Yesterday I spent a wonderful afternoon relaxing and watched Le Corsaire on a DVD dance by American Ballet Theatre. All I can say is WOW!

I didn’t realize just how complex the story was, and my only experience of the ballet was watching snippets of Fonteyn and Nureyev dancing extracts from the second scene. Le Corsaire is fast and exciting and is about slavery and pirates. The DVD starts with the dancers giving an account according to them on the story of the ballet.

The first performance of Adam’s Le Corsaire was at the Paris Opera on the 23rd of January 1856. It was a great success, mainly because of the perfect meshing of the stage set, choreography, dancing and music.’ The elaborate final scene was a hit.

A romantic poem that was published in 1814 was the inspiration for Le Corsaire. Hector Berloiz got his inspiration from the poem to create his concert overture for the ballet. Between Librettist Jules-Henri de Saint George and choreographer Joseph Mazilier, who became the first ballet master at the Paris Opera in 1853, they turned the poem into a wonderful ballet. They had opulent stage sets and grand theatrical illusionary effects supported by Adam’s music which all contributed to the great success of the world premiere of Le Corsaire.

The high society of the Second Empire Paris visited the performances of Le Corsaire just to see Victor Sacre, who was the opera’s head machinist, stage the dramatic sinking of the pirate ship in a turbulent storm at sea.

The original backdrops and costumes were all destroyed in a fire. The Paris Opera staged a new production under the direction of Mazilier in 1867. In this performance a series of pieces of music by other composers were added as lasting supplements to Adam’s original score.

In 1899 Marius Petipa broke completely with the original Paris production’s material and subjected Le Ciorsaire to the forms of dance expression of the classical Russian school.

The American Ballet Theater is one of the world’s leading dance companies. It was founded In 1940 and has been a guest at all the significant dance festivals across the globe. Every year the American Ballet Theater tours through America and reaches audiences of more than 600 000. This Company is one of the few American cultural institutions to receive subsidies from the United States Department of State.

The A.B.T. performs mainly at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. A.B.T. also runs it’s own ballet school. Soloist, Kevin McKenzie, has been at the helm of the famous company since 1992. Under his direction the American Ballet Theater celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its founding with a series of gala performances in the year 2000.

American Ballet Theaters performance of Le Corsaire is nothing short of brilliant and is performed by well known dancers Angel Corella, Joaquin De Luz, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Vladimir Malakhov and Ethan Stifel. You may remember Julie and Ethan from the movie Center Stage.

It was wonderful to see so many brilliant dancers on the stage at one time all performing principle roles of some sort In Le Corsaire.

Ballet Dancing is a wonderful profession and pastime for Michel Maling. Visit her blog.