Skip to main content
Back to search
  • Add to playlist

Le Mystère Babilée

The film begins with rare images, shot just before the Premiere of a piece that would become a major work of 20th century repertoire, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort. Roland Petit’s ballet based on the libretto by Jean Cocteau revealed an astonishing 23 year-old interpreter: Jean Babilée. Thus the legend of this extraordinary dancer was born. Patrick Bensard dedicates a detailed portrait to him, including many interviews and archive documents. 

 “He’s a cat, he has the charm, suppleness and independence of felines”, Yvette Chauviré, one of the many personalities interviewed, said of him. A diptych, Le Mystère Babilée first focuses on the creation of Le Jeune Homme et la Mort. The archive documents and the comments by Jean Cocteau and Leslie Caron contribute to the reconstruction of this immediate post-war period and testify to the innovations of the work and to the extraordinary success it enjoyed right from the start. In the second part, Jean Babilée himself takes over. A fantastic storyteller, the dancer transmits his passion for artistic adventures, evoking with modesty some more intimate memories. These interviews, interwoven with testimonies and extracts from choreographies, recompose the unusual career of an artist who, from the word go, was known as the “enfant terrible of dance”. 

Babilée, Jean

French dancer, choreographer and actor.


After studying at the École de danse de l'Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Ballet School), he drove his professional career to suit his whims and exactingness. As such, he vacillated between periods of fame and periods of choreographic abandon. Although he began at the Ballets de Cannes in 1940, it was whilst he was at the Ballets des Champs-Élysées, between 1945 and 1949, that he became known as one of the greatest dancers of his generation and that he created his first choreographies. He was then invited to the Ballet Théâtre, to the Paris Opera, to the Scala and to the Staatsoper, then went on to found his own company (1956-1959). For a while he moved to cinema and theatre, then composed a ballet via computer for television. He directed the Ballet du Rhin over the 1972-1973 season. In 1979, he made a sensational comeback in Béjart’s Life, which he danced until 1985. 


A somewhat out-of-the-ordinary dancer, who declared that dance was not a job, but a frame of mind, he developed a highly-personal way of working and, as such, sculpted a body which was always ready to engage in athletic, streamlined and ethereal dance, which conveyed an impression of perfect impregnability and naturalness, even during the acrobatic sequences which he adored. He rarely performed repertoire as he favoured creation, which included le Jeune Homme et la Mort (1946, R. Petit) which would give him legendary status alongside N. Philippart, his future wife.


His style of dancing was the formal component of his choreographies characterized by expressivity abounding in tenderness and poetry, which was particularly well appreciated.


Source : Marie Françoise Bouchon, Philippe Le Moal, Dictionnaire de la danse, Larousse, 1999

Le Mystère Babilée

Artistic direction / Conception : Patrick Bensard

Choreography : Jean Babilée

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Lieurac productions, Cinémathèque de la danse, Muzzik, Videogram Paris, La Cinquième. Participation : CNC, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (DMDTS)

Duration : 120'

Our videos suggestions
02:05

Douar [teaser]

Attou, Kader (France)

  • Add to playlist
03:17

Yvette Chauviré

Chauviré, Yvette (France)

  • Add to playlist
01:00:20

Babilée 91

Babilée, Jean (France)

  • Add to playlist
26:02

Ô Sensei

Diverrès, Catherine (France)

  • Add to playlist
26:46

Wu Wei

Bourgeois, Yoann (France)

  • Add to playlist
06:35

Chroniques

Chroniques (France)

  • Add to playlist
56:53

Mille et une danses orientales

Mille et une danses orientales (Tunisia)

  • Add to playlist
58:58

L'Homme qui danse

L'Homme qui danse (France)

  • Add to playlist
05:05

Pas à pas

Neumeier, John (France)

  • Add to playlist
01:43:47

Maguy Marin, le pari de la rencontre

Marin, Maguy (France)

  • Add to playlist
27:33

Demain la veille, spécial Dominique Bagouet

Bagouet, Dominique (France)

  • Add to playlist
01:24:57

Maïa

Plissetskaïa, Maïa (Russian Federation)

  • Add to playlist
03:18

Femmes Bûcherons

Olesen, Dorte (Denmark)

  • Add to playlist
08:02

Mlle Bessy, la force d'un destin

Bessy, Claude (France)

  • Add to playlist
08:47

Sur les pas de Noureev

Noureev, Rudolf (France)

  • Add to playlist
09:35

Mille et une danses orientales

Mille et une danses orientales (Tunisia)

  • Add to playlist
17:30

Le pasodoble de Caroline

Kelemenis, Michel (France)

  • Add to playlist
Our themas suggestions

Western classical dance enters the modernity of the 20th century: The Ballets russes and the Ballets suédois

Parcours

Céline Roux

Western classical dance enters the modernity of the 20th century: The Ballets russes and the Ballets suédois

Parcours

If the 19th century is that of romanticism, the entry into the new century is synonymous of modernity! It was a few decades later that it would be assigned, a posteriori, the name of “neo-classical”. 

Discover
Know more

COLLECTION BAGOUET

Exposition virtuelle

Montpellier Danse

COLLECTION BAGOUET

Exposition virtuelle

Dominique Bagouet a créé plus de 45 pièces en 15 ans. Certaines ont marqué le paysage chorégraphique entre 1980 et 1992, année de sa disparition. Cette collection montre les œuvres les plus emblématiques et s’enrichit au fur et à mesure de films liés à la transmission de son répertoire grâce au travail mené par l’association Les Carnets Bagouet créée par ses interprètes après sa disparition.

Discover
Know more

Improvisation

Parcours

Philippe Guisgand

Improvisation

Parcours

 Discovery of improvisation’s specificities in dance. 

Discover
Know more
By accessing the website, you acknowledge and accept the use of cookies to assist you in your browsing.
You can block these cookies by modifying the security parameters of your browser or by clicking onthis link.
I accept Learn more