And this is only the beginning
As part of the 46th edition, the Prix de Lausanne honored the work of the French choreographer Monaco resident Jean-Christophe Maillot with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his creativity and continuous dedication to the world of dance. Prize Winner himself as a young dancer in 1977, he was later joined by other dancers from the Ballets of Monte-Carlo who were awarded the coveted prize, like Bernice Coppieters, Asier Uriagereka, Jeroen Verbruggen, Le Wang and Michael Grunecker. Created in 1973, the Lausanne Prize is awarded to dancers aged between 14 and 19 and is supported by a total of 70 academies of dance, including the Ballets of Monte-Carlo and the Princess Grace Academy.
Maillot was several times member of the Prix de Laussane’s jury (1986, 1988, 1989 & 1992), as well as Jury President (1994, 1997, 2000, 2012), Maillot has been Choreographer-Director of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo since 1993. He received the second Prix de Lausanne Life Time Achievement Award, with the first one granted to John Neumeier in 2017.
For someone who always directs the spotlight on his dancers who are the protagonists of his ballet masterpieces, it is time the focus is on him! And this is only the beginning…
Inviting the audience to join the stage emotionally and physically
In receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award Jean-Christophe Maillot said: “The Prix de Lausanne is unique. This is the only ballet competition I agree to participate in as a jury member because, more importantly than the dancers performance, it is the attention paid to their future career that makes it so exceptional. It also became the quality barometer of education in the world. This competition continues to reflect the extraordinary artistic and human qualities of its founders Elvire and Philippe Braunschweig, and Rosella Hightower: three very important figures in my career.” (Photo insert: Jean-Christophe Maillot ©Alice Blangero)
Maillot was a very talented dancer who affirmed he turned choreographer “for the pleasure of sharing a unique human experience with other people.” I would add that it is not only the relationship with his dancers but the public in general, as he is always building bridges and he literally lures the audience onto the stage, emotionally and at times physically. Last summer Maillot invited the public to dance on the Casino Square in Monaco during his extravaganza F(E)AITES de la DANSE. Maillot’s idea was to create a special atmosphere for people to share and express the happiness of moving to the rhythm of diverse types of dancing in the open air, transforming the legendary square into an immense outdoor dance floor! There were four areas throughout the square and the terraces of the Casino, including the Salle Garnier where the seats were removed to transform it into a one-time nightclub for the first time in the history of this prestigious venue.
During the Imprevus at the Studio of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Maillot gives the chance to ballet lovers to get closer to him and his dancers, hear their hearts pump, and see their sweat running through their bodies. His objective is for the audience to become part of the dance creation.
In his creation of The Taming of the Shrew (for the Bolshoi and the Ballets of Monte-Carlo), for example, Maillot succeeded in producing an exhilarating and at times whimsical but violent and very sensual dance like we have never seen before on stage, with that touch of vagary that is his hallmark. Jean-Christophe Maillot makes it a point to focus on what really matters in a romantic relationship by deconstructing love in all its forms, daring to question social conventions, while constantly pushing his dancers to make a quantum leap outside the box, both physically and emotionally. His constant message to dancers is: “Do not be afraid!”
In spite of all his many accomplishments, Jean-Christophe Maillot remains a really humble human being, always in a revamping mood searching for perfection, who does not cease to surprise us with his ballet creations for the Ballets of Monte-Carlo (when he is not reimagining them for the Bolshoi Ballet), that are enjoyed immensely by the local audience, but most importantly are sent for export, travelling the world as cultural ambassadors of the Principality.
“You have to believe in what you are saying. Maybe they will like it or ot but they cannot contest that what you are saying is true.” Jean-Christophe Maillot