There is genius at play in Édouard Lock’s new ballet, “Amjad.” As a product of his evolving exploration of pointe work – it’s been four years since the choreographer first brought his last creation, “Amélia,” to a Montreal stage – the new ballet has nothing to do with copycat imitation. Instead, Lock invests heavily in ironic juxtapositions of Romantic era aesthetics and parallel aesthetics operating in the Oriental world.
Turning to classics such as “Swan Lake” (1895) and “Sleeping Beauty” (1890), the ballet world remains a pivotal point for him, and creating “Amjad” has allowed Lock to capture tradition and yet align himself squarely in the contemporary.
The title, incidentally, is a name familiar in Morocco – Lock’s birthplace – and one of the few Arabic names that can be used by a man or a woman. The key image publicising the show is of a woman (Nathalie Gareau) covered in gold and surrounded by vines and forest. The visual calls to mind the palace and forest of the story ballets as well as the sumptuous interiors and untamed landscapes expressed in Oriental aesthetics, invoking power, precious metals, exoticism, sensuality, and ecstatic release. All are enduring symbols ...