His name may be a tongue-twister, but on January 20 and 21, you can enjoy French choreographer Angelin Preljoçaj’s dark, bare and powerful dance movements as his troupe performs in the city for the first time.
As the artistic director of France’s Ballet Preljoçaj dance company, Preljoçaj has, since the 1990s, been one of the world’s foremost names in contemporary ballet.
He will be touring Mumbai and Delhi this month as part of Bonjour India, an ongoing cultural festival organised by the French embassy in 14 Indian cities from January to March.
In Mumbai, Ballet Preljoçaj will stage ‘And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace’, a production based on the Biblical prophecies of the Apocalypse. Preljoçaj choreographed the piece when he was invited to collaborate with Russia’s Bolshoi ballet company in 2010.
To design the sets, he invited Indian artist Subodh Gupta, who created backdrops, props and even headgear for the dancers using stainless steel utensils.
“Gupta gave me a different vision of the apocalypse, taking it beyond the basic word to a more impressionistic form,” said Preljoçaj.
‘And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace’ features 11 dancers from Ballet Preljocaj and 10 from Bolshoi.
“The Apocalypse is a text about revolution, something that is common to the histories of both France and Russia,” says 55-year-old Preljoçaj, who was trained in classical ballet but moved to contemporary dance in his 30s, to explore his creativity.
Adds Aruna Adiceam, cultural attaché with the French embassy in India: “Gupta’s sets have inspired the whole choreography and the production symbolises a bridge between two cultures — Indian and French.”