If the Béjartian style does not always look as boldly modern as it did decades ago, it’s only because Béjart’s influence on ballet was so great that his revolutionary ideas were taken up as part the standard ballet vocabulary. Premiered in 1959, Béjart’s staging of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring still feels, in many ways, a breath of fresh air as invigorating as the season it celebrates. “It must be simple and strong,” he often insisted, and indeed, the stark simplicity still dazzles: quick leaps, extended arabesques, bodies that slouch and release as if spring-loaded, dancers clashing in frenzied, up-close confrontation. The mass of moving bodies, arranged in shifting geometric patterns, captivates the eye like a kaleidoscope. Béjart’s Ballet of the 20th Century restaged the legendary 1959 production ten years later at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, giving modern viewers the chance to experience the choreographer’s singular vision.
The Orangery Nights – Béjart Ballet Lausanne