"Mère Teresa et les enfants
Teatro Olimpico, Rome, Italy
October 26, 2002
As the title tells us, Béjart dedicated this ballet to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, thus taking up once again the theme of spirituality so dear to him, and returning to India, albeit a Christian India and not a Hindu one, like the one portrayed in several of his works from a few years ago. The whole is set to Indian music mixed with Bach, Mozart and rock.
The setting is a refuge for the derelict and the abandoned. A middle-aged woman (Marcia Haydée) has renounced her wealth to take care of all these poor people, offering them food and love. Her plain white dress and open blue cardigan recall Mother Teresas habit.
The ballet is very discontinuous. On the one hand, one cant help but admire the performers, who, besides being beautiful, enthusiastic and divinely good dancers, also have to act and sing. On the other hand, there are moments of utter boredom especially when excerpts from Mother Teresas books are declaimed.
The choreography isnt one of Béjarts most original; now and then a dejà vu crops up, like the usual barres, suffered and loved by dancers the world over. This time the barres are not fixed but are brandished like sticks or used as rhythmic instruments, and also for their primary function as supports for dance exercises.
Theres also a piece of academic technique on pointe, as well as some singing. Among all these wonderful dancers Id like to mention Yannis François, from Guadaloupe, who has a particularly beautiful voice, and the excellent William Pedro, from the favelas of Brazil, who, thanks to the help of a patron, was able to attend dance school. Theres also an Italian boy, Vittorio Bertolli, whos likewise very good.
Marcia Haydée, a 65-year-old grand lady of ballet, deserves a special note. Since the 1960s, she has had a brilliant and fabulous international career, though her name was linked especially to the Stuttgart Ballet (which she eventually directed for about fifteen years). An actress-ballerina of great dramatic talent, she inspired many great choreographers. John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillian, John Neumeier and Glen Tetley, just to mention a few, created immortal masterpieces for her.
Her great interpretative abilities and extraordinary personality and stage presence were overwhelming on this occasion too.
The audience, though not large, was warmly appreciative.
Edited by Malcolm.
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