated from the parable of Genesis. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were banished from the Garden of Eden. Their immortality taken away, they then entered the dualistic material world; a world which from then on would be punctuated by the cadence of life and death.

So is love a nostalgic quest for lost unity? It is said that our lovers transcend this love when they die. Is the darkness just a passageway, the night before the sun that rises every morning over the Chambre d’amour?

Thierry Malandain

Malandain, Thierry

Born on the 13th April 1959 in Petit-Quevilly, Thierry Malandain followed the usual path of a classical dancer but with a strong taste for the unconventional and an unusual tenacity. Violette Verdy, who chaired the Prix de Lausanne at which Thierry Malandain competed in 1978, hired him to join the Paris Opera Ballet for the season 1977-1978. There, he met Jean Sarelli, who was then "The" ballet master, and followed him when Sarelli took over the direction of the Ballet du Rhin. Thierry Malandain stayed in Mulhouse until 1980 and then joined the Ballet Théâtre Français de Nancy, directed by Hélène Traïline and Jean-Albert Cartier, until 1986. He successfully made his first experiences as a choreographer during the six years he stayed in Lorraine. In 1984, he won the 1st Prize of the Volinine competition with Quatuor op3, to a score by Guillaume Lekeu. In 1985 and 1986, he succeeded Maguy Marin as winner of the 1st Prize of Nyon choreographic competition in Switzerland with Sonatine, to a score by Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Métamorphosis, to the music of Benjamin Britten. 

In 1986, Thierry Malandain made a bet. He left the Ballet Théâtre Français de Nancy with eight dancers and set up the Compagnie Temps Présent in Elancourt (78), in the suburbs of Paris. He deliberately chose to get off the beaten track and undertake a mammoth task. The following season, he was awarded by the Fondation de la Vocation and the Fondation Oulmont and won the 1st Prize of La Baule choreographic competition, the 1st Prize of Vaison-la-Romaine choreographic competition and the Prix de la Nuit des Jeunes Créateurs in Paris with Angelin Preljocaj and Claude Brumachon. Thierry Malandain began to make himself known as a promising young talent thanks to several works: ­­L'Homme aux semelles de vent (1986), created to the music of Benjamin Britten and staged again under the title Les Illuminations (1989) for the dancer Patrick Dupond and the Ballet National de Nancy, Edgar Allan Poe (1988), to scores by Claude Debussy and André Caplet, and especially Folksongs (1986), choreographed to the music of Benjamin Britten and performed by several companies, including the Ballet de Tours of Jean-Christophe Maillot. As people only talked about the “jeune danse française” in 1988, Thierry Malandain, like his colleagues, contributed to the development of dance in the suburbs while proclaiming his attachment to the vocabulary of classical dance. He even created ballets for opera house companies, such as Danses qu'on croise (1987), choreographed to the music of Johannes Brahms for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Nantes. His unique positioning was confusing for the French choreographic community but not for the international audience. On the contrary, people, especially in Belgium, started to talk about the French choreographer who achieved the feat of creating Les Sylphides, to the music of Frédéric Chopin for the Ballet royal de Wallonie, and Petite Lune, to a score by Dmitri Shostakovitch for the Royal Ballet of Flanders, in the same year (1990).

In 1991, Thierry Malandain created Pulcinella by Igor Stravinsky on the stage of the previously called Maison de la Culture in Saint-Etienne. At this time, the director Jean-Louis Pichon was trying to turn the institution into an Opera Theatre—named L’Esplanade in 1994. He needed a choreographer who would be sensitive to music and able to have a strong presence on the ground. He invited the Compagnie Temps Présent for a residence in Saint-Etienne. This event marked the beginning of a collaboration that lasted six years.

In 1997, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the City of Biarritz offered Thierry Malandain to set up the first classical Centre Chorégraphique Contemporain in the Basque coastal resort of Biarritz. It happened so fast that the Centre Chorégraphique National - Ballet Biarritz opened in September 1998 in the Gare du Midi, a large building abandoned by trains and whose two big square towers overlook Biarritz pleasant gardens.

