Grands Ballets Canadiens
Rodin Claudel ballet in Montreal
" Rodin / Claudel " , presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, is running from the 13th to the 22nd of March 2014 at Théâtre Maisonneuve of La Place des Arts in Montreal.
“I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.”
Rodin / Claudel is possibly one of the most sensual choreographies in the repertoire of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Commissioned and premiered in September 2011, the widely acclaimed production was created by award winning Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz.
Returning to Montreal in 2014 at Théâtre Maisonneuve of La Place des Arts from the 13th to the 22nd of March, this narrative ballet recounts the sweltering romance of French sculptors Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, from the tender beginning of their shared creative passion, to Claudel’s gradual downfall into poverty and madness.
A 43 year old Auguste Rodin first meets the young 19 year old Camille Claudel in her studio in Paris in 1883. At the time, women were not admitted to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, but Claudel persevered and perfected her art alongside Rodin. Their close proximity blossomed into a torrid love affair that would span several years (all the while being poisoned by the presence of Rodin’s long time mistress). Affected terribly by the inconsolable disappointment of love, a devastating abortion and the difficulties that would arise in her artistic career, Camille eventually slumped into mental distress and was institutionalized until her death thirty years later.
A very tactile ballet, from the first scene the audience are invited to fully immerse themselves into the aesthetic and somewhat turbulent world of art. To create this fascinating performance, Quantz channels the evocative powers of visuals. Amid the setting of Claudel’s softly lit art studio, he chooses the human body as the main medium through which the dancers express a full range of human emotions through researched movement and poses. A twelve-member-ensemble of six men and six women dance - pose as "living statues”: silent witnesses of this tragic love story.
Their nude colored bodies entwine and constantly shift from one statuesque form of great aesthetic beauty to the next. These “sculptures” fully embody the shapes, emotions and creativity that emanate from the minds of the two artists and the psychological toll that it exerted from their union.
The two leads brought a powerful energy and strong chemistry to the stage. Dancing to a montage of moving music from Hector Berlioz, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Erik Satie,( the whole performed by the Grands Ballets Canadiens Orchestra under the subtle direction of musical advisor Allan Lewis), we follow the two protagonists’ journey as they explore their physical attraction and budding romance between them. Both leads alternatively danced out their respective desires and passions, but it was really Claudel’s post-abortion, turbulent, disillusioned, crazed dance decked out in a blazing red dress that really pulled at my heart strings and left the audience in awe.
Fascinating from every aspect, " Rodin / Claudel " remains a magnificent piece that explores the tormented realm of love and art, beautifully danced by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal.
On a side note,
While you attend one of the presentations of Rodin/Claudel, be sure to visit the first floor lobby of Théâtre Maisonneuve, where paintings by artist Louise Lemieux Bérubé, inspired by Les Grands Ballet’s production, are on exhibit!
" Rodin / Claudel " , presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens is running from the 13th to the 22nd of March 2014 at Théâtre Maisonneuve of La Place des Arts in Montreal.
For more information please visit : http://www.grandsballets.com/en/performance/rodinclaudel/