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The Spectator's moment (2013): Giselle, Mats Ek

The Spectator's moment (2013): Giselle, Mats Ek

Giselle

Like Dom Juan by Molière or Berenice by Racine in classical theatre, Giselle is the reference of romantic ballet. Created in 1841 at the Opéra de Paris, it brings together all the elements of the new aesthetical and philosophical trend that ran through the first half of the 19th century: at this time, dreams and fantasy abounded in literature, theatre, opera and dance contrasting the real world, which was too materialistic. And as earthly happiness turned out to be an inaccessible ideal, love – like art – had the power to transcend death.

So the poor Giselle, charmed by a grand seigneur, who was more thoughtless than nasty, died of heartache when she discovered the lies that he had told her. Now a supernatural spirit haunting the hereafter, she forgave and defended her Duke against all opposition and saved his life. The traditional choreography of Giselle still surprises as, through dance, it manages to express the psychological movements of its characters as if inner feelings guided their steps.

The Swedish choreographer Mats Ek, in his reworking of Giselle – in 1982 for the Cullberg Ballet, in Stockholm – had the nerve to push to the paroxysm a subject that was already latent. Keeping the original scenario (the booklet written by Théophile Gautier) and the music of Adolphe Adam, Mats Ek highlighted the drama of the situation, turning Giselle into the simpleton of the village, abused by a Don Juan from the town who had come to have a good time with his friends. Totally devastated, she lost her mind.

Josseline Le Bourhis

“What fascinated me most the first time I saw the classical ballet Giselle, was the contrasts: between the realism of the first act and the fantasizing of the second, between the castle and the cottage, the individual and the group… behind the fable lies a host of complex relationships of a social and spiritual nature: I wished to reproduce this with my own words”. Mats Ek


Source: Opéra de Lyon

DVD AVAILABLE AT ARTHAUS MUSIK: arthaus-musik.com/

Ek, Mats

Mats Ek began his career by studying theatre, whilst taking part in Donya Feuer's (an American who practiced the Martha Graham technique and who was based in Stockholm) dance classes at the same time. He joined the Dusseldorf Ballet for a season (1974-75), then integrated the Cullberg Ballet, directed by his mother Birgit Cullberg, the following year. In 1980, Mats Ek became co-artistic director for the company, along with Birgit Cullberg, and in 1985, when she took her retirement, he became the sole director.
His audacious and mordant revisions of “La Maison de Bernarda” (The House of Bernarda) (1978), “Giselle” (1982), “Le sacre du printemps” (The Rite of Spring) (1984), “Le lac des cygnes” (Swan Lake) (1987), “Carmen” (1992) and “La belle au bois dormant” (Sleeping Beauty) (1996) confirmed his talent to dig deep into appearances to bring out the tormented psychology of the characters and to defy ballet conventions. His surrealist fables such as “Vieux Enfants” (1989) and “Etres Lumineux” (1991) transpose, through the bizarre, the complex relationships that can be developed between people.
Since leaving his position as director of the Cullberg Ballet (1993) and becoming a freelancer, Mats Ek has strived to denounce the ills of society through the difficulties encountered by couples and through the small everyday dramas of life. “A Sort of...” (1997) for the Nederlands Dans Theater, “Appartement” for the Opéra de Paris, “Fluke” (2002) for the repertoire of the Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon, “Aluminium” for the Compañia Nacional de Danza / Nacho Duato (2005), “Place” for Ana Laguna and Mikhail Baryshnikov (2007), “Radis noir” (2008) for the Ballet of the Royal Opera of Sweden. More than ever, Mats Ek strived to “dance for a reason… I want to reflect the image of reality”.


He also made his comeback in the theatre where he produced “Dans Med Nätsan” / “Danse avec ton prochain” (Dance with your neighbour) (1995), “Johanna sur Jeanne d'Arc” (1998) and directed works by Molière, Racine, Shakespeare, Strindberg, and the Gluck opera “Orphée et Eurydice” (Orpheus and Eurydice).

In twenty years, he has imposed his poignant vision of human behaviour, in a personal style that exacerbates the movement and fills the body with the distresses of the soul. In his psychoanalytical reinterpretations of the “classics”, just like in his sharp observation of the frustrations of individuals, he dares to display the essential.

Source : Opéra de Lyon (Josseline le Bourhis)

Picq, Charles

Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (eLaC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
  On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.

His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
      - He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
      - He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
      - He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
      - He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.

More recently, he launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created the website numeridanse.tv, an international video library for dance online.

His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.

He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).

Source : Maison de la Danse

Plasson, Fabien

Born in 1977, Fabien Plasson is a video director specialized in the field of performing arts (dance , music, etc).

During his studies at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (joined in 1995) Fabien discovered video art. He was trained by various video artists (Joel Bartoloméo Pascal Nottoli , Eric Duyckaerts , etc) .
He first experimented with the creation of installations and cinematic objects.

From 2001 to 2011, he was in charge of Ginger & Fred video Bar’s programming at La Maison de la Danse in Lyon. He discovered the choreographic field and the importance of this medium in the dissemination, mediation and pedagogical approach to dance alongside Charles Picq, who was a brilliant video director and the director of the video department at that time.

Today, Fabien Plasson is the video director at La Maison de la Danse and in charge of the video section of Numeridanse.tv, an online international  video library, and continues his creative activities, making videos of concerts, performances and also creating video sets for live performances.


Sources: Maison de la Danse ; Fabien Plasson website

More information: fabione.fr

Ballet Cullberg

Ballet creation : 1967

Founder : Birgit Cullberg


Cullbergbaletten is the leading repertoire company for contemporary  dance in Sweden. The company is an important contributor to the  international presentation of dance and choreography with tours all over  the world. Cullbergbaletten works with a range of international  choreographers and artists. The company currently has 16 dancers from  nearly as many countries, and guest dancers are continuously invited to  various projects. Since its inception the individual quality of each  dancer has been Cullbergbaletten’s defining characteristic.


By collaborating with choreographers and directors who are rooted in  the contemporary field, Cullbergbaletten contributes strongly to the  development of performing arts and dance as an art form.  Cullbergbaletten’s activities encompass different projects and  productions including workshops, conferences, seminars, and lectures.  The directors are Gabriel Smeets and Stina Dahlström. Cullbergbaletten  was founded in 1967 by Birgit Cullberg under the auspices of  Riksteatern, the Swedish National Touring Theatre, of which it is still  part.


Source : Ballet Website


More information : https://cullbergbaletten.se

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