ARTICLE WAINAO N°31 - ONE LAST DANCE
31 december 2015: The 50-year-old dancer perform to Maurice Ravel's Boléro at the Tokyo Jill Bester Concert to mark the advent. She will be choreographed by Maurice Bejart.
Sylvie Guillem is a French ballet dancer. Guillem was the top-ranking female dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet from 1984 to 1989, before becoming a principal guest artist with the Royal Ballet in London. She was born Paris, in 1984 she became the youngest person in the history of the Paris Opéra Ballet at that time to hold the rank of étoile (“star”).
Guillem grew up in the Paris suburbs and was on her way toward a gymnast career. She had rare natural physical qualities. "It was a completely different training.” But gymnastics helped sylvie with the spacing. and the knowledge of her body. The toughest part was to learn (and accep) the discipline of ballet, which was not fun. Teachers were very strict and , in her own words don't "transmit the joy”. she entered the company at 16 and three years later, she was appointed étoile by the great NUREYEV. She became the youngest ballerina to receive this distinction in the Paris Opera Ballet's history. “We did have big arguments. He had a terrible character, I had a terrible character. But I respected him a lot, He was one of only three people I have ever met in my long career that I could talk to about dance.” she said about NUREYEV.
Although she is adored by the Parisian audience, Sylvie Guillem decides to leave Paris and join the Royal Ballet London where she would have more liberty! she had a lot of opportunities and invitations of the biggest companies and was not allowed to dance for them although she was very curious about everything she did not know how to do yet. In London Sylvie became one of the Royal Ballet’s principal guest dancers she was able to work on whatever productions she wanted to. Sylvie is known as one of the most strong-minded and demanding personalities the art form has seen. she earned a nickname there "Madame Non". Sylvie won't be forced to do anything and and many great names of the ballet world or not used to hear “ NO” by dancers. Sylvie doesn’t praise a lot of people from the ballet world but she does for MAURICE BEJART.
Maurice Béjart, is a French dancer and choreographer, born in France in 1927. He has contributed enormously to the birth of modern dance in France and Belgium in the 1970s thanks to the generations of choreographers he trained at the Mudra School5. After studies in Paris, Béjart toured with the Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit, the International Ballet, and the Royal Swedish Ballet. In 1954 he founded Les Ballets de l’Étoile (later Ballet Théâtre de Maurice Béjart), for which he choreographed his masterwork, Symphonie pour un homme seul. His has had many more success after that. In 1999, he became director of ballet at Brussels’ Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. The same year he became artistic director of the Ballet of the Twentieth Century, which became one of the foremost dance companies in the world. In 1987 was renamed Béjart Ballet Lausanne. BEJART's work was known for being flamboyant, creative and using traditional material in an original way (sometimes controversial).
Sylvie Guillem and Maurice Bejart had a lot of respect for each other. . Maurice was cultivated, generous, which is quite rare in the middle. He had the gift of magnifying every dancer in his most special way. " And From her, Béjart said that she was an "extraterrestrial". "I knew I wanted to dance with Maurice Béjart when I heard him talk to his dancers ". this master encouraged me to exist as Sylvie Guillem. I was no longer the student who is there to learn and keep quiet. It made you want to be afraid, to go further. With him, we understood that dancing was also about getting to know oneself. And to live " Maurice said of Sylvie that she had "a smart body, who remembered everything, right away" and I told myself that I would like to reach a level where he could talk about me like that. " She said.
the dancer Sylvie Guillem and Béjart was the perfect duet. Béjart considered Guillem as a sharp performer of his dance. The performance was incredible that night. Once the famous red table has been set up, Tokyo ballet dancers arrive on stage. Silence and darkness merge. We can guess his silhouette of Sylvie that comes on stage, climbs on the table and do what she does best. Spectators are amazed.
Maurice and Sylvie shared an unique vision of dance. They both thought that performers should understand that dancing is not lifting your leg or jumping up but playing. Finally, to know oneself. Because the more we know about ourselves, the better we are able to face everything. Classical dancers should do an inner work that they do not practice.
Technic is not enough . As soon as you enter the scene, it's something else, more difficult. you must bring emotion. This gift that we must not only offer to the public but especially to oneself. Maurice was “my first master. The first to compose me in 1986 a solo in Arepo.
Bothstrong minded, there’s a story that sums up good their relationships and the mutual respect hey had for each other: Maurice Bejart is called from the Paris Opera, one day in 1983, and he’s asked if he agrees that an 18-year-old girl is dancing one of his plays at the prestigious competition in Varna. Bejart answers : "Let her go see you!" Sylvie ignored and danced it anyway. She won the gold medal. On her return, maurice met her in one of the corridors of the Opera. She took his hand and takes him to a studio. There she danced Luna, whom he had refused her. At the end, he conceded: "You were right, it was for you."
They were meant to work together !
To know more about the subject:
Maurice Béjart 1922~2007" Shinsokan Dance Magazine, Special Issue Volume XVII No.4 2008
Dunning, Jennifer (November 25, 1985). "Dance: Bejart Company Performs 'Bolero'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
Cruickshank, Judith (November 24, 2007). "Maurice Béjart: Influential choreographer who attracted huge audiences to ballet". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
Miller, Nick (14 August 2015). "Sylvie Guillem: Life in Progress - the greatest dancer of our time calls it quits". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
Sylvie Guillem Biography". Official website of Sylvie Guillem. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
Sylvie Guillem Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Archived 28 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, labiennale.org; accessed 24 October 2016.
Sylvie Guillem l'énervée » [archive], sur Le Monde, 15 mars 2012
Sylvie Guillem - Force Of Nature [archive], documentaire diffusé le 9 octobre 2013 dans l'émission magazine w:en:The Culture Show sur BBC Two.