Los Angeles Dance Preview: LES NUITS (Ballet Preljocaj U.S. Debut at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

by Tony Frankel on June 16, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles,Tours


jcc-nuits-2-duet_1000Since the creation of the Company Preljocaj in 1984, Angelin Preljocaj has become an international superstar; some refer to the French-born Albanian choreographer as the “New Diaghilev” (in French, his name is pronounced prel-zho-KAHJ). Since founding his company—now named Ballet Preljocaj and currently composed of 24 dancers—he has created 48 choreographic works, ranging from solo to larger formations. His creations have been restaged by numerous other repertory companies, but thanks to Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, I was introduced to this amazing troupe in 2012, when Preljocaj blew me away with Blanche Neige (Snow White), a contemporary and romantic narrative ballet with dazzling costumes by renowned designer Jean Paul Gaultier, and a romantic score by Gustav Mahler.


Now, prepare yourself for the erotic, exotic, elastic, evocative, exquisite, aerobatic Les Nuits (The Nights), which will have its U.S. Debut at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for 3 performances only, June 20-22. This program contains partial nudity and themes of a sexual nature and is recommended for mature audiences.


The eroticism of Les Nuits echoes the sensuality distilled in the pages of A Thousand and One Nights, stories which have come together from Indian, Persian, Arabian, and North African sources. “These tales contain some very sensual aspects, which I wished to represent through dance,” said Preljocaj. “In 1988, I created Liqueurs de chair, which focused on the notion of eroticism but permeated with the aesthetics of surrealism. I wanted to return to this theme in a more flamboyant way and one which preserved all the mystery and fascination, which the East still exerts on the collective unconscious. ”


One of the piece’s themes is the plight of the Sultan’s favorite concubine, Scheherazade, who, in an attempt to forestall her threatened execution, invents stories with which she entertains the Sultan night after night. Preljocaj sees her as “an example of a woman caught between submission and domination, an example of a certain feminism which is born under oppressive situations.”


Preljocaj has collected a team of creators with roots in Northern Africa: Tunisian-born fashion designer and renowned couturier Azzedine Alaïa; and Brussels-born Anglo-Egyptian Natasha Atlas (singer and composer) and Egyptian Samy Bishai (composer of vocals and electronic music), both known as cross-over musicians combining Arab and Western music. Adding to the international team is set designer Constance Guisset, winner of the City of Paris Grand Prix du Design, and lighting designer Cécile Giovansili-Vissière.

Here is a sample of what’s in store:

The 18 dancers are Margaux Coucharrière, Léa De Natale, Caroline Jaubert, Émilie Lalande, Céline Marié, Aude Miyagi, Nuriya Nagimova, Anaïs Pensé, Wilma Puentes Linares, Nagisa Shirai, Anna Tatarova, Cecilia Torres Morillo, Sergi Amoros Aparicio, Aurélien Charrier, Marius Delcourt, Jean-Charles Jousni, Fran Sanchez, and Julien Thibault.

JCCarbonne_1926photos by Jean-Claude Carbonne

Les Nuits (The Nights)
Ballet Preljocaj
Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance
at The Music Center
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N. Grand Avenue
Friday, June 20 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 21 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 22 at 2:00 pm
for tickets visit The Music Center

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