Artistic project

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A Ballet of today

With over eighty works to his credit, Thierry Malandain has developed a very personal idea of dance. Deeply rooted in the concept of “Ballet“, which serves here as a reference to an aesthetic movement, it gives priority to the dancing body, to the celebration of its sensuality and humanity.

Man and dance are at the heart and soul of Malandain Ballet Biarritz.

At the head of a troupe made up of performers who have mastered the grammar of classical dance, but whose expression is contemporary, Thierry Malandain’s approach is underpinned by profound human values. His quest for meaning and aesthetics also guides a timeless style, at once muscular, energetic and sober, which draws its richness from the roots of dance and from a dynamic vision of this art form.

“My culture, my genetics, is that of classical dance, and I have no qualms about remaining attached to it. Although I readily admit that some of its artistic and social codes are from another time, like the DNA present in all living cells, passed down from generation to generation, it contains the information necessary for the functioning and development of the company that serves as my organism. The information carried by DNA can evolve over time.

This leads to the diversity of species, to evolution. That’s why my dance is a vehicle for variation. Classical for some, contemporary for others, hereditarily neo-classical, I’m simply looking for a dance that I love. A dance that doesn’t just leave a trace of pleasure, but that reconnects with the essence of the sacred as a response to the difficulty of being.

In his creations, which can be both serious and impertinent, Thierry Malandain strives to develop a style that seeks harmony between the classical and the contemporary, history and today’s world. Between his original visions of titles such as Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker and L’Après-midi d’un faune, he alternates pure creations such as Magifique, Une Dernière chanson, Estro and Lucifer, set to an original score by composer Guillaume Connesson.

Thierry Malandain is also an artist who is open to his contemporaries. This is borne out by the many choreographers from a wide range of aesthetic backgrounds supported by the Centre Chorégraphique National as part of the Accueil Studio programme, and by the Le Temps d’Aimer festival, for which he is artistic director in Biarritz.

Artistic project 2020-24

The Malandain Ballet Biarritz, the National Choreographic Centre of New Aquitaine in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, has been undergoing steady, controlled development for several years now. Since it was founded, the NCC’s DNA has also been to be a “Ballet d’auteur”. Thierry Malandain’s creations and repertoire continue to be acclaimed and in demand in France and internationally, and give rise to a major effort to reach out to the public. We would like to thank all our partners for their loyalty, trust and support. To build on this momentum, the artistic project for the period from 2020 to 2024 is built around three cross-cutting commitments.

The first commitment is artistic. The NCC Biarritz will continue to promote a neo-classical aesthetic through the creation of new ballets by Thierry Malandain and the dissemination of works from its repertoire in the region, in France and internationally, with an average of 95 performances per year.

Priority will also be given to artistic diversity, the emergence of new talent and the sharing of tools through :
– the mentoring programme offered to associate artist Martin Harriague,
– the ten or so companies supported each year in studio residencies,
– the eclectic programming of the Biarritz Dance Season,
– experimentation through the Labo de recherches chorégraphique, the Université du Mouvement and the Danse qui danse network.

The second commitment is cultural and territorial, because more than ever, we want to remain an active contributor to the democratisation of access to culture, with priority given to our home territory, but also in the service of players throughout France who may call on us. To achieve this, we offer a wide range of awareness-raising and outreach activities, from one-off workshops to multi-week cultural programmes. Our regional involvement will be further developed with the creation of the Pôle Chorégraphique Transfrontalier, which will co-ordinate all our activities in the Basque Country Agglomeration in conjunction with Gipuzkoa, Euskadi and Navarre. We will continue to keep abreast of changes in society, in particular by using digital tools in our relations with audiences and by rolling out our Art and the Environment programme.

The third commitment is to the profession. We will be following up our participation in collective discussions, particularly those concerning what constitutes a “Ballet of Today” via the ANCC, meetings with French and European Ballets and the Pôle de Coopération Chorégraphique du Grand Sud-Ouest. The latter will be organising new editions of the competition for young ballet choreographers with new partners, a sign of its vitality and validity. As a NCC employing a permanent artistic workforce, we are constantly seeking to improve the conditions under which dance professionals work, including through the ongoing optimisation of our dancers’ medical monitoring programme and by taking part in the organisation of the second International Forum on Dance and Health in partnership with the CND.