With its history of over 300 years, the world-renowned Paris Opera Ballet is often considered the birthplace of classical dance. Even today, the company continues to pursue excellence as it performs repertory work and creation of new choreographies. While it’s rare for the company to travel to Asia, this June, Singaporeans will get a chance to see the company in action as they tour to the Esplanade Theatre and present the works of three renowned choreographers in one programme.
The ballet will present William Forsythe’s Blake Works I, a 2016 work that elevated ballet into completely radical, contemporary terrain. A love letter to ballet, the performance is set to seven songs by the English musician James Blake. The contemporary ballads over electronic keyboard and syncopated percussion is poetic, joyous and hopeful, and celebrates the youth, talent and collective knowledge of a new generation of Paris Opera dancers.
Also being presented is Jerome Robbins’ In The Night, where three elegant duets are choreographed to different nocturnes by Chopin. Having been premiered by the New York City Ballet in 1970 and included in Paris Opera Ballet’s repertory since 1989, in each duet, we see vastly contrasting sets of lovers, from innocent to impetuous, who meet beneath a midnight sky, before the finale brings all six dancers together to conclude this complex portrait of love’s twists and turns.
Finally, the Ballet will also present Crystal Pite’s The Seasons’ Canon. Created in 2016 for the Paris Opera Ballet, this large ensemble work features 54 dancers performing to the avant-garde update of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, recomposed by Max Richter, a score that the Canadian choreographer had long ago fallen in love with. Drawing inspiration from the meticulous observation of natural phenomena, Pite imagined a series of succeeding, interlinking tableaux with highly structured formations more intricate than the next as the men and women soar in unison in pulsing, breathing masses.
“I am curious to see each time how choreography can represent both “micro” and “macro”. Will I be able to portray an amoeba, or the image of cattle with 54 dancers? Through the human body, I try to make this music visible,” says Crystal Pite. “I use choreography—the art of creating something— to confront the act of creation itself. When I create a choreography, I face the act of building up, shaping, clashing, mounting, composing, assembling, digging; I connect to the making and observing, which deeply link me to the natural world, to its brutality and its beauty. This work is a gesture, an offering. It is at the same time my way of facing the immensity and the complexity of the natural world, as well as my expression of gratitude to it.”
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch the Paris Opera Ballet in action, playing for just one weekend this June at the Esplanade Theatre, discover true beauty in ballet, and the extents of creativity to which this glorious art form can go.
Paris Opera Ballet plays from 21st to 23rd June 2019 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets available here