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© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali

Dance has been a tradition in Monaco since the days of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The Compagnie des Ballets de Monte-Carlo nurtures this heritage.

In the early twentieth century, dance in Monaco was synonymous with Diaghilev and his legendary Ballets Russes. It was the golden age of Nijinsky, Lifar, Balanchine… Having rewritten the rules of ballet, the renowned Monegasque company was dissolved when Diaghilev passed away in 1929.

"The Ballets de Monte-Carlo are More than Just a Company"
 Read Jean-Christophe Maillot's interview

The story resumed in 1985 when the new Compagnie des Ballets de Monte-Carlo was born, with support from Princess Caroline. Jean-Christophe Maillot has been at the helm since 1993.

© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali
© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali

The former dancer and choreographer/director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Tours has created a repertoire of more than 30 ballets, including Towards a Wise Country (1995), Romeo and Juliet (1996), Cinderella (1999), The Sleeping Beauty (2001), The Dream (2005), Altro Canto (2006), Faust (2007), LAC (2011) and more recently Core Meu (2019). In December 2019, Maillot unveiled his version of Coppelia, the famous ballet from the romantic repertoire. Coppél-i.A. will pose questions about the development of artificial intelligence in our world. “The relationship with time passing and the constant need to create” are at the heart of Back on Track 61 (2021).

The Monegasque company tours the globe every year.

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s repertoire is also regularly performed by a variety of international companies. His Taming of the Shrew was created for the Bolshoi Theatre ballet company.

With its Monaco Dance Forum, the Principality has sought to position itself as an international showcase for dance.

© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali
© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali

It regularly hosts major contemporary choreographers such as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Shen Wei, Emio Greco, Chris Haring, Marco Goecke, Lucinda Childs, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, and Marie Chouinard, who come to work with the Monegasque company’s 50 dancers.

Interview

"The Ballets de Monte-Carlo are More than Just a Company"

His repertoire includes 80 or so ballets (40 of which were choreographed in Monaco, such as Lac, Roméo et Juliette and La Belle). Jean-Christophe Maillot has directed the Ballets de Monte-Carlo for more than 30 years. He gives us his view of this international company.

Monaco and dance are a great love story. What have the highlights been for you?

There are two key moments in the history of dance in Monaco.  Firstly, the success of the Ballets Russes in 1909, for which the Principality was a creative workshop for over 20 years.  Dance first took root at that time.  The second highlight was in in 1985, when H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover created the current Compagnie des Ballets de Monte-Carlo.

What do you think is the DNA of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo?

The Ballets de Monte-Carlo is a company directed by a choreographer who enables all the dancers to have a special relationship with creativity.  However, what makes us unique is that, above and beyond my ballets and the repertoire I have created here, we share this resource with internationally renowned choreographers and young artists who venture into territory that is still unknown.  And the Ballets de Monte-Carlo is more than just a company!  It’s also a Festival (the Monaco Dance Forum), which allows us to present all types of dance in Monaco, and a dance school (the Princess Grace Academy), which offers high-level teaching to young dancers, who will go on to join the great professional dance companies in the future.

The Ballets de Monte-Carlo have launched a streaming platform devoted to dance. What is its aim?

This platform was created in response to the current health crisis, which has stopped us from touring.  The company has a strong link with the public in many countries, and we didn’t want this link to be broken.  We had the idea of offering another way of representing our art;  another way of sharing the emotions of dance.  There is so much to show that spectators are unaware of – who our dancers are, what the work of the ballet masters who rehearse all day in the studio consists of, how the dancers shape their bodies every day through constant hard work to achieve excellence, and so on.  The BMC STREAM platform enables us to explore the reality that makes up our daily lives.  However, in no way is it about reinventing ourselves or a substitute for our raison d’être – dancing in front of an audience.

Learn more
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