This is without a doubt the foremost event on the summer's dance calendar. Fifty years after legendary 20th-century choreographer Maurice Béjart (1927-2007) premiered his Ninth Symphony with the Cirque Royal de Bruxelles, the ballet takes the stage again at Lausanne's Patinoire de Malley and the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
This "danced concert" is a choreographic transposition of Beethoven's masterpiece, with narrated excerpts from the writings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and poet Friedrich von Schiller. Béjart called his Ninth Symphony "a profound human participation in a work that belongs to the whole of humanity and which is not just played and sung here, but danced."
It was natural that Gil Roman, director of Béjart Ballet Lausanne since 2007 and custodian of Maurice Béjart's artistic legacy, would rise to the challenge of tackling this atypical work that calls for over 250 dancers, choral singers and musicians on stage. Resurrecting the spectacular ballet took three years of committed work, and by November 2014, Roman was ready to present it for the first time in Tokyo—the latest exchange in a dialog with Japan that Jaquet Droz has sustained throughout its history. Bringing the two companies together—Béjart Ballet Lausanne and the Tokyo Ballet—also goes some way towards fulfilling Béjart's vision of dance as an art of movement and wonder, transcending all kinds of boundaries of geography and culture.
This conception of dance echoes the philosophy of Jaquet Droz. The magic of movement, exalted gestures, obsessive efforts to attain manifest beauty—a whole world of analogies and affinities has been forged over the years between the Swiss dance company and the brand known by its twin stars. Parallels such as between the scenic emotion of a dancing body and the mineral sensuality of a Lady 8 Flower watch, whose hidden lotus flower automaton spreads its hand-engraved and hand-enameled golden petals.
After the triumph of the sell-out Lausanne production, Béjart Ballet Lausanne and Jaquet Droz presented the Ninth Symphony's first ever Monaco performance before the Royal Family on July 3 at the Grimaldi Forum with the Tokyo Ballet, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choir of the Monte Carlo Opera, conducted by Antonino Fogliani. An event that brings to life the Art of Astonishment of Jaquet Droz.
To find out more, read Jaquet Droz celebrates the Ninth Symphony interpreted by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne