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Bach Suite II

Circle of Friends of Rudolf Nureyev's Journal

Interview with Kader Belarbi


 My first encounter with Francine Lancelot goes back to her ancient dance classes at the Ballet School of the Paris Opera. Sensitive to her research in baroque dance,

I have always listened to baroque music.

I attended the performances of Bach-Suite with Rudolf Nureyev at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. I still have a vivid memory of it.

In January 2003, the Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev was for me the opportunity to meet again with Francine.

Later, I danced Bach-Suite for the tribute to Claude Bessy. In that context, I chose a new version with four couples of young dancers from the Ballet School.

Around these two events articulated in four dances, we come to the evening of December 17th 2004 and we added two dances: an Allemande and a Courante. A third adventure then began in a new version of the six dances, Bach Suite II.

I wanted to respect the rules of the game by dancing a first Baroque part followed by a personal choreography. This choice of loyalty led me to work with direct or indirect quotations. It is a crossing of dance history. The difficulty was not to drown in the mixtures of styles.

It is in this spirit that I have worked on six consecutive dances with the cellist Christophe Coin. Bach's music is very architected and baroque dance, highly codified, both of them have led me to write and respect a clear framework. Bach-Suite lasts about twenty minutes. This duration must be controlled in both dances and transitions, to avoid monotony. Francine Lancelot has often evoked the loneliness of the dancer on a huge stage, even accompanied by cellist, because it is a laid bare, for the dancer as for the choreographer.

To absorb the style of baroque dance involves a work of « small cells », small amplitudes that require vigilance and rigor. This dance is very different from the conventional technique which claims, a contrario, large amplitudes, big jumps.

Baroque dance is a cleverly coded working of miniatures. The game is between rigor and living. It is important to respect the language, find the energy and presence throughout the crossing.

With Francine Lancelot and Françoise Denieau, we discussed literature, architecture... I think about these dance masters such Feuillet, who put thirty years to invent a kind of shorthand, which  is deciphered today as a score. Baroque dance is a filiation from the Royal Dance Academy of Louis XIV till today. The baroque technique has to be made with ease and without ostentation and beyond, express the most just and sober moods.

Bach-Suite is a bit like looking for a menu with subtle flavors. A shared harmony of discreet detail and elegance of movement.


Interview by Helen Ciolkovitch in Paris, November 22nd, 2004


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