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BOLERO - Thierry Malandain

bolero malandainChoreography: Thierry Malandain
Music: Maurice Ravel
Costumes: Jorge Gallardo
Lighting: Jean-Claude Asquié

A work for 12 dancers created as part of a series of works in "Homage to the Ballets Russes".
In an enclosed and restricted space twelve dancers perform almost mechanically as Ravel's orchestral theme is repeated relentlessly. At the liberating finale of the music they escape stumbling into the silence, "imprisoned on the outside".

This Spanish "character ballet" was commissioned at the request of the Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein who was a friend and patron of Ravel. It was first performed by the Rubinstein company at the Paris Opera on 22nd November 1928 with choreography by Bronislava Nijinsky. The action took place in an Andalusian tavern where a gypsy girl, dancing on a table, caused sensuous intoxication among a group of men. I departed from this storyline, which was updated by Maurice Béjart in 1961, in order to focus exclusively on the musical motif which Maurice Ravel uses in an obsessive way until the final climax. The composer made no secret of the musical sexuality of this orchestral crescendo and finale.

"Instead of using this erotic analogy I chose to show the gradual gaining of liberty from imprisonment by challenging the performers and confining them in an enclosed and restricted space. This was a limit which existed in the uniqueness and mechanical repetition of the musical theme which explodes in an intense final moment before the silence falls and the dancers find themselves "imprisoned on the outside".
Thierry Malandain


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