Ballets Russes


  • Artistic director : Philippe Saint-Paul
  • Choregraphers : Demetrius Klein, Philippe Saint-Paul
  • Dancers : Full company
  • Light design : Cecily Chow
  • Music : Debussy / Stravinsky

This tribute to Ballet russes is composed of three pieces: Faun, Jeux and Le Sacrifice.

[Afternoon of a] Faun is a contemporary version of the Ballet of Nijinsky. The style of the ballet, in which a young faun meets several nymphs, flirts with them and chases them, was deliberately archaic. In the original scenography designed by Léon Bakst, the dancers were presented as part of a large tableau, a staging reminiscent of an ancient Greek vase painting. They often moved across the stage in profile as if on a bas relief. The ballet was presented in bare feet and rejected classical formalism. The work had an overtly erotic subtext beneath its façade of Greek antiquity, ending with a scene of graphic sexual desire. This piece is presented as a solo.

Jeux is also a contemporary version of the Ballet Russes choreographed by Nijinsky. Judging from Nijinsky’s diary: «The scene is a garden at dusk; a tennis ball has been lost; a boy and two girls are searching for it. The artificial light of the large electric lamps shedding fantastic rays about them suggests the idea of childish games: they play hide and seek, they try to catch one another, they quarrel, they sulk without cause. The night is warm, the sky is bathed in pale light; they embrace. But the spell is broken by another tennis ball thrown in mischievously by an unknown hand. Surprised and alarmed, the boy and girls disappear into the nocturnal depths of the garden.»

Le Sacrifice is a contemporary version of the Rite of Spring. Tackled by numerous companies and choreographers, this piece of music over the years has switched from being avant-garde and scandalous to being a classic. As such, it is hard to find again the feeling of the creation. This version  uses more of the Tanz-Theatre vocabulary, hence creating a contrast in the different expressions.