It isn’t a real feminist’s story. But as an early comedy about the battle of the sexes everyone likes it: William Shakespeare’s piece „The Taming of the Shrew“ provokes the heart not only to feel but also to laugh. John Cranko made a famous ballet out of it – and in 2014, Jean-Christophe Maillot who is ballet director in Monaco created a more modern version with Bolshoi Ballet. Herein, machismo is not the leading idea, and therefor female self-confidence also brings up an enigmatic humour when dealing with love. Maillot who has a seemingly soft style in choreography that is indeed rich with complicated, lovely details, was invited to present his „Taming of the Shrew“ also for the international cinema spectators. And the general director of Bolshoi, Vladimir Urin, says that Maillot fell in love with the dancers of Bolshoi – and they fell in love with Maillot. So they dance this contemporary, but dramatic work with virtuosity and subtile humour in every gesture, even when high jumps of joy and deep impacts of social cliches accumulate for a new sight onto the theme.
Katharina, the main person on stage, is danced by sublime and passionate Kristina Kretova. Her Petruchio who has to be very cruel to her until she shows hin love for him, is beautiful and expressive Denis Savin. Anastasia Stashkevich, tender but strong, dances the lovely sister of Katharina namend Bianca. And wonderful Artem Ovcharenko dances the role of Lucentio who… but go and see!
Jean-Christophe Maillot chose spirited music from Dmitri Shostakovich for his ballet, and the famous orchestra will play with the honoured conductor Igor Dronov.
And here we have a little interview with Mr Maillot, talking about his experiences with the piece and the Bolshoi:
Ballett-Journal: Why did you choose this Shakespeare piece to be your ballet?
Jean-Christophe Maillot: The Taming of the Shrew is a ballet I had been wanting to create for a very long time, after dancing Cranko’s version in Hamburg. I wanted to create it for Bernice Coppieters, who stopped dancing before I finally decided to stage it. Bernice became my assistant choreographer, so in a way I created this ballet for as well, in a way.
Ballett-Journal: When you created „The Taming of the Shrew“, did you think of John Crankos piece? Did you ever dance one of his choreographies? What is your relationship to Cranko, and was it a problem to avoid parallels?
Jean-Christophe Maillot: I did dance Cranko’s version of the „Taming of the Shrew“ but as I restaged it, I decided to turn from his (more classical) interpretation. The „Taming of the Shrew“ is considered as a „macho handbook“, but I decided to turn away from this and see things differently: it’s not about a man taming a woman, the play is about two extraordinary people who finally meet someone who matches their personalities and expectations.
Ballett-Journal: Can you tell me something about your dancers from Bolshoi, please?
Jean-Christophe Maillot: It was a great experience. Initially I wasn’t sure about setting foot outside Monaco to create a ballet, but Sergei Filin convinced me. I happened to meet extremely talented dancers who soon strongly committed to this work and made it theirs. This ballet is based on my encounter with the dancers. The role I created in this choreography are based purely on this encounter and the own personalities and talents of the dancers themselves. If it weren’t them, it wouldn’t be the same choreography. There would maybe not even have been a choreography at all.
Article/interview: Gisela Sonnenburg