Cité radieuse: beyond bars
Marseille with its glorious ballet company, if one thinks of the golden era of Roland Petit, is again a “Cité radieuse,” a radiant city, as the title of the new creation by Frédéric Flamand suggests, inspired by the utopian district of the South of France’s largest town, “La Maison du Fada,” designed by Le Corbusier. The Belgian director-choreographer, formerly head of Charleroi/Danses–Plan K, is now leading the Ballet National de Marseille after his appointment, following long negotiations, in September 2004.
Despite the risks entailed in inviting a more contemporary artist from abroad to run a classical-based, French style-trained company, right from Flamand’s arrival in Marseille things started to work right, beginning with the dancers successfully performing “Silent Collisions,” the piece commisioned to Flamand, by the Biennale di Venezia Dance Festival in 2003.
The piece worked as a kind of metaphor for the considerable troubles which the Marseille company had experienced under the direction (since 1998, after the departure of Roland Petit) of Marie-Claude Pietragalla, former étoile of the Paris Opera, whose appointment was marred by her alleged overpowering desire to be the ...