In 2003, Ballet Biarritz took a major creative step with Les Créatures, choreographed to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. This powerful, graphic and ambitious work engendered a feeling of maturity and poise that earned the Ballet greater recognition. For the first time in its history, the troupe officially performed in Paris (Théâtre national de Chaillot) thanks to Dominique Hervieu and José Montalvo, while Les Créatures were nominated at the Benois de la Danse in Moscow and received the Critics Prize at the 19th International Ballet Festival of Havana in Cuba. In 2004, Le Sang des Etoiles confirmed the company’s success. The CCN then became one of the most productive choreographic centres, with the biggest number of performances per year and a strong international presence. The institution also grew in strength. 

In August 2009, Thierry Malandain was made an “officier” in the Order of Arts and Letters. The new name of the company, "Malandain Ballet Biarritz", heralded a new era for the choreographer. Two new creations followed: Magifique (2009), to the music of Piotr Illitch Tchaikovsky and Roméo et Juliette (2010) by Hector Berlioz. Both found favour with audiences and critics. For the second time of his career, Thierry Malandain collaborated with a composer, Guillaume Connesson, resulting in the ballet Lucifer (2011). The score was interpreted by the Orchestre de Pau Pays de Béarn, conducted by Fayçal Karoui, who is also the musical director of the New York City Ballet. 

In 2013, as Malandain Ballet Biarritz gave more than hundred performances per year, Thierry Malandain created Cendrillon to the music of Sergei Prokofiev to the request of Laurent Bruenner, the director of the Opéra royal de Versailles. The performances of this ballet were given on the wonderful stage of the Royal Opera of the Palace of Versailles with the accompaniment of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi from Donostia-San Sebastián, conducted by Josep Caballé-Domenech. A triumph of humanity, Cendrillon was unanimously acclaimed by the press and audiences. In 2014, Thierry Malandain was named “Best Choreographer” at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards, organised by the Malakhov Foundation in Berlin.


Source : Malandain Ballet’s website


More on : http://malandainballet.com/

Flores, Georges

Georges Flores began his career in 1982. He is responsible for the editing and post-production of numerous works of video art broadcast on French channels. Some of his earliest work was recording shows: between 1988 and 1992, he covered the entire International Festival for Innovations in Music Production and Composition, several parts of which, in the form of reports, were broadcast on ARTE channel on the programme Mégamix. He regularly produces recordings for current music. This experience has also led him to work in opera and classical music, producing recordings of many great works. He also provided the video coverage for the Massenet Festival. Dance is another of Flores’ favourite areas. He has worked with Thierry Malandain, director of the National Choreographic Centre – Malandain Ballet Biarritz since 1992. The documentary Voyage (Travel), produced in 1996 during a tour in Morocco, in collaboration with the French Cultural Institute and with the ground-breaking participation of Antoine Livio and of Yvette Chauviré, introduces us to the character and creations of the choreographer and demonstrates Flores’ links to choreography. He also regularly works with other contemporary choreographers who create unique artistic worlds. Flores has also produced a great deal of images used in set designs for music, dance and opera. His first piece of international work saw him take part in the season opening of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo in January 1993, as part of a new production of Esclarmonde by Massenet, directed by Giannandrea Gavazzeni. Alongside this work on live shows, he creates documentaries for non-specialist audiences in the field of Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture (CSTI), aimed at the education sector. Today, Flores dedicates his time to producing and creating projects that are important to him, as well as faithful collaborations for television or renowned arts organisations. His portfolio now includes the recordings of over fifty great lyrical works.


Source : Georges Flores

La chambre d'amour

Artistic direction / Conception : Thierry Malandain

Choreography : Thierry Malandain

Interpretation : Malandain Ballet Biarritz

Original music : Peïo Çabalette

Video conception : Georges Flores

Lights : Jean-Claude Asquié

Costumes : Jorge Gallardo

Settings : Jorge Gallardo

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Théâtre de Saint-Quentin en Yvelines Scène Nationale, Esplanade de Saint-Etienne, Orchestre Régional Bayonne Côte Basque, Biarritz Culture, Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Malandain Ballet Biarritz

Duration : 60 minutes

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