3e Ã‰tage: Soloists and Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet
World Premiere of Le Pillow Thirteen
By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 04, 2013
3e Étage: Soloists and Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet
Director and Choreographer, Samuel Murez
Lighting James Angot and Samuel Murez
Adminstrator Juliette Barth
Dancers: Francois Alu, Kaura Bachman, Matthieu Botto, Takeru Coste, Laila Dilhac, Laura Hecquet, Jeremy-Loup Quer, Fabien Revillon, Lydie Vereilhes, Hugo Vigliotti
Le Pillow Thirteen
By Samuel Murez
Original Score, Andrea Turra after Franz Liszt; Costume Design, Agnes Letestu; Costume Coordinator, Pauline Batista
Dancers: Francois Alu, Leila Dilhac, Laura Hecquet, Jeremy-Loup Quer, Fabien Revillon
Dancers: meO, Laura Bachman; Resurrected Ballerina, Leila Dilhac; Pierre, Hugo Vigliotti; Louis, Matthieu Botto
Original Score, Samuel Murez
La Danse des livres (Book Dance)
Dancers: Cassandre, Lydie Vareilhes; Pierre, Hugo Vigliotto; Louis, Matthieu Botto
Original score, Siegfried de Turckheim
Dancers: Cassandre a few years later, Ludie Vareilhes; Pierre-Louis a few years later, Takeru Ciste
Music “Sonata N, 14 1- Adagion sostenuto- by Ludwig van Beethoven
Dancers: The Trickster, Samuel Murez; me2 Higo Vigliotto; me3, Jeremy-Loup Quer; me4, Leila Dilhac; me10, Fabien Revillon
Dancers: me3 Jeremy-Loup Quer; me1, Samuel Murez; me2 Hugo Vigliotti
Original Score, The Misters
Text “Me Too” by Raymond Federman
Processes of Intricacy
Sound Design, Jerome Malapert and Samuel Murez
Dancers: Laura Hecquet and Takeru Coste
Dancers: Unm Francois Alu; Deux, Fabien Revillion; Trois, Jeremy-Loup Quer; Quatre, Hugo Vigliotto
Music, Johannes Brahms after Niccolo Pagahini, Costumes Agnes Letestu
Me2 Having a Miscommunication with the Follow-Spot Operator
Dancer: Takeru Coste
Dancers: Full Company
Original Score, Samuel Murez with samples and excerpts from Siegfried de Truckheim, The Misters, Knudage Riisager after Carl Czerny, Johannes Brahms after Niccolo Paganini and Franz Liszt after Meyerbeer
First Nightmare from Le Reveur
Dancers: Le Reveur, Hugo Vigliotti; The Bureaucrats: Francois Alu, Laura Bachman, Matthieu Botto, Takru Coste, Laila Dilhac, Laura Hecquet, Jeremy-Loup Quer, Lydie Vareilhes; me10 with a sign, Fabien Revillon
During the 2011 season of Jacob’s Pillow the company led by Samuel Murez, 3e Étage: Soloists and Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet, made its American debut. The response to this new company was sensational and although previously unknown the run sold out. As did this one.
Although the offshoot of the world’s oldest dance company Paris Opera Ballet (established by Louis XIV as Academie Royale de Danse) was founded in 2004 it tours only during the off season.
The company of Murez reflects and comments on the superb training, classical technique, precision and discipline of the gold standard of Paris Opera Ballet. It allows the dancers to explore other dimensions of their craft and develop theatrical personas.
Often the most exhilarating and hilarious aspect of their creations is an ability to remain within as well as spoof and riff on venerable traditions. Here we see classical ballet but always with a surprising and stunning twist. We come to expect the unexpected.
There is a parallel and counter aspect that incorporates a mélange of mime, hip hop, and contemporary ideas. There was a joyous audience response, for example, when during a ‘classical’ dance Quartre there was a momentary and familiar flash of an iconic Michael Jackson Moonwalk.
