The Ballets de Monte-Carlo performed two modern masterpieces by dancers turned choreographers

The art of contemporary dance in two acts 

The Lavender Follies – Souvenirs of cabarets

The evening’s double program on Thursday, July 26, 2018, at the Salle Garnier, marked the premiere of The Lavender Follies by American choreographer Joseph Hernandez, who had been a dancer with the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, created this piece especially for the company.

In The Lavender Follies, Hernandez uses theater as a playing field, where the choreographer displays his souvenirs of musicals he would watch growing up, in a blend of dance and cabaret performance. He uses the past to create a contemporary piece. The thrilling spectacle takes place under the scrutinizing eyes of journalist Sylvia von Harden, who is incarnated by male dancer Asier Edeso, appearing on stage like the living portrait made of her by Otto Dix.

In the famous painting, Otto Dix portrayed the new woman emerging in Germany in the 1920’s. A woman who left behind all previous conventions, as this new uninhibited woman smoked, drank, was career oriented, and did not specially cared about bringing up a family, she appears almost mannish, with a slumped posture not trying to be beautiful.

Dix demonstrates societal shifts happening at that time.  It became as the picture of the new Germany in the post world war one era.

Incredible characters parade, through different scenes, in front of the journalist’s eyes and the audience, in a weird fascinating but rather incomprehensible spectacle, that pleased some and inconvenienced others in the audience.

Choreography: Joseph Hernandez
Scenography and Costumes : Yannick Cosso & Jordan Pallages
Music : Johannes Till
Lighting: Samuel Thery
Creation for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
Premiered July 26, 2018, Salle Garnier de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo
Production Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

White Darkness by Nacho Duato – An untimely death

White Darkness choreographed and staged by Juan Ignacio Duato Barcia, aka Nacho Duato, a Spanish modern ballet dancer and choreographer born in Valencia in 1957, world premiered in Madrid in 2001.

Nacho Duato composed the one-act ballet, White Darkness, as a eulogy for the untimely loss of a sister that resulted in a tour de force in modern art.  The audience was really moved to the chore by the protagonist, who seeking to run away from sentimental suffering, chooses to bury her pain in drugs, bringing her additional unwanted anxiety, followed by deep sorrow, estrangement and total solitude. The choreographer’s shows the torment of someone addicted to drugs, and their efforts to stop using them. It is not because they lack moral principles or willpower because addiction is a chronic disease where drug seeking becomes compulsive and difficult to control, despite the terrible consequences. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard and interferes with their ability to resist, with relapse a continuous struggle.

In the case of Duato’s sister it became a lost battle, as in the end of this passionate and dramatic ballet, a lonely woman sinks under a continuous stream of powder, a powerful metaphor of desperation and helplessness symbolizing drug addiction.

Nacho Duato was quoted saying: “I am deeply struck by how sad it is when young people allow drugs to ruin their lives and slip into a dark world, a world so dark, in fact that there is no escape from it.”

Choreography: Nacho Duato
Music: Karl Jenkins (Adiemus Variations, String Quartet nº 2)
Scenography: Jaffar Chalabi
Costumes: Nacho Duato
Lighting: Joop Caboort
Staging: Thomas Klein
Organization and Production: Carlos Iturrioz-Mediart Producciones SL (Spain). Costumes and Scenography production: Opéra National de Paris

World premiered by Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, November 16, 2001. Premiered by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo on July 26, 2018, Salle Garnier Opéra de Monte-Carlo, July 16-29, 2018

Monaco Info video on the two ballets

Today’s Quote

“Dance is the timeless interpretation of life.” Shah Asad Rizvi

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