1986 - Director : Picq, Charles
Video producer : Maison de la Danse de Lyon
Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon
Two star dancers at the height of their careers. An exemplary artistic journey among the most intelligent in the history of the Paris Opera: from Perrot to Andy de Groat via Bournonville, Petitpa, Balanchine and Cunningham. Wifride Piollet and Jean Guizerix, passionate about today's dance without ignorance of the past or closure to the future, lead a triple career: performers of the great ballets of the repertoire, dancers of choice for contemporary creators, choreographers. Accompanied by their accomplice and friend Georges Pludermacher, internationally renowned pianist, they inaugurate in Lyon a program retracing the very history of choreography and paying homage to those they love.
Source: Program of the Maison de la Danse de Lyon - 1986-87
An American dancer and choreographer of Russian origin.
Born in Saint Petersburg, the son of a Georgian composer, Balanchine joined the Mariinski Dance School by chance and graduated in 1921. In 1924, whilst on a tour with the Soviet State Dancers in Germany, he left his country and joined Diaghilev's Russian Ballet troupe as a dancer. Promoted to ballet master in 1925, he asserted his vocation as a choreographer and began a close partnership with Igor Stravinsky. When Diaghilev died in 1929, he worked sporadically in London (for the music hall), Copenhagen and Paris. He collaborated with the Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo (1931-1932), then, after meeting Edward James, the Anglo-American millionaire and surrealist arts patron, he founded the Ballets in 1933, with whom he performed several times in Paris and London. He went on to accept a proposal from L. Kirstein, to create a classical school in the United States and established himself in New York in August 1933 and became an American citizen in 1939. After creating the School of American Ballet (1934), he became director of the American Ballet. He was invited to create works for the Original Russian Ballet (1941), the American Ballet Caravan (1941), the Russian Ballet of Monte Carlo and the Paris Opera. From 1935 to 1951, he also choreographed for Broadway stages (“On Your Toes” in 1936; “Babes in Arms” in 1937; “Cabin in the Sky” in 1940; “Where's Charley?” in 1948) and for several Hollywood films with V. Zorina. But it was in particular as the director of the Ballet Society of the NYCB, from 1948 onwards, that he enjoyed a fertile and prestigious career.
Balanchine prioritized the danced element. Very early on, he deliberately distanced himself from dramatic narration and, although he created a few theme-based ballets (“Apollon Musagète” in 1927; “The Prodigal Son” in 1929; “La Sonnambula” in 1946; “Orpheus” in 1948 and “Nutcracker” in 1954), he did so by eliminating all pantomime and sought to recount the story clearly and exclusively through the expression of dance. He also arranged “ambience ballets”, which were, as such, without intrigue, but maintained the situations and/or the characters that the partition suggested (“Cotillon” in 1932; “Serenade” in 1934; “la Valse” in 1951; “Liebeslieder Walzer” in 1960 and “Tzigane” in 1975).
The music and how it was interpreted were the cornerstones of his work. For him “ballet is first and foremost a matter of tempo and space: space delimited by the stage and by time initiated by the music”. His most specific productions were theme-free ballets whose construction and form emanated from the musical source. Without illustrating, he allows a partition, that has been composed or not for dance, to be visualized, by building on the rhythmic structure, the melody and the harmonic development of the work selected: “Watch the music, listen to the dance” he advised. Although he had a preference for classical works, he also used a more modern registry and occasionally a popular or jazz one. Notwithstanding, his favourite composers were Tchaikovsky and in particular Stravinsky, with whom he created over thirty ballets.
Privileging scenographic denudation so that the regard could focus on the choreography, he generally opted for a bare stage and costumes that emphasized silhouettes, regularly imposing simple tunics and leotards.
Esteeming Petipa as his spiritual father, he was in keeping with the classical tradition and referred to academic steps so that he could in fact go beyond them. He developed a style that was characterized by an external appearance that was carried to the extreme, dynamic, precise and vigorous movements, haunched positions, complex combinations of steps that could even veer to the acrobatic, swiftness in performing that was in accordance with the tempi of the musical works that inspired him. He advocated formal beauty that tended towards pureness, technical virtuosity transcended by the performers' mastery and he gave preeminence to the dancer. He worked with a myriad of “muses”, ballerinas with long, slender legs and discreet silhouettes, that he often led to make their debut at a very young age.
Acclaimed as one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, he contributed to the “Americanization” of ballet and played a key role in the development of musicals, where he introduced classical dance and, paradoxically, the principles of narrative ballet.
