EXCERPT // Mixed Bill – Maurice Béjart & Gil Roman (Béjart Ballet Lausanne)

The programme was well-received by the festival audience, that was likely also attending other events such as circus acts and Japanese drumming spectacles. Although this kind of festival context wouldn’t allow for a critical framing of Béjart’s works, from a dance-goers perspective the failure to openly address more dated and (to an extent) discredited elements — for example, camp, melodrama, gestures pregnant with ‘meaning’, and armchair anthropology — detracted from more positive aspects […] On the contrary, rather than marketing Béjart as a “ballet sorcerer” and “genius,” as was the case in Cologne, it might be more appropriate to celebrate him (and his contemporaries, such as Roland Petit and George Balanchine) for having opened up the ballet stage to unfamiliar choreographic and thematic content. In Béjart’s case, this included pop culture, fashion, sexuality, spirituality, grotesque etc. With the exception of a few key Béjart works, this may not be the most innovative choreography the ballet world has to offer now, but it certainly represents a rupture of sorts in a culture of classical ballet that was once dominated by quaint narrative works and sparse, abstract choreography.

– LUKE AARON FORBES

Excerpt of an article published by Dance Europe, Issue 199, October 2015. Purchase the entire issue here: http://www.danceeurope.net/store/issue-199

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