Sonatine Malandain / Stockhausen / Szymanovski

1986 Programme

Performed with Karl Stockhausen’s score Sonatine and Karol Szymanowski’s piano and violin concertos, this ballet was unanimously awarded first prize by the jury of the Nyon International Choreography Competition in Switzerland.


Sonatine takes its inspiration from Garcia Lorca’s play The House of Bernarda. It features a scene behind closed doors with women, a symbolic window which is a reminder of the outside world, and a man who disturbs the hierarchical balance of this small society.

Thierry Malandain

Performed on 24 June 1986 by the Temps Présent Company

at Théâtre Marcel Rivière, Le Mesnil Saint-Denis


Music Karl Stockhausen, Karol Szymanovski

Choreography Thierry Malandain

Costumes Nicola Mossakowska

Set design Jorge Gallardo

Lighting design Jean-Claude Asquié


Full length of the performance 25 minutes

Ballet for 5 dancers



Man: Olivier Jedrasiak

4 women: Magali Praud, Luisa Sancho Escanero, Brigitte Valverde, Nathalie Verspecht


Video by Esplanade Saint-Etienne

“[…] Regarding Sonatine (Stockhausen) – based on The House of Bernarda - choreographed by Thierry Malandain (France), it combines all the qualities that are the reason why a ballet, even very short, is really the result of the work of talented professional dancers.”

24heures, Francine Grandjean, 19 November 1984

“[…] Three companies were in the spotlight, starting with Thierry Malandain’s, 1st place, with Sonatine. Using a Graham-based technique, this confrontation between four young girls and a boy strongly and pleasantly expresses in turn the temptation of desire and its puritanical repression.”

Journal de Genève, Jean-Pierre Pastori, 20 November 1984

“Sonatine, choreographed by Thierry Malandain to Stockhausen’s score, and inspired by Lorca’s The House of Bernarda, is a subtly rigorous little masterpiece. Straightaway, the mood is set: the stifling atmosphere of a women-only scene behind closed doors governed by extremely hierarchical levels of subordination, repressed sensuality… One single symbolic window, barely open and immediately closed by the oldest sister, reminds us that the outside world exists, with all of life’s temptations. Mariolina Matarelli, May van Hout, Katy Maris and Isabelle Bourgeais embody the personalities of four girls with great physical and psychological accuracy, while Angelito Lozano lends a dark and sturdy seductiveness to the young man, a fox in the henhouse whose intrusion will call everything into question… thus a very positive review for both choreographers. Philippe Villette is young: following this transformed “trial”, he has his whole future ahead of him. As for the genuine and demanding creator, Thierry Malandain, he already has a past. Thanks to his intelligence, sensitivity and culture, he undoubtedly has more outstanding performances in store for us.”

Journal de Luneville, P.Claudin, 1985

“[…] Company category: The Palme d’Or goes to Thierry Malandain (winner of the 1984 Volinine Competition) for his Sonatine choreography. It’s performed by good dancers, who paint the picture of three young girls’ studious rigour which is disturbed by the arrival of a prince charming… [...]”

Nouvelles de Ballet, Isabelle Arbona, 1985

“[…] More dramatic, the Frenchman Thierry Malandain picked Lorca’s carnal fragrance. His dramatic touch exceeds his choreographic imagination, but his work made such an impression, that no one could deny him the First Prize.”

Balletto, Antoine Livio, February 1984

“[…] With Sonatine, built on austere music by Stockhausen and Szymanovski, the dramatic atmosphere is governed by suspense.”

Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, Marie Brassart-Goerg, 13 May 1987

“[…] Malandain knows how to tell a story extremely well as he demonstrated in Sonatine. The performance, accompanied by Stockhausen and Szymanovski’s concertos, features a scene behind closed doors with women – a mother and her three daughters – disturbed by a man who fails in trying to seduce the latter without realising that their mother is madly in love with him.”

Les Saisons de la Danse, Jean-Marie Gourreau, December 1986