Source : Larousse Dance Dictionary online
More information : balanchine.com
Born in Paris on October 27, 1945, Jean Guizerix began dancing late at the age of seventeen. He continued to practice dance in an amateur fashion and at the same time pursued higher studies at the Sorbonne. Having to make a choice between study and dance, he chose the latter out of passion and presented himself to the conservatory where he was refused. He then appeared at an audition at the Paris Opera in 1964. Two years later he was quadrille, then coryphée the following year. Appointed subject in 1968, he was already entrusted with solo roles, notably in Turangalila (R. Petit) in 1969 and Arcades (A.Labis). In 1971, he was named Principal Dancer and a year later was named Danseur étoile.
Apart from his work as a dancer at the Opera, Jean Guizerix is also a choreographer. He created his first solo O Tod, in 1969 for his wife Wilfride Piollet. In 1986, with his wife, he created a dance company with a large repertoire including choreographers from various influences. He left the Opera in 1990, and for the occasion had carte blanche for the organization of this evening.
From 1990 to 1998, he was a professor at the CNSMDP then he became ballet master at the Paris Opera from 1998 to 2000. He was then appointed advisor for dance to the Ministry of National Education until 2002. In 2003, he is for a few months acting artistic director of the Ballets du Nord. Since 1997, he has been a teacher at the National Circus Arts Center. He gave lessons with his wife Wilfride for their association "Clef de sol".
He is also the author of several books, he wrote in particular Parallèle in 1986, le Moulin de Jerry, Sens et Tonka edition, published in 2003 and Libretto de Giselle by Théophile Gautier at L'une et l'autre editions in 2012.
Wilfride Piollet trained at the Paris Opera Ballet school and was given her first solo role by Maurice Béjart in “Noces” in 1965. She was made principal dancer in 1969.
Both at the Paris Opera and all over the world, she performed the great roles of classical and neoclassical repertoire. Jean Guizerix became her partner for dance and for life, and they performed the contemporary choreographies of Merce Cunningham, Lucinda Childs, Douglas Dunn, Andy de Groat, Félix Blaska, Dominique Bagouët and Daniel Larrieu, to name but a few. Piollet also danced the neoclassical works of George Balanchine, Serge Lifar, Roland Petit and Jerome Robbins, and threw herself into Belle Danse (historical dance) under the direction of Francine Lancelot. Since 1977 Piollet has choreographed her own works, which include “Le Prince de Bois”, “Huit danses hongroises”, “Renard”, “Lettera Amorosa”, “Dam'Oisel”, “Momerie”, “Ballet Figuré”, “Penthésilée” and “La Conjuration” among others. In 2003, the year in which she finished her performing career, she and Madeleine Lytton began working on the repertoire of Isadora Duncan. When Nadège Tardieu published her thesis on her method “Les Barres flexibles”, Piollet began working on a study of the image of gestures in dance (Les trois temps du corps), then with Francette Levieux (Giselle) and alongside Frédérique Liébaut on “Le corps-partition”, performed in Avignon in 2006.
Piollet choreographed new versions of the great repertoire ballets such as Coppélia, and continued to create new works in smaller form, such as “Le petit Atelier” and “Romance”. In 2005, she and Jean Guizerix choreographed “L'Amour médecin” and “Le Sicilien” for the Comédie-Française (French National Theatre), and “Anonymes” for the École nationale des Arts du cirque (ENAC – National Circus Arts School) in Rosny-sous-Bois (Seine Saint-Denis, near Paris).
From 1989 until June 2008, she taught at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP). In 1999, she published two works on the subject of her teaching: “Rendez-vous sur tes barres flexibles” and “Barres flexibles” (published by L'Oiseau de Feu).
In 1999, on the website lesbarresflexibles.net, Piollet made the series “Les gestes de Lilou” available online. It is aimed at dance teachers, primary school teachers, parents and educators who wish to teach their pupils or children some basic notions of dance.
In February 2009, Piollet took part in a performance in which both dancers and audience moved around the Chartreuse de Villeneuve lez Avignon - “La folie d'Igitur” – a work inspired by the work of French poet Stéphane Mallarmé and directed by Andy de Groat. Piollet also performed a tango with Jean Guizerix, reinterpreted by Andy de Groat and Martin Barré.
She passed away January 20, 2015.
Digital resource - Médiathèque du Centre national de la danse
Updating: January 2018
Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) 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.
- He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.
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 de Lyon
Choreography : George Balanchine
Interpretation : Jean Guizerix, Wilfried Piollet
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse de Lyon - Charles Picq, 1986
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