Works from two of France’s most celebrated choreographers – Benjamin Millepied and Jean-Christophe Maillot – come together at the Staatsballet in February and March as the double bill Maillot/Millepied is presented for the first time in Berlin.
Benjamin Millepied is known famously as the choreographer for the Hollywood film Black Swan and has held the position of the Aristic Director of the Paris Opera Ballet until recently. His counterpart in this joint venture is Jean-Christophe Maillot, The longtime director of Monaco’s the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Together they bring their expertise and passion for the traditions of French ballet to a contemporary setting in a unique and mesmerising way.
The first performance is Millepied’s “Daphnis et Chloé” set to the magnificent ‘symphonie chorégraphique’ of Maurice Ravel’s work of the same name. First performed in Paris in 2013, this will be its German premiere. “Daphnis et Chloé” is a love story, from their first discovery of love through to all the best elements of Greek tragedies. The two face seductions, trickery, kidnappings and acts of the gods, yet navigate their way through the challenges with the stunning femininity and fluidity of Millepied’s choreography. You will have to go and see it to know if there’s a happy ending or not.
The work itself stands alone with the talents of Arshak Ghalumyan as Daphnis and Elisa Carrillo Cabrera As Chloé, along with Soloists and Corps de Ballet of the Staatsballett Berlin. However the ancient story is set amidst an intense contemporary aesthetic as French artist Daniel Buren’s geometric color scheme adds to the tension and vibrancy of the piece.
Maillot’s work “Altro Canto” contrasts against the bright and hopeful themes of Millepied’s with an intensity grounded in its Baroque score, which features compositions by Claudio Monteverdi, Biagio Marini and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger. The empty stage is illuminated with more than a hundred gently flickering candles, themselves manifesting the interplay of emotion and motion. Light becomes darkness fleetingly and bodies are fluid then become as still as statues for a moment. The piece moves from one emotion to another, all the while contrasting light and shade against each other and creating new perspectives on the possibilities of movement. Underlying the piece is the fundamental duality of genders, expertly rendered into being through costumes designed by German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The men are in skirts, women in pants and the space in between is elegantly presented as the dancers move effortlessly through the intense energy of the piece.
Maillot/Millepied will be performed on various nights through February and March at Deutsche Oper on Bismarckstrasse 35 in Charlottenburg. See here for performance dates and times. Performances are 120 minutes long including intermission. We have two tickets to giveaway to the performance on Tuesday 14th March – see our Facebook page for details!