VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Prize for Ballet
American Ballet Theatre © Rosalie O'Connor i
During a recent trip to Syracuse, Sicily, ABT’s Artist-in-Residence and MacArthur Award Winner Alexei Ratmansky discovered the ancient text Callirhoe, written by Chariton of Aphrodisias. Widely acknowledged as the oldest surviving novel ever written, the story centers around Callirhoe, daughter of Hermocrates, ruler of Syracuse. The most beautiful woman in the land, she marries the handsome Chaereas, who is tricked into thinking that Callirhoe has betrayed him. In a fit of rage, he kicks her so hard that she falls down as if dead. Not realizing that she is simply unconscious, Callirhoe is placed in a tomb until pirates discover she is alive and kidnap her, beginning a sweeping journey of war, deception, and eventually love triumphing over all.
Formed and cultivated in Greece in the fifth century B.C., the classically ideal body was the center of art and culture. The body in motion, specifically, provided the foundation for the creation of pieces in that tradition and would inspire new works throughout the ages. Drawing from these ideals, Of Love and Rage will be a contemporary interpretation of a timeless aesthetic. The artistic team’s inspiration is based around the Greek aesthetic of beauty and harmony and Of Love and Rage will incorporate elements of ancient Greek drama.
The staging will be based on Guillaume Gallienne’s philosophy grounded in French theater, which is expressive and effusive. His interpretation promises to be full of symbolism and profound emotion, with a focus on the chorus aspect of ancient Greek playwrights.
The chorus, dancing as one unit, will portray supporting emotions in the commentary role found in Greek theater. Through this, the ballet will utilize the full Company of dancers.
The set design and costume design by Jean-Marc Puissant will also incorporate the simple and harmonious style of ancient Greek art combined with a modern flair.
Ratmansky, recognized by The New York Times as “the world’s most sought-after choreographer,” will use both his expansive knowledge of classical ballet’s history and the rhythms, harmonies, and orchestrations of Aram Khachaturian’s Gayane to create a powerful story-driven piece.
Of Love and Rage will connect the past with the present, introducing audiences to a Greek mythological tale that reflects the ever-present emotions of man -- jealousy, love, and rage.
Set & Costume Designer
The National Ballet of Canada