The American debut at the venerable Pillow, before such an uniquely discerning and appreciative audience, inspired Murez to create an evening long work in two acts which had its world premiere this week in Becket Le Pillow Thirteen.
While it incorporated all of the elements of their prior Pillow appearance this new work seemed more cohesive with a well defined narrative thread and more than just a series of individual works. If possible, their appearance this time was even better and more successful.
The Trickster is Murez costumed as a mime clown with a comical hat and mischievous, devilish persona.
When the curtain parts we see him on a stage lit by a single bright light. With a gesture he sends it slowly to the ceiling casting a broad dim illumination over the stage. With a flourish he seemingly lights the stage and on his magical command three women and four men appear.
They wear brilliant red classical costumes performing a traditional dance Mephisto set to the familiar piano music of Franz Liszt as interpreted by Andrea Turra. There is a hint that something is different in the post modernist, deconstructed tutus which resemble sparking wire cages accentuating the hip movements of the female dancers.
This opening of ballet establishes the notion of who they are and what they are capable of.
Then things happen.
The dancers are magically killed dropping dead on the floor. They can just as improbably be revived. There is humorous sorcery as some dancers, incapable of being brought back to life, are then dragged off. We don’t know what to think and just come to expect the unexpected.
Which evolves as the mime and humor inspired improbable La Danse des livres. Here two men are reading and debating from ersatz manuals how to operate Cassandre (Lydie Vareilhes) an apparent robot. To touch her causes electric shocks. The movement is inventively mechanique as the men (Hugo Vigliotto and Matthieu Botto) become ever more frustrated in their inability to “read” the mysterious and galvanic woman.
What about that sounds familiar? If only the women in our lives came with an owner’s manual. Order one on Amazon.
Returning to our seats for Act Two, when the Berkshire glitterati who arrive late, air kiss and clog aisles for de rigeur socializing, finally settled down we heard the voice of the stage manager giving instructions to open the curtain.
Initially it seemed like a mistake. A microphone was left on that shouldn’t be. We heard a series of lighting cues as in Processes of Intricacy Laura Hecquet and Takeru Coste, costumed in basic black “rehearsal attire,” worked through a vigorous and seemingly exhausting pas de deux. With no sound other than the lighting cues we became conscious of the whir of ceiling fans, their grunts from physical exertion, and the abrasions of their shoes on the floor.
Now onto the trope we became absorbed by the cues and what then happened. Which lights came on or off and how the dancers responded. There was a countdown ‘Five, Four, Three, Two, One’ and the dance abruptly ended. There was a spontaneous eruption of applause and the sense that we had experienced something extraordinary.
In Quatre which followed we experienced what was initially a pas de quatre or four classically attired male dancers executing the most athletic and demanding sequence of leaps and twirls. Then things started to go wrong. Dancers were out of sync or upstaging each other. The all too human element of competition, rivalry and one upmanship raised its comical head. A dancer would perform something spectacular ending with a flourish for the next dancer to “match that.”
Here the comic genius of the smallest of the four, Hugo Vigliotti, was just spectacular. He totally won over the audience, milking us for applause, with the most sensational and improbable inventions. The others, however wonderful, became his three straight men.
Yet again, the humor came from an ability to execute the most superbly difficult moves with absolute precision and then spoof that perfection. Brilliant.
In a take on the clown Emmett Kelly’s legendary following spot routine Takeru Coste went and got a gun when the Follow Spot Operator misbehaved.
Divine mayhem followed with Disorders and First Nightmare from Le Reveur.
For the finale Vigliotti in pajamas is surrounded by business suited Bureaucrats circling him with briefcases. He “wakes up” in bed. Then quick changes into a similar business suit, a masterful bit of costume design, grabs his brief case and is off to work.
Hopefully in a year or two the company will return.
Their fan base here in the Berkshires est formidable.