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LE PARC: ANGELIN PRELJOCAJ'S INSTANT CLASSIC

 

By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 23 November 2005—Since its creation for the Paris Opéra Ballet in April 1994, Angelin Preljocaj' work, Le Parc has become a classic of the company's repertoire. Inspired by seventeenth and eighteenth century French art and literature in a search for "the art of loving", the choreographer has constructed a three-act drama of amorous intrigues. It starts with a game of musical chairs, where couples meet, flirt, invite, desire, seduce, resist, and, surrender? Guided by some of Mozart's most beautiful adagios*, this elegant and refined ballet culminates in one of the most passionate and moving pas de deux in neo-classical dance.

As its title would suggest, the action takes place in a park. It's fashioned in metal while the trees are crates, and all the pathways, maze and bushes are equally stylised. Four gardeners in black sunglasses, love is blind, are present from the beginning and reappear sporadically. The eighteenth century costumes, and particularly the crinolines worn by the ladies in the garden are stunning.


Angelin Preljocaj: Le Parc
Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
© Photo: Sébastien Mathé

Interpreted at its creation in 1994 by the aristocratic Laurent Hilaire partnered by Isabelle Guérin, unforgettable in the role, subsequent restagings have seen Guérin partnered by Yann Bridard, and now, for its fifth showing, Bridard dancing with Laetitia Pujol. Every performance has been superb, and each pair of lovers has given a different interpretation.  


Angelin Preljocaj: Le Parc
Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
© Photo: Sébastien Mathé

For her first appearance in the central role, Laetitia Pujol brought a deep sensuality mingled with innocence to the ballet. The final pas de deux was heart-stopping; it almost seemed as if the ballet had been leading up to these incredible moments when time itself stood still. The lovers were as one, as, her arms around her partner's neck, limbs stretched horizontally out behind her, Pujol, fluid and weightless as in a dream, swirled round and around in total, ecstatic abandon. Bridard, a tall, distinguished artist with a seductive Don Juan allure, already remarkable with Isabelle Guérin, has made this role his own.


Angelin Preljocaj: Le Parc
Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
© Photo: Sébastien Mathé

It was a rare moment in dance, and the interpretation of all the company a tribute to Angelin Preljocaj. Le Parc " is the finest work he has given to the French company. 

 

* Allegro du Divertimento en B Flat Major K. 137 (1772)

Adagio from the Serenade "Haffner" in D Major K. 250 (1776)

Adagio from the Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major K.488 (1786)

** Le Parc - Bel Air classics has released a DVD of Denis Caiozzi's film with Laurent Hilaire and Isabelle Guérin, which won the Grand Prix International Video Danse in 1999.

The ballet also received a Benois de la danse. 

 

Patricia Boccadoro is the dance editor of Culturekiosque.com



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