Kader Belarbi, danseur étoile of the Paris Opera, will be at the Stade de France, Friday, September 7th, for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, an event that he choreographies with the stage director Olivier Massart. This large-format show requires impressive logistics for only twenty minutes.
Three hundred and fifty dancers (about five hundred auditioned), hip-hoppers, capoeiristas, yamakasi, and about ten extravagant machines conceived by François Delarozière, are announced. The presence of rugby stars as Jean-Pierre Rives (France) or Jonah Lomon (New Zealand) will give spice to this festive introduction with live video effects and costumes by Castelbajac. Everything will be played in front of 80,000 spectators in the stands and nearly 1 billion of viewers.
A big operation for Belarbi, accustomed nevertheless to conceive this type of shows alongside his classical career. He comes to choreograph a piece for the National Ballet of China and the Grand Ballet of Geneva while working for Kenzo fashion parade and for Doha Asian Games (Asian Olympics), always with Massart. "I love going out of the frame, meet other environments. With Olivier, we have the freedom to achieve what we want. So I assume what can be pejorative in the eyes of purists. "
With the opening ceremony, Belarbi finds the dynamics of urgency and enthusiasm which please him. Several months of intensive preparation, barely a week of rehearsals in Max Rousié stadium, loaned by the town hall of the 17th district of Paris, where Belarbi lives. The ceremony will be built around the myths of rugby - pack, pass, fight, energy, brotherhood ...
An obsession bothers the choreographer: he wants to play between detail and mass, small and large, individual and collective. But the challenge remains elsewhere for the Massart-Belarbi duo: put into dance the 80,000 spectators with an interactive, musical and gestural device. "I do not want this to be a showcase but a beating heart. I love the energy of urban dance, their electricity, their rage and the frank link of the dancers to life."
Rosita Boisseau - LE MONDE 09.08.2007