A New Dawn for Béjart Ballet Lausanne

A New Dawn for Béjart Ballet Lausanne

vendredi 14 juin 2024


A full house at the Théâtre de Beaulieu for the premiere of this exceptional show, which played to sold-out audiences. The crowd was captivated even before the performance began: proof that the name Béjart still draws the masses.

Julien Favreau, the interim artistic director replacing Gil Roman since 28 February, has brilliantly taken up the challenge of leading the BBL.

Would it be inappropriate to say that he embodies the pillar of this iconic company?

No, for he perfectly symbolizes the strength of this legendary structure whose reputation, firmly established, still needs to constantly reinvent itself, just like other companies. With class, energy, and passion, Favreau maintains this delicate balance.

The atmosphere backstage and on stage speaks volumes: the smiling artists seem happy to continue a beautiful legacy, and the prevailing ambiance in the theatre exudes serenity.

Goodbye stress, hello conviviality!

While the next chapter of this journey remains to be written, fans of Maurice Béjart can rest assured that the legacy is in good hands and the repertoire of the great choreographer is secure.

A Powerful and Moving Hamlet

In the first part, the world premiere of Hamlet, choreographed by Valentina Turcu, captivated the audience. This ballet, performed by eleven artists, explores human madness and passion, shadow and light, with rare intensity. It is a masterfully orchestrated production where each dancer shines in turn in a hypnotic atmosphere.


Egos are left behind, allowing each artist’s talent to magnify the whole. Perfectly in sync with the music, the scenes of couples dancing to pieces by Max Richter, Muse, and Cigarettes After Sex stand out for their poignant intensity and almost animalistic expressiveness, elevating each movement with drama, intense love, and anger.

Julien Favreau’s intense portrayal of the Specter haunting the title character of Shakespeare’s play was particularly striking, marked by his tranquil strength and immense power. From his first steps on stage, his overwhelming aura captivates the audience, his impenetrable gaze hidden behind sunglasses, establishing an unbreakable connection between performance and raw emotion.

BBL Hamlet©Gregory Batardon Lausanne 13.06.2024 209

No words are needed to embody these diverse characters; dance, the universal language, allows each movement to convey magic, transporting the spectator to a world where emotions speak for themselves.

Óscar Eduardo Chacón Ramírez (Hamlet) creates a vertiginous sensation, using the stage hypnotically. Min Kyung Lee, with grace and fragility, portrays a heart-wrenching Ophelia. Together, they transform each movement into a myriad of emotions, enchanting the audience with their chemistry and artistic depth. Their performance, both powerful and delicate, transcends expectations, offering a contemporary and poignant interpretation of Shakespeare’s drama.

Rhapsody in Blue: An Ode to Artistic Freedom

In the second part, Rhapsody in Blue, choreographed by Giorgio Madia, celebrates artistic freedom to a score by Gershwin.

The movements, incredibly pure, combined with the poetic set, create a light-hearted yet harmonious atmosphere. The dancers, all dressed in blue, exude a lightness and elegance sometimes tinged with playfulness, reminiscent of the vivacity of SCHRäääG, choreographed and presented by Kinsun Chan last February at the PSCP (independent workshop of the main Prix de Lausanne competition).

BBL Rhapsody in Blue©Gregory Batardon Lausanne 13.06.2024 281 imageonline.co merged 1
On the left : BBL_Rhapsody_in_Blue©Jean-Guy_Python / on the right ; BBL_Rhapsody_in_Blue©Gregory_Batardon

The moving set, resembling luminous reeds that sway and form an enchanted barrier, adds a musical theatre dimension to the choreography, creating a unique and almost magical atmosphere. This visual setting enriches the impression of a dynamic and lively performance to Gershwin’s jazzy notes.

Béjart’s Boléro: The Must-See Performance

If there is one performance to see in a lifetime, it is Béjart’s Boléro set to Ravel’s music.

Engaging in a 15-minute physical challenge, marked by a repetitive and mesmerizing rhythm, Julien Favreau lights up the stage. Faithful to the choreographer’s spirit, he proves brilliantly that he needs nothing to captivate.

How to translate the essence into movement? Watching the soloist evolve on this immense red table, one thing becomes clear: embodying one’s authenticity entirely. Letting the melody carry you, merging with the music to become nothing but yourself.

CLP00963 BBL Bolero ©Clarissa Lapolla Bari 26 octobre 2023 1

The most beautiful things are often the simplest, but also the hardest to achieve. It is in this simplicity, and thanks to unwavering perseverance, that the magic continues to operate, time and time again. Favreau, in perfect harmony with the music and the thirty dancers around him, resembles an idol on a red altar. Béjart’s choreography, with its angular movements and squared arms, is formidable yet magnificently executed by the troupe.

One might think of a work by the painter Fernand Léger, known for his cubist style; every element seems carefully orchestrated to form a harmonious and energetic whole.

The piece, sensual and electrifying, showcased the dancers’ bodies to perfection. The swaying hips and exchanged glances added a touch of almost animalistic sensuality, captivating all eyes.

The audience, delirious, gave a standing ovation almost as long as the “Boléro” itself. Ravel and Maurice Béjart would have been proud of this exceptional performance.

We witnessed a unique evening, rare in the history of dance. Each performance, magnificently interpreted, attests to the vitality and excellence of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne. This evening at the Théâtre de Beaulieu will remain etched in memory as a moment of grace, elegance, and power.

Cécile Day-Beaubié

14th June 2024

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