The adventure of the Indes Galantes at the Opéra Bastille

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Indes Galantes by Philippe Béziat. France, 2020. 1 DVD Pyramide Vidéo. Duration: 108 mints. Original French version, subtitles available in English. Bonus: cut scenes (14 min.); Les Indes Galantes, short film by Clément Cogitore – 2007 (6 min.)

From rehearsals to public performances, director Philippe Béziat offers with Gallant Indies a fascinating documentary dive into the birth of a creation. By creating a dialogue between urban dances and lyrical song in opera-ballet from , The gallant Indies, the director and the choreographer Bantou Dembelé introduced in 2019 a new vocabulary of the body to the Paris Opera.

This fascinating documentary tells how about thirty gifted dancers of krump, voguing, popping or jump style found themselves on the stage of the Opéra Bastille, surrounding Sabine Devieilhe in The gallant Indies, first baroque opera staged in 2019 at the Opéra Bastille under the musical direction of . From the first scenes of the film, , plastic artist who signed his first production here, explains to the dancers his intentions: to tell the story of communities from all over the city, like these peoples from all over the world evoked in Rameau’s work. The film is as much a look at these dancers, very foreign to the world of the Opera, who discover baroque music and the richness of the libretto, as a report on the show in progress. Dramaturgy, set and costume design, choreography, rehearsals by singers and choirs, everything is subtly evoked over the rehearsals and the unveiling of the production.

The more the film progresses, the more the show is given to see, with longer extracts of the staging and back and forth between moments of rehearsal and performance, sometimes steeply edited. These moments alternate with very impressionist portraits, like a story on social networks, highlighting the testimony of each of the dancers embarked on this adventure. From lads to the female cabin scene, they had to make do with clichés linked to the image of their bodies or the color of their skin, to transcend them. And they succeed easily, as their immersion in the world of the Opera has been total and sincere.

The last part of the documentary is devoted to the exegesis and the setting up of the famous “peace pipe dance performed by the savages”, final scene of the Gallant indies. Clément Cogitore made a short film about it in 2017 for the Troisième scene website, which earned him the invitation to stage the complete opera on the Opéra Bastille set. The end of the rehearsal, where dancers, singers and choristers are mingled, gives rise to a moment of spontaneous exultation, around the choreographer. , both protective and galvanizing.

A few minutes before the curtain rises, encouragement mingles with prayers to resist the jitters, while behind the scenes, eyes are raised feverishly towards the monitors. A magical moment to share with all these artists …

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More details

Indes Galantes by Philippe Béziat. France, 2020. 1 DVD Pyramide Vidéo. Duration: 108 mints. Original French version, subtitles available in English. Bonus: cut scenes (14 min.); Les Indes Galantes, short film by Clément Cogitore – 2007 (6 min.)

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