Ballet Du Grand Théâtre De Genève, Switzerland, 2018

Tour Dates: 2nd September - 24th September, 2018

The history of ballet in Geneva dates back to the 1800’s where dancers performed with the Theatre Neuves, located on the site of the present-day Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Tour Dates
  • 2nd September - 24th September, 2018

 

About the Grand Théâtre de Genève

The history of ballet in Geneva dates back to the 1800’s where dancers performed with the Theatre Neuves, located on the site of the present-day Grand Théâtre de Genève. In the early 1900’s, music educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, and conductor Ernest Ansermet introduced Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to the Geneva public. The Grand Théâtre’s own corps de ballet primarily danced in ballet scenes within operas up until the 1940’s. In 1951, a fire destroyed the Grand Théâtre. During its reconstruction, the Grand Casino hosted the Paris Opera as well as Maurice Béjart’s Ballet of the 20th Century. This period was to become a turning point; a bigger vision emerged, one that embraced the plurality of 20th century dance.

To honour the re-opening of the Grand Théâtre in 1962, Janine Charrat, the great French dancer, became the first Artistic Director of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre. Serge Golovine followed Charrat as Artistic Director from 1964 to 1969. Alongside his work as choreographer and dancer, Golovine was a prolific teacher. In 1969, George Balanchine, one of the great choreographers of the 20th century, became Artistic Advisor. He transformed the Geneva Balletinto a European ambassador for his New York City Ballet and appointed Alfonso Cata as Director. Cata produced Balanchine’s greatest choreographies and invited works by choreographers Antony Tudor and Todd Bolender, further strengthening the public appeal of the Ballet.  In 1973, Patricia Neary, soloist with the New York City Ballet, took the reins of Director. With her departure in 1978, the Balanchine era ended. Peter van Dyk, principal dancer at the Paris Opera, directed the Ballet until 1980. Oscar Araiz, the great Argentinean choreographer, became Director in 1980. Araiz brought as expressionist style to the Company. During his eight-year tenure, the Ballet premiered more than 30 works, including Tango, Scènes de Familles and Cantares. In 1989, GradimirPankov, former Director of the National Ballet of Finland and of the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm, became Director. He was the Company’s first director who was not a choreographer, and this opened a new chapter in its history. A new repertoire of works came to Geneva, composed by choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Rudi Van Dantzig, Mats Ek and OhadNaharin. In 1996, François Passard and Giorgio Mancini, entrusted with the direction of the Company, continued the policy of inviting guest choreographers to Geneva.

In 2003, Philippe Cohen became Ballet Director. Since his appointment, Ken Ossola, AndonisFoniadakis, JoëlleBouvier, Michael Kelemenis, SidiLarbiCherkaoui, Emanuel Gat, Pontus Lidbergand Benjamin Millepied are some of the artists granted carte blanche. He has also enriched the repertoire with works by renowned choreographers Carolyn Carlson, Lucinda Childs and Dominique Bagouet.

Today the Geneva Ballet is composed of 22 classically trained dancers from around the world. Each season features two new productions, repertoire performances at home or on tour, school productions and educational workshops. With international tours to the USA, Australia, South America, all over Europe,South Africa,and now Asia, the Geneva Ballet continues to share its passion for the art of dance.

Ballet Director: Philippe Cohen

Born in Morocco in 1953, Philippe Cohen began his dance training in 1971 at Le Centre de DanseInternational Rosella Hightower. This gave him the opportunity to work with Anton Dolin, Nora Kiss, Tatiana Grantzeva,IgorYouskevitch, Sonia Arova and John Gilpin. He joined Le Ballet de Nancy directed by Gigi Caciuleanu and performed in all of the company's creations, including several by Dominique Bagouet. This experience was invaluable. Philippe followed the choreographer until 1982, when he accompanied Bagouet as an artist, professor and assistant notably in the production of Les Voyageurs performed by L`Opéra de Paris. It was here that Philippe explored different contemporary dance techniques including Peter Goss, Susan Buirge and AlwinNikolais.After being recognized French Ministry of Culture for his work, Philippe left for the UnitedStates to follow the teachings of MerceCunningham and the School of AmericanBallet.

In 1983, Rosella Hightower invited him to become the Ballet Master for Le Jeune Ballet
de France, where he was responsible for the company's classicalrepertoire, including La Sylphide, Napoli, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle, andchoreographed works by Maurice Béjart, John Neumier, Serge Lifar and George Balanchine.He also oversaw contemporary works byCarolyn Carlson,Daniel Larrieu, Claude Brumachon, Joelle Bouvier and RégisObadia, LarrioEkson, RégineChopinotand  PhilippeDecouflé.

From 1988 to 1990, Philippe was the study coordinator for Le Centre National de Danse
Contemporaine in Angers, and worked with Michelle Anne de Mey, HervéRobbe, WimVandekeybus and Trisha Brown. Philippe was named director of chorographical studies for Le Conservatoire National Supérieurde Musiqueet de Danse de Lyon in 1990, a position he occupied until 2003. There, he developed an international political exchange which was conducted in Vietnam, Cambodia, China, South Korea, Honk Kong, Thailand, Belarus, Germany,England, Georgia and Canada. Since 2003, Philippe has directed Le Ballet du Grand Theâtre de Genève. He was distinguished by the French Ministry of Culture and awardedits Arts and Letters Officers Medal. The Vietnam government also honored him for servicerendered in the development of Vietnamese culture.

Roméo et Juliette
Gentleness and fury

Romeo and Juliet, a story of love stifled by hate. A family devastated by the violence of two enemy clans, ruthless rivals with no other reason for their bloody feud than that they belonged to two distinct families. How many wars in the world today reflect the tragedy of Shakespeare?

This is why I chose not to situate my story in a precise time. For the scenery and costumes, we will remain timeless, because this story takes place, has taken place and has yet to take place everywhere. I do not wish to follow the argument of Shakespeare's play to the smallest detail, but to concentrate on the essential canvas of the lovers story in Verona and the fundamental situations - four distinct characters are enough to set the scene, while the whole company gives its collective dimension to this tragic family story.

Our creation originates from several different encounters. Firstly, the encounter with the intensely beautiful music from Prokofiev and this wonderful new experience of working with an orchestra. Also, importantly, the encounter with the dancers from Le Ballet de Genève. Together, we unite our bodies into the gentleness and fury of this music, we let ourselves be inspired by the rhythm, it’s poetic nature to compose body movements, lifts, motions and fractures. All describe the passionate adventure of two lovers.

At the moment of writing this text, we are still in full creation, we are searching, we are building, we are doubting, we are advancing towards the encounter with this ballet, which I hope will seduce and move you as if it were the first time.

by Joëlle Bouvier

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