Théâtre national de Chaillot. 12/I/13. José Montalvo : Don Quichotte du Trocadéro. Choreography, scenography and video : José Montalvo. Artistic assistance : Patrice Thibaud. Costumes : José Montalvo, Siegrid Petit-Imbert. Music : Ludwig Minkus. Arranger, contemporary music composer : Sayem. Lighting : Gilles Durand, Vincent Paoli. Artistic collaborator to the video : Pascal Minet, Sylvain Decay. Graphics : Jocelyn Casanova, Sylvain Decay, Clio Gavagni, Michel Jaen Montalvo, Basile Maffone. Created and performed by Patrice Thibaud, Natacha Balet, Lucie Dubois, Nathalie Fauquette, Sandra Mercky, Jennifer Suire aka Pookie, Sharon Sultan, Abdelkader Benabdallah aka Abdallah, Warenne “Desty Wa” Adien, Simhamed Benhalima dit Seam Dancer, Jérémie Champagne, Lazaro Cuervo Costa, Blaise Kouakou, Roberto Pani aka Bobo.
José Montalvo is back as a full-fledged choreographer now that he has left his job as director of the Théâtre de Chaillot and his “partner” Dominique Hervieu. His latest creation, a refreshing, daring vision of Don Quixote of la Mancha, after a ballet by Ludwig Minkus, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, proves it.
Montalvo had the smart idea to choose Patrice Thibaud as Don Quixote, the penniless hidalgo who fights against windmills and travels around the country astride his loyal steed Rocinante,. Mime, a comedian and sometime dancer, in his fifties, spices up this exhilarating and rejuvenated version of the ballet. Thibaud is always funny, apt, spot-on. At his side is Sancho Panza, played by a gifted hip-hop dancer, who also serves as a narrator.
Another brilliant idea of Montalvo’s is to mainly use Minkus’s original music and a simple scenario, that closely follows Petipa’s sequence of scenes. On the village green, we find boys, girls, various forms of entertainment (flamenco, tap dance, African dance, and so on) and above all the thwarted love story involving Kitri (the redhead Sandra Mercky), Don Basilio (the handsome Cuban Lazaro Cuervo Costa) and Kitri’s husband, Camacho (a beefcake role, perfectly played perfectly by Roberto Pani aka “Bobo”). The trio works admirably, especially when Patrick Thibaud (Don Quixote) comes to meddle in the affair.
Video excerpts, filmed in the subway, are used as interludes, strengthening the pattern of the different parts of the ballet. They recount Don Quixote and Sancho Panza’s travels around the world. An old man, playing Cervantes, lends these images a great deal of humanity.
Onstage, as always, Montalvo mixes different cultures, using classical ballet, African dance, hip-hop, tap-dancing, and flamenco, with generosity, skill, and humor. For the performance to be a perfect success,: the last part should have been ten minutes shorter. José Montalvo may not know when to stop, but we smile and have lots of fun in this Don Quixote from the Trocadéro, who launches his attack on the hill of Chaillot. A must-see !