Bolero ballet

bolero performance

Music by Maurice Ravel
Choreography by Anatoly Emelianov

The premiere took place on February 10th, 2011 in Queretaro, Mexico

We are all born from a single, initially similar to each other, like two drops of water. When time goes by, we gain the traits of something unique, the source of which is not fully understood. Changes in our own personalities develop into mistrust and irritation towards each other, and the companion of vices is death. Fading is waiting for everything that was once filled with life and light. This all can repeat a countless number of times …

Production history

Joseph Maurice Ravel

Joseph Maurice Ravel (7. 03.1875 – 28. 12. 1937) – is a talented French composer, conductor and pianist. Contemporaries often perceive his name as a synonym for impressionism along with the name of Claude Debussy, despite the fact that composers rejected their involvement in this direction. In 1920-1930s  Ravel was considered as one of the most powerful and talented composers of France.

After studying at the Paris Conservatory, Joseph Maurice Ravel decides to find his own style of composer, developing a feature of extraordinary clarity that embodies the beauty of Baroque, the courage of neoclassicism and even the eroticism of jazz in later works. Ravel’s passion is experiments with musical form, which is easily noticed in Bolero (1928).

Maurice Ravel created the Bolero at the request of Ida Rubinstein, a dancer who did not receive an academic ballet education, but was surprisingly talented. Ida Rubinstein had her own unique taste and grace. She wanted to perform a dance at the Grand Opera Theater accompanied by Ravel’s Waltz, but this composition was too short for a full-fledged choreographic performance. The composer decides to turn to Bolero to create a longer composition.

The composer insisted that the Bolero must be performed at a steady pace without any speed-up. Roland-Manuel claimed that Ravel conducted a “dry gesture”, holding his wand amusingly, like an operational lancet. It is interesting that the accompaniment of ballet is quite monotonous, and its only variety is the crescendo of the orchestra. Due to its monotony, the composer did not even expect his creation to be ubiquitously approved.

There is a legend of creating accompaniment in the Bolero ballet. According to it, the composer visited the foundry, where he saw a smooth flow of steel, hot as lava. And indeed: smoothness, monotony but at the same time richness and versatility of this melody can cast a spell on any connoisseur of music. Even Sergei Prokofiev, not inclined to praise other people’s works, called this composition “a miracle of composer’s art”.

Story of bolero ballet

The plot of this performance cannot be called complicated. Ballet should be perceived, first of all, as a source of amazing beauty and meditation, which is gradually being destroyed by increasing tension. Conventionally, the composition “Bolero” can be divided into two parts: the first part is harsh, strict and smooth, and the second is whimsical in Spanish manner, where every second the passion burns, like fire.

The room in the Spanish tavern is darkened. In the center of the room there is a large table, and around it there are idle bacchanals. Tavern’s visitors are spending time in a traditional for them way: talking, having fun, drinking. Suddenly the dancer climbs onto the table and begins her dance. At first, the gathered bacchanals ignore the dancer and continue their talks and party. Over the time, the pace of music increases along with the intensity of the dancer’s smooth movements. The girl is framed by light, she’s the center of attention. The bacchanals begin to listen a little to the music and look closely at the energetic dance of the beauty. At first, the movements of the girl are somewhat constrained, her face is strict. The spectators are following the girl’s dance, whose body is given over to the power of music.

The bacchanals are shocked by the beauty of the dance, later they’re coming closer to the table. The black figures symbolize a silent spectator who watches the true beauty.  This all is about us, people who contemplate and are fueled by the immortal beauty of art. Then the second phase of the composition begins: the phase of violence and passion. An orchestra performs a crescendo, the dancer becomes even more lively: her face is illuminated by a smile. She is the carrier of the Spanish passion and whimsicality that sounds in these notes. The crowd picks up the liveliness and energy radiated from the girl. Then a young Spaniard jumps onto the table, unable to resist the impulse to dance a duet. Two young and energetic people illuminate the hall with a passionate dance to the powerful accompaniment of initially quiet, but almost loud music. Indeed, the smooth flow of red-hot steel – this is how this performance can be described.

About performance Serenade for strings ballet.