“It all began with a commission to work from a classical vocabulary and using pointe shoes. Having to apply this technique again and accept this very specific form of virtuosity being reintroduced without making any concessions as regards the qualities of movement and presence which I defend was a seemingly impossible challenge for me, notwithstanding the vertical tension inevitably generated by the pointe and daily training associated with using it. I wanted to make reference to ‘historical’ classical dance, the kind featuring white acts and shoes with ‘reinforced tips’ : the pointe as a poetic image more than choreographic equipment enhancing technical possibilities. ‘Giselle’s madness’, a short solo at the end of the first act of the ballet and the only relic of a forgotten tradition of mime, contains all the ghosts and fantasies of romantic ballet as well as the contradictions of an art form torn between rather laughable outdated imagery and the never-ending quest for absolute perfection. Giselle associates the most heightened feelings of human nature with the disembodied mechanics of the bodies. Dominated and rendered insane by her passionate love, she is condemned to becoming this ghostly and seductive female figure haunting 19th century male imagination (and beyond…) just as the subconscious and psychoanalysis are being discovered. An ‘hysteric’ precisely of the kind Charcot is in the process of inventing. The theory of female warriors with a sharp pointe or an ectoplasmic apparition in a hazy cloud of tulle, the Wilis rock on the fragile support of their ‘vertiginous pale satin slippers’*.
At the unlikely meeting point of geometric abstraction and sexual fantasy, they are a wonderful incarnation of this gothic side of romanticism that today’s adolescents would be happy to accept and that will soon shift to a symbolism that is dark in a different way, the kind produced by an Odilon Redon, a Huysmans or a Félicien Rops. This fin-de-siècle aesthetic in search of meaning can also echo some of our contemporary forms of performance tempted by a return to fiction, myths, rites and mystery.” Olivia Grandville. This show is dedicated to Marie-Eve Edelstein who passed away in January 2010.
*Stéphane Mallarmé “Writings on Dance”
It is beautifully danced, funny, rich and inventive ... a real joy. Jean Barak, La Marseillaise