|Philippe Guillotel||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Bertrand Maillot||Score Composer|
|Felix Mendelssohn||Score Composer|
|Daniel Teruggi||Score Composer|
Le Songe, or The Dream, based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, revolutionizes the realm of contemporary ballet. I was expecting something lacking costumes, sets, and emotion based on a thin plot with bland music. Le Songe proves just the opposite. Though the sets are minimalist, the costumes are beautiful and easy to recognize. In balletic form, Shakespeare's play can prove somewhat difficult to interpret, so all of the Athenians have their names written out on the costumes. For this work, the dancers are spectacular, perfectly mastering the language of the body demanded by Jean-Christophe Maillot, the choreographer. The music is remarkable. Shifting between three composers (Felix Mendelssohn, Daniel Teruggi, and Bertrand Maillot), the viewer undergoes perfect orchestral scores, electronic screeches, and flat-out screaming and sound effects from the dancers. After watching, the ballet struck me as something very familiar: almost Cirque du Soleil-esque. However, the acrobatics are replaced with sinuous ballet, terrific acting, and a very enriching and emotionally complex story, something the circus can't achieve in this grandeur. The DVD for this ballet is filmed in very high quality. Apart from the quality and ability to capture the entire piece in its fullest, there are several angles that enrich the ballet, and wouldn't be able to have been viewed by a live audience. These include the artisans behind their small set trying to change costumes and Lysander spitting on Hermia, among other shots. The accompanying booklet is also helpful in the direct deciphering of the story, with the 23 scenes and epilogue clearly written out. Though this is far from the classical Petipa, or the neoclassical Balanchine, Maillot proves that ballet is not dead. He's taken an ancient story and spun it with modern effects and contemporary dance to create almost a new genre of ballet, a highly plot-based contemporary ballet. This DVD belongs in any ballet or dance fan's collection.