An ode to Paris through ballet
Jacques Prévert immortalized his love for Paris in the poem Paris At Night, in which he strikes three matches to see his lover’s face. On 13 January, the National Centre for the Performing Arts will host a ballet show titled Paris Ballet—Legends. There will be eight performances, all duets, which will pay tribute to the city, and the writers and artists inspired by it.
“The tribute to Paris is in the form of the choreographers or the composers who considered Paris their muse,” says Frederic Fontan, the artistic director of Paris Ballet—Legends. “ For example, you have the Children Of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) by Jacques Prevert, which is set in the Parisian theatre scene of the 1820s. Or works by Marius Petipa, a French dancer and choreographer, who did a lot of creations to which we are still dancing to.”
Singer Edith Piaf and composer Georges Bizet are other artists to whom the show pays its respects.
It was in the court of the 17th century French king Louis XIV, a ballet dancer himself, that the form and etiquette of ballet dancing flourished.
On Saturday, there will be performances by dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet, like Agnes Letestu and Muriel Zusperreguy, along with Alessandro Riga and Lucie Barthelemy of the National Dance Company, Madrid.
Children Of Paradise, adapted from the film directed by Marcel Carné, is the story of a courtesan called Garance and the four men—an actor, an aristocrat, a criminal and a mime artist—who are in love with her. La Sylphide by ballet master Marius Petipa is another love story, this time, between a spirit and a Celtic prince. Petipa’s La Bayadere, meaning temple dancer, is set in India and is the story of the temple dancer Nikiya and a warrior named Solor. Their love is thwarted by the machinations of a high priest, who is also in love with Nikiya, and the king of Golconda, who wants to marry his daughter to Solor. Both lovers perish in the end but reunite after death.
“It’s about Paris, so all of them are about love and they shift from being dramatic to sensual to tragic,” says Fontan. “You have different aspects, registers and moods of love.”
Paris Ballet—Legends will be performed on 13 January, 7pm, at NCPA, Nariman Point. Tickets, Rs640, Rs1,280, Rs1,920 and Rs2,560, available on Bookmyshow.com.