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When Dance meets Fashion: The Child and the Spells

The Monte-Carlo, Opera Garnier for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo opened its doors on the 22nd July 2016, to The Child and the Spells. Choregraphed by Jeroen Verbruggen featuring for the costumes and decors, the Haute-Couture brand On Aura Tout Vu, The Child and the Spells is a incredibly creative performance supported by the music of the worldwide known composer Maurice Ravel.

The Belgian choreographer Jeroen Verbruggen, received his main dance education at The Belgian Royal Ballet School in Antwerp. Upon winning a scholarship at the « Prix de Lausanne 2000 » he was lucky enough to study for one year at The National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. The following year he won the second prize at the «Eurovision Young Dancers Competition 2001 » in London performing a solo “Hyperballad” which he choreographed himself. His brilliant career began in 2001 when he became member of The Royal Ballet of Flanders. Jeroen then joined in 2003 the Ballet d’Europe in Marseille and a year later Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo where he danced extensively for ten years. During this time, he performed many different styles of renowned choreographers such as Jan Fabre, George Balanchine, Maurice Béjart, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Marco Goecke, Ina Christel Johannessen and of course, Jean-Christophe Maillot, the company’s Choreographer- Director. Alongside, Jeroen started creating his own works which revealed a vivid imagination involving a great sensitivity. In 2012 Jean-Christophe Maillot gave Jeroen the opportunity to create his first ballet for the company of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo “Kill Bambi” followed by “Arithmophobia” in 2013. This is how the talented dancer became an amazing choreographer. In 2014 Jeroen put an end to his career as a dancer in order to devote all his time to choreography. There upon he created his first full length ballet evening revisiting “Nutcracker” for Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Jeroen Verbruggen

Jeroen Verbruggen

This year, Jeroen pushes back the bundaries between body, dance and costumes with The Child and the Spells. Created on 21 March 1925 at the Monte Carlo Opera House , The Child and the Spells is a part of the Ballets Russes’ famous repertoire. George Balanchine set his first version to music by Ravel. The story was originally written by the French author Colette for her daughter, a process she began before the war and completed long after Ravel’s return from the front. This modern tale tells the story of a mischievous child who unleashes his anger on his belongings and the stuffed toys around him. The toys come to life and teach the child a lesson, with the latter coming to understand the error of his ways and peace being restored.

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Through this ballet, Jeroen Verbruggen treats us to a personal interpretation of Colette’s libretto. The action takes place inside a house that the child turns upside-down and in a garden he destroys. The underlying concept at the heart of this young choreographer’s ballet is that the home is the child himself. The items he destroys, the creatures he harms and the evil he commits are all acts inflicted on himself by his own hand. «I realise that often my work centres on adolescence, teenage turbulence, the possibilities of that age – and that’s what my version of the ballet is really about.» Jeroen Verbruggen’s ballet takes a dark turn, mirroring the sepia tones of the set design that cast an uneasy, autumnal hue over the scenes. The choreographer invited Alice Blangero to take photos that would forge the on-stage link between the child/home, the costumes and the lighting.

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When it comes to the set design, the choreographer decided not to use any furniture in order to avoid paraphrasing the text. The dancers are therefore required to both create and bring to life these components. Working with the fashion house ‘On aura tout vu’ proved to be yet another excellent choice, thanks to the fantastical world they manage to create in a perfect antidote to the ballet’s assertive sense of unease. ON AURA TOUT VU breaks codes introduced by the Haute Couture over the years to give their own interpretation. Diverting fashion and glamour, the designers Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov stand out since several years for their extravagant and original creations, far from conventional classic Haute Couture fashion. They were present to Paris Haute-Couture Fashion Week in July and presented an extraodinary show.
Their creations contain humour, sophistication, craft and technological innovation and extend beyond the usual boundaries of fashion: design, cosmetics, and various prestigious collaborations (Lalique, Motorola, Swatch…).  The designers are playing with materials and techniques rarely employed in fashion and which are derived from a variety of artistic disciplines. Therefore it came as no surprise they were choosen to produce the costumes and decors for “the Child and the Spells”for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.
The child and the spells Costumes by on aura tout vu Yassen Samouilov Livia Stoianova1

 

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This collaboration between Dance and Fashion is proving again how those two arts are linked! If you plan to go to Monte-Carlo, have a look at the Opera program here : http://www.opera.mc/fr/index.