Ballet mécanique Georges Antheil / Thierry Malandain

On stage, a « ring » not used as a place of combat and death, but as a space of inner life in which the individual is expressed outside the group and mechanical society.

On the stage four barres form a boxing ring in the middle of which the dancers dance frenetically. It is not a place to fight each other, but more of a space for expression in which the interpreters show their lack of insecurity and are facing themselves. When this ballet was created one could hear : « let’s be inspired machines ! ». Here, it all ends up with an apotheosis on a square lawn, as if to show a preference for Nature instead of the adoration for machines that futurists had in the twenties.

Thierry Malandain

created on 17th December 1996
at l’Esplanade de Saint-Etienne

music Georges Antheil
choreography Thierry Malandain
set and costumes Jorge Gallardo
lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié

duration of the entire ballet 15’
ballet for 12 dancers

« In Ballet Mécanique, the four barres are mainly used for acrobatics or to give the limits of a ring. The twelve dancers follow each others in solos, duets or trios in the middle while the other dancers are sitting on chairs on both sides. We will particularly remember the opening with Silvia Magalhaes who hypnotizes the spectator through her amazing internal strenght and her perfectly mastered body language. All the interpreters meet in the final, for a great dance together, after having covered that white and cold space with little mats of grass ! »

Danse, France De Vogüe, March 2007

« Ballet Mécanique sets its style as a sonorous and mobile modernity. The instrumental music of the American composer Georges Antheil has the dancers’ bodies swing like in a boxing ring. They seem to fight, strive and face each other all at the same time. Pianos, electric sounds, percussions start off animated discussions. The composition, quite short in the way it is played, ends like after an excess, after too many nuisances and the exhausted interpreters end up by lying down on the lawn for a well deserved return to their sources. »

Rue du théâtre, Christelle Zamora, August 2007