Dates Complete – Places still available for the fundraising performance on the 15th of February at 15h00 in favour of people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
A child sits alone under a small, thin Christmas tree. A few decorations that have survived from previous Christmases are hanging sadly from its branches. The child’s mother is dead. Suddenly, like a dream or as if by magic, she is there, next to him, and places a little present at the foot of the tree. The enchanted night begins. The present grows and becomes a miraculous apparition, friends appear, the mother is there, alive, followed by two angels of light and Marius-Mephisto. The entire room dances and the child starts to laugh.
Is it a dream? Reality is what we feel. It is the moment, here and now. Free of anguish, the child sees the pas de deux from the Nutcracker ballet directed by Marius, his teacher, and danced by the prince and princess.
He will be a dancer.
The Béjart Ballet Lausanne has been a reference in the world of choreography. Designated by Maurice Béjart as his successor, Gil Roman has directed the company and preserved its artistic excellence since the master’s death in 2007. From February 13 to 15, the BBL is returning to the Opéra de Lausanne with Maurice Béjart’s Nutcracker.
From the Ballets de l’Étoile in Paris in 1955 to the creation of Béjart Ballet Lausanne in 1987, choreography has made a permanent mark on the world of dance.
Maurice Béjart was born 1 January 1927 in Marseille. He began his career as a dancer in Vichy in 1946, continuing with Janine Charrat, Roland Petit and in particular in London, with the International Ballet. It was while on tour in Sweden with Ballet Cullberg (1949) that he discovered methods of choreographic expression. A contract for a Swedish film brought him face to face for the first time with Stravinsky, but on returning to Paris, he started off with Chopin’s pieces under the auspices of the critic Jean Laurent. The dancer thus doubled as a choreographer. In 1955 with the Ballets de l’Étoile, he goes off the beaten track with Symphonie pour un homme seul. Noticed by Maurice Huisman, the new director of La Monnaie, four years later he accomplished a triumphant Sacre du Printemps. The following year in Brussels, he created the Ballet du XXe Siècle, an international company which he led and which travelled the world, while the list of his creations continued to grow: Boléro, Messe pour le temps présent and L’Oiseau de Feu. In 1987, le Ballet du XXe Siècle moved to the Olympic capital and became the Béjart Ballet Lausanne (BBL). In 1992, Maurice Béjart decided to reduce the size of his company to around thirty dancers to “regain the essence of interpretation” and in the same year founded the École-Atelier Rudra Béjart Lausanne. The BBL’s many creations include the ballets Le Mandarin merveilleux, King Lear – Prospero, À propos de Shéhérazade, Lumière, MutationX, La Route de la soie, Le Manteau, Enfant-Roi, La Lumière des eaux and Le Presbytère n’a rien perdu de son charme, ni le jardin de son éclat. Maurice Béjart was a theatre director (La Reine verte, Casta Diva, Cinq Nô modernes, A-6-Roc), an opera director (Salome, La Traviata and Don Giovanni), and a film director (Bhakti, Paradoxe sur le comédien…), as well as a published author (novel, memoir, diary and play). In 2007, just before he turned 80, he premiered La vie du danseur racontée par Zig et Puce. Maurice Béjart died 22 November 2007 in Lausanne while working on his final piece, Le Tour du monde en 80 minutes.
For almost thirty years, the dancer Gil Roman performed in Maurice Béjart’s most famous ballets before directing premieres himself and succeeding Béjart in his role. Trained by Marika Besobrasova, Rosella Hightower and José Ferran, Gil Roman joined Béjart’s Ballet du XXe Siècle in 1979. In 2007, Maurice Béjart named him as his successor at the head of Béjart Ballet Lausanne.
Since 1995 his career in choreography has been filled with premieres: L’habit ne fait pas le moine, Réflexion sur Béla, Échographie d’une baleine, Casino des Esprits, Aria, Syncope, Là où sont les oiseaux (world premiere performed at the China Shanghai International Arts Festival in 2011) and Anima blues. Since this last piece in 2013, five premieres have joined the repertoire: 3 Danses pour Tony, Kyôdaï, Tombées de la dernière pluie, Impromptu… and t ‘M et variations…, performed 16 December 2016, to inaugurate 2017 which marked the 30th anniversary of BBL and the 10th anniversary of Maurice Béjart’s death.
Gil Roman’s career represents over forty years of uninterrupted dance. His work was awarded in 2005 with the Danza & Danza Award for best dancer for his interpretation of Jacques Brel in the ballet Brel et Barbara, then in 2006 by the prestigious Nijinsky Award from the Monaco Dance Forum. In 2014, La Fondation vaudoise pour la culture gave him the Prix du rayonnement, while in November of the same year during the Asian tour of Ninth Symphony, he received the special prize from the Shanghai Festival of the Arts. In 2015 at the Luzern KKL, he received the Maya Plisetskaya prize at an evening of tribute to the great dancer who had died that year. On Friday 29 May 2015 in Lausanne, His Excellence Mr René Roudaut, the French ambassador to Switzerland, presented him with the National Order of Merit, one of the most prestigious French awards.