Winner of the 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Ballet and hailed by audiences and critics worldwide for its entrancing choreography and stunning beauty, France’s Ballet Preljocaj’s contemporary retelling of Snow White makes its Melbourne debut on the State Theatre stage this week.
This lush, full-length story ballet by French choreographer, Angelin Preljocaj, features massive sets, the magnificent excess of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies performed by Orchestra Victoria under the baton of Johannes Fritzsch, and an all-star roster of French artists including set design by Thierry Leproust, and costumes by legendary Haute Couture designer Jean Paul Gaultier.
“I was very keen to tell a story, to offer something magical and enchanted. I have followed the version by the Grimm Brothers, with just a few personal variations based on my own analysis of the symbols in the tale,” says Preljocaj.
“The wicked stepmother is without doubt the central character in the tale. She is the one who I examine through her narcissistic determination not to give up on seduction and her role as a woman, even if it means sacrificing her stepdaughter.”
Preljocaj conjures imagery from the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale of 1812 – set around the innocence of a character with ‘skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony’ pitted against the envy, deceit and obsession of her stepmother Queen – a story that has since inspired countless pop-culture interpretations for film, television, music, and dance.
Born in Paris, Preljocaj began studying classical ballet before turning to contemporary dance, eventually founding his own company in 1985. Since then, he has created 50 choreographic works, ranging from solo to larger formations.
Preljocaj regularly collaborates with other artists in various fields such as music (Goran Vejvoda, Air, Laurent Garnier, Granular Synthesis, Karlheinz Stockhausen), visual arts (Claude Lévêque, Subodh Gupta, Adel Abdessemed), design (Constance Guisset), fashion (Jean Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa), drawing (Enki Bilal) and literature (Pascal Quignard, Laurent Mauvignier).
Ballet Preljocaj: Snow White
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 1 – 5 August 2018
Information and Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Image: Snow White (supplied)