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DANCING CHAPLIN
DANCING CHAPLIN THE BALLET, "CHAPLIN DANCES" DIRECTOR SUO'S INVOLVEMENT THE PROJECT
CHOREOGRAPHER DIRECTOR DANCERS MUSIC
WMP

DANCING CHAPLIN

"The concepts, the emotions, the rhythm within the accelerated images and all the poetry emanating from them... the perfectly simple philosophy of the wretched yet inspired Charlie... these all in turn inspired this dance spectacle about a great artist."
Roland Petit

THE BALLET, "CHAPLIN DANCES"

Choreographer, Roland Petit is one of the twentieth century's great artists and continues to maintain his artistic energy into the new century. Inspired by both the films of Charlie Chaplin and the man himself (who he knew personally), he created the ballet, "Charlot Danse Avec Nous" (English title, "Chaplin Dances"). Brimming with humor and pathos, like Chaplin's films themselves, the ballet premiered in 1991 and in nearly 200 subsequent performances, has earned the love of audiences around the world.

DIRECTOR SUO'S INVOLVEMENT

Petit had always had his eye on a film presentation of his ballet and he assigned this project to trusted friend, Masayuki Suo, pioneer of the current revival of Japanese cinema. Drawing upon a wealth of world-wide ballet talent, Petit's ballet and Chaplin's films, Suo reinvented the work and has given it a new lease of life. The resulting piece is not simply a filmed record of the ballet but a union of the two media that reflects the miraculous meeting of the great talents of Chaplin, Petit and Suo.

THE PROJECT

It consists of two halves, the first entitled "The Process" and the latter "The Ballet". From when the idea was first broached, Suo had many discussions with Petit about how the ballet came about and how best to adapt it as a film. In addition he interviewed Chaplin's son, Eugene and the dancer who has played Chaplin in every performance of "Chaplin Dances" since its premier, Luigi Bonino. Suo then followed each of the 60 days of rehearsal and preparation to see how the international cast went about tackling the ballet. With cameras rolling the entire time, across Italy, Switzerland and to Japan, he then distilled that footage into the documentary half of the film.

The second half is based on Petit's ballet, "Chaplin Dances" which originally consisted of 20 scenes in 2 acts and from which Suo selected 13 scenes.@ This allowed him to concentrate on the dancers' expressions and the intricacies of their steps revealing them in ways that would not be possible in a stage performance. All in all it's a novel and evolved piece of work: at once a respectful and affectionate depiction of such masterpieces as "Gold Rush", "The Kid" and "Lamplight" yet also a new expression of these works born of Petit's originality and approaching the very essence of Chaplin, the man.@

Luigi Bonino dances the role of Chaplin, as he has done in each of the performances of this piece while alongside him, Tamiyo Kusakari plays a number of female roles. The soundtrack features some of the great original numbers from Chaplin's movies along with work by J.S. Bach and Fiorenzo Carpi (known for film scores such as Louis Malle's "Zazie in the Metro"). Other music was created for the film by the director's long-term collaborator, Yoshikazu Suo.

CHOREOGRAPHER

Roland PETIT

Active as a choreographer since his teens, he achieved a major hit with "Carmen" at the age of 25 and was then invited to Hollywood to work in movies and musicals. From 1972 until 1998, as artistic director of the Ballet National de Marseille, he secured his reputation as one of the leading choreographers of modern times. Friendships with such luminaries as Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior and Pablo Picasso resulted in them lending their talents to his early projects. Later he became a mentor figure nurturing numerous talents, from his wife Zizi Jeanmaire to others such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova and Rudolf Nureyev. Among his most famous works are "The Young Man and Death", "The Bat",@ "Coppelia" and "The Pink Floyd Ballet".

DIRECTOR

Masayuki SUO

He first came to prominence in Japan with 1989's "Fancy Dance" which has been followed by the critically-lauded and commercially spectacular films, "Sumo Do, Sumo Don't", "Shall We Dance?" and "I Just Didn't Do It". "Shall We Dance?" won all 13 categories at the 1996 Japanese Academy Awards and went on to be released worldwide through Miramax Films, breaking records for a Japanese film overseas. The film was then remade in English starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez and introducing director Suo to a worldwide audience.

DANCERS

Luigi BONINO

An Italian dancer nurtured by Roland Petit and now entrusted to choreograph Petit's work overseas. @Petit states that he couldn't have imagined any other person for the role of Chaplin in his ballet.

Tamiyo KUSAKARI

Since her debut at the age of 18, she danced both in Japan and internationally and secured her place at the top of world of Japanese ballet. In 1996 she starred in Suo's "Shall We Dance?" winning a Japanese Academy Award among others. Impressed with her dancing and acting ability, Roland Petit adopted her as something of a muse. In the current ballet she plays the girl in the bar, the young boy, Chaplin and the mother among other roles in a skillfully flexible performance that acts as her swansong following her official retirement in May, 2009.

OTHER PLAYERS

Jean Charles VERCHERE
Lienz CHANG
Nathanael MARIE
Martin HARRIAGUE
Gregoire LANSIER
Jean Philippe HALNAUT
Carlotta BONINO

MUSIC

Proficient film composer, Yoshikazu SUO has scored all of director Suo's other movies such as "Shall We Dance?" and "I Just Didn't Do It".

Charles CHAPLIN
Fiorenzo CARPI
J. S. BAC

(C)PONYCANYON