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Béjart's Company M makes Lausanne début

Company M is Maurice Béjart’s new dance venture (BBL)

Company M, the new dance company formed by the famous choreographer, Maurice Béjart, has made its début in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

The lakeside town is already home to Béjart's main company, the Béjart Ballet de Lausanne, and his ballet school, Rudra-Béjart, which he founded in 1992.

The new troupe is made up of the class of 2002 - 15 graduates from the Rudra-Béjart school in their late teens and early 20s. Béjart was so impressed by their talent that he "couldn't bear to see them go to another dance company", so he founded a new one just for them.

He called it Company M, after the first letter of his first name - Maurice- but coincidentally he chose Marcia Haydée as his main collaborator on the project. Marcia is a star of the dance world, first as a successful dancer and secondly as the artistic director of the Stuttgart ballet.

"It's a new beginning for Maurice Béjart," she told swissinfo, after Béjart declined an interview. "I think it means a lot to him. They're young kids who are prepared to do anything without any reservation and after a time some dancers lose that."

Inspiration

Marcia says Béjart is particularly inspired by talent, and to mark Company M's début he choreographed a new ballet called "Mother Teresa and the children of the world". Marcia plays the lead in the ballet and says it was an apt choice to launch Company M.

"She was a spiritual teacher and I am a teacher for the dancers. I teach them how they have to develop to become somebody," she says. "It's not only dance I have to teach them, I have to teach them life and discipline and how to make a career and all that with the words of Mother Teresa."

Dance pioneer

The new troupe reflects perfectly Béjart's penchant for experimentation. His work is a fusion of classical technique and modern movement set to a wide range of classical and new music.

He was also one of the first choreographers to use designers such as Gianni Versace and Jean-Paul Gaultier as costumiers long before it became "de rigueur" to do so.

Experimental montage

The troupe's first piece "Mother Teresa and the world's children" is very different from Béjart's other works - it is an experimental montage of opera, song, prose, mime and dance.

Those who enjoy his high voltage precise choreography might be disappointed by the piece as it focuses more on different means of expression than on dance.

However, when the performers are dancing - rather than singing, shouting or pouring water over their heads, their performance is breathtaking.

Opportunity

Béjart's name on any dance CV opens doors, but to have the famous and well-respected choreographer as a mentor is invaluable. The dancers are well aware of this opportunity and all are pleased to be among the chosen few.

"He has a lot of experience and knows so much," Joost Vrouenraets, one of the dancers told swissinfo. "He can teach us things on the stage and in class in the studio, but... he's searching for quality [for the connection] between the body and the mind."

"This is a real chance for me, I'm a very lucky girl, " enthuses Sa Hee Hahn from Korea, "because Béjart is very important in the [dance] world."

The young company made their début on Friday October 18 at Lausanne's Théâtre de Beaulieu, and are now on tour in France and Germany.

swissinfo, Sally Mules

Béjart facts

Company M is made up of 15 dancers from the Rudra-Béjart school in Lausanne.
They made their world début on October 18 in Lausanne's Théâtre de Beaulieu.
Béjart specially choreographed "Mother Teresa and the world's children" for Company M.
They are now on tour in France and Germany.

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Béjart in brief

Maurice Béjart founded his own ballet company in Paris 1954, which became known as the 20th-century ballet. But when the troupe moved from Brussels to Lausanne in 1987 the Béjart Ballet de Lausanne was born. Five years after arriving in Lausanne, Béjart founded the Rudra Béjart school.

He is a prolific and accomplished choreographer, whose has been awarded many honours among them an order of the rising sun from Japan's emperor.

Béjart's work is unique and punctuated by a taste for experimental styles and expression. Critics and dance enthusiasts either love him or hate him, but he leaves few indifferent.

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