French Literature in the Spotlight
The great classics of French literature take pride of place when it comes to choreographic adaptations. Although Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that “what is essential is invisible to the eye,” we have to acknowledge that the beauty of his Little Prince has been magnified by the talent of scores of dancers over the years. For his part, Gustave Flaubert described ennui, melancholy and the longing for love like no one else could, long before a work was conceived to inject movement into the life of Madame Bovary.
While it would be unthinkable not to mention the ballets celebrating Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (Charles Perrault), The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas) and Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), we would also certainly be amiss if we failed to mention the existence of a choreography built on the lies found in Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, or that of a ballet that tells the story of Les Misérables, even though Victor Hugo’s work is now better known as a musical.
Despite the passage of years, Shakespeare continues to stir hearts with his stories: Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are some of the Shakespeare-inspired ballets performed most frequently around the globe. A few centuries after him, author D.H. Lawrence published Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the tale of a sensual affair between an aristocratic woman and a gamekeeper in puritan post-war England. It was the inspiration for a ballet presented by Les Grands Ballets in fall 2018.
Jewels of the Classical Repertoire
Some four hundred years after Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quichotte, Man of La Mancha continues to be danced around the globe, while Anna Karenina, one of the finest love stories in classical literature, demonstrates the immense talent of Russian author Leo Tolstoy, no matter whether his words are printed on paper or danced under the spotlights.