Chambre d'amour Malandain / Cabalette


The Chambre d’amour is a legendary cave on the Basque coast where two lovers perished long ago. Located on the side of a cliff, this cavity formed by the sea’s ebb and flow echoes all of the mysteries connected to life and death.

The tale says they were named Ura and Ederra (water and beauty in Basque). They had taken shelter in the cave when, in the throes of love, the incoming tide took them by surprise. The next morning their bodies were found locked in each other’s arms on the sand. By dying, Ura and Ederra joined the ranks of other literary star-crossed lovers such as Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Desdemona … our Chambre d’amour reminds us of them.

I like to think that these shattered fates originated from the parable of Genesis. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were banished from the Garden of Eden. Their immortality taken away, they then entered the dualistic material world; a world which from then on would be punctuated by the cadence of life and death.

So is love a nostalgic quest for lost unity? It is said that our lovers transcend this love when they die. Is the darkness just a passageway, the night before the sun that rises every morning over the Chambre d’amour?

Thierry Malandain


Performed on 13 May 2000

at the Gare du Midi in Biarritz

 

Music Peïo Çabalette

Choreography Thierry Malandain

Set design and costumes Jorge Gallardo

Lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié

 

Coproduction Théâtre de Saint-Quentin en Yvelines Scène Nationale, Esplanade de Saint-Etienne, Orchestre Régional Bayonne Côte Basque, Biarritz Culture, Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa, Malandain Ballet Biarritz

 

Full length of the performance 60 minutes

Ballet for 14 dancers

 

Dancers Giuseppe Chiavaro, Mikel Irurzun del Castillo, Isaïas Jauregui, Olivier Jedrasiak, Lyane Lamourelle, Cyril Lot, Carole Philipp, Adriana Pous Ojeda, Magali Praud, Christophe Roméro, Luisa Sancho Escanero, Thierry Taboni, Brigitte Valverde, Nathalie Verspecht

 

Video by Georges Flores



Thierry Malandain’s Creation - a Basque Country Legend

“[…] “The show is abstract and more thematic than narrative. It’s a parable of Paradise lost, the fall of man and renewed immortality”, Thierry Malandain explains. […] “The spirit of this production is to renew the tradition of ballet with an original score”, Malandain affirms. This is his first collaboration with a composer.”

Danser No.188, Jacky Pailley , May 2000 (“Bande-annonce” section)

Eros and Thanatos

“[…] It flows marvelously from an individual dancer to a pas de deux duet, then to a group ensemble with admirable fluidity, and in my opinion, the most meaningful choreographic successes can be found in the dance ensemble’s movements with all of the dancers on stage, diagonally, in symmetrical and asymmetrical groups; truly impressive. Yet it leaves room for individuality to reveal itself. […] It’s high quality work overall; maybe it just needs time to mature to reach the highest level.”

, Carlos Gil

Tragic Destinies - La Chambre d’Amour by Thierry Malandain in Biarritz

“[…] This old tale has inspired Thierry Malandain - among French neoclassical choreographers, he is the most passionate music lover, meditating on tragic love stories. […]”

Ballet Tanz, Thomas Hahn

Love in Mourning

“[…] Relying on an original and highly entertaining score by Peio Çabalette, which doesn’t hide his admiration for Maurice Ravel, Malandain has created a well done performance, in which mangled bodies keep being washed ashore by the tide and creating new legends.”

Danser No.190, J. C. Diénis, July-August 2000 (“côté scène – comptes rendus” section)

Ballet Biarritz Thierry Malandain - La Chambre d’Amour

“Long awaited, this Biarritz creation is, first of all, a collaboration between choreographer Thierry Malandain and Basque composer Peio Çabalette. […] It’s tempting for Thierry Malandain to pay this fitting tribute to Biarritz where he manages the most recent CCN (National Choreography Centre) founded in 1998, and to work on the couple’s unity and transcendence, its contradictions, and its symbiosis. […] he has avoided this narrative approach and has built, on a very rich sounding score, but which is also surprisingly complex, a lucidly abstract piece where groups alternate with couples in a succession of flowing “moments”, coloured by intense movement, by the dramatic significance of the couple’s relationship, by the confrontation or abandonment of bodies. This is how every kind of human anxiety and turmoil is suggested, in symbiosis with the highly diverse musical dramaturgy of Peio Çabalette who cultivates an acoustic space mixed with poetry, fluidity, power and pain. […] Each one exudes the drama’s nuances and progression with sensitivity and wit. Such emotional commitment, what mastery! No narrative indulgence by the choreographer. Only the appropriate body language allows each dancer to “feed” their character incrementally, the company’s ensemble slightly plays the role of a chorus in ancient Greek tragedies. […] Thierry Malandain fills his choreography with bold and playful lifts, sequences that are unexpected yet always psychologically accurate in which gestures, bodies, glances, and smiles carve the very epitome of violently sacrificed happiness. […] With La Chambre d’Amour, following 16 years of successful creations, Thierry Malandain has produced an ambitious and original piece of work whose success places the French choreographer on the same level as Kylian, long before other more publicized names. The Ballet Biarritz Company has taken on a new dimension. There’s no shortage of projects in the works. […]”

Danse, Sylvia Chaban