The Beast and the Beauty

Choreography and staging   Kader Belarbi

Music  Ravel, Ligeti, D'Aquin, Haydn

Music Co-ordination   Philippe Hersant

Sets and costumes   Valérie Berman

Light   Marc Parent

Choreographer assistant   Stéphane Elizabé

 

 

THE TRADITIONAL FAIRY TALE

Adults are often unaware of something children already know: that beneath their colorful wonders, fairy stories conceal darker truths.

Beauty and the Beast is one of these, presenting the terror of a simple young girl promised by her father to a monstrous being, half man half animal, in payment for a rose that he stole from the gratin of this fearsome lord.

This strange and disturbing fable symbolizes the changes of adolescence, expressing the awaking of sensuality and the beginnings of desire. Little by little Beauty looks beyond appearances and discovers a Beast so human that she begins to feel for him a compassion that will lead to love.

And the Beast, according to the story, will be transformed in Prince charming.

 

A NEW VERSION

Choreographer Kader Belarbi in a departure from the stories by Madame de Villeneuve (1740) and Madame Leprince de Beaumont (1756), which have given rise to numerous adaptations, has created a variation on the theme that is rich in psychoanalytical insights and social implications.

Reinterpreting the fable as symbolizing the rejection and the acceptance of that which is different, his ballet The Beast and the Beauty inverts the title to shift the emphasis: the Beast is less a man transformed into an animal than a revealer of the animal that lives in all of us. It is the story of a transgression: the Beast will become human, while Beauty will eventually overcome her disgust and her inhibitions to find within herself the way of the heart and the body and to be open to another being.

And yet the traditional happy ending ("the were married and lived happily everafter") is elusive… Is the unlikely, stereotypical, universally pleasing "Prince Charming" just a fantasy?  

 

THE BALLET

Interweaving disguises and metamorphoses, unfolding in illusions that go back to the myths of our collective memory, the images on the stage seem to fit inside of each other and come apart like a nest of dolls. The staging is constructed mirror-fashion, with the beginning and the end of the ballet echoing one another.