Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo COPPEL-i.A.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts (SCFTA) presents Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo performing Coppél-i.A. for five performances, March 7-10. For their triumphant return to Southern California, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo will be performing Coppél-i.A., Jean-Christophe Maillot’s new creation, making his return to life-size storytelling.

Choreography: Jean-Christophe Maillot

Original music and arrangement: Bertrand Maillot after Léo Delibes

Scenography, Costumes: Aimée Moreni

Lighting: Jean-Christophe Maillot and Samuel Thery

Dramaturgy: Jean-Christophe Maillot and Geoffroy Staquet

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Photos courtesy of SCFTA

Young lovers, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

The company’s choreographer-director revisits this famous romantic piece, with an original musical score, exploring the ways in which the development of artificial intelligence is shaping our society today and examining what it means to search for the ideal partner in a technologically advanced society – now even more relevant than when the ballet premiered on December 27, 2019 at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

Coppél-i.A. transports the audience into the near future where two young lovers, Frantz and Swanhilda, have their lives upended by an artificial being – shaking their foundations and challenging what they thought they knew of love. Is the ideal partner the flesh-and-blood creature we have always known or the abstract being which questions our position in the human species? By transposing Coppél-i.A. into the era of artificial intelligence, Maillot delivers a stunning new vision of this classic ballet.

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Creation of Coppél-i.A.

According to Maillot, “The idea of creating a ballet around Coppél-i.A. arose in 2016, but my thoughts were drawn to the ‘Girl with Enamel Eyes’ long before then…In fact, these thoughts were rather ambivalent since, although I was truly fascinated by the story of a young man falling in love with a mechanical doll, I was somewhat put off by the romanticism of the original ballet. Then, I had the idea of revising the score to make it possible for me to revisit this classic work in the ballet repertoire by updating the narrative: a story of two fiancés whose love would be challenged by the appearance of artificial intelligence.”

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Swanhilda

He continued, “Since I have always demonstrated profound respect for music and composers, it was not without apprehension that I prepared to commit this sacrilege. But the narrative angle for my ballet helped me do it…Artificial intelligence has so effectively intruded in our daily lives that many things have lost sanctity. They have become, if not expendable, at least replaceable without jeopardizing the world’s survival. Thus, Coppél-i.A. was ‘genetically’ modified.”

He included, “Who knows how long it will take before augmented dancers enter studios to perform choreographies generated by algorithms capable of reproducing inspiration? It is my conviction that this time is still a long way off. Even if it were to happen, the art of choreography will always require a soul, of flesh and sweat to personify emotions convincingly.”

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Copplél-I.A.

Ora Brafman in the Jerusalem Post said, “Jean Christophe Maillot, known for revising and spicing up a line of classical ballets with strong dramatic ingredients, manages to infuse the original story with challenging balletic practices with contemporary notions, as he had done before. Maillot’s Copplél-i.A. regenerated from a mechanical toy, into a laboratory made android with artificial intelligence, and Coppélius named her by a name which suits an avatar: Copplél-i.A. which sounds like a password rather than a female’s name.”

In 1985, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo Company was born thanks to the wish of H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, who wanted to enroll in this dance tradition in Monaco. The new company was directed by Ghislaine Thesmar and Pierre Lacotte, then by Jean-Yves Esquerre.

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Ballets de Monte-Carlo Company

With his experience as a dancer with Rosella Hightower and John Neumeier, and as choreographer-director of the Centre Chorégraphique National de Tours, Maillot has turned the company around. He created more than 40 ballets for her, including several which enter the repertoire of large international companies.

In 2000, Jean-Christophe Maillot created the Monaco Dance Forum, international showcase that presents an eclectic fusion of performances, exhibitions, workshops and conferences. The company regularly participates in this festival, as does the Princess Grace Academy.

The performances are as follows:

–Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

–Friday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.

–Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

–Sunday, March 10 at 1 p.m.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

Tickets start at $39 and are available for purchase online at www.scfta.org, in person at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa and by phone at 714. 556.2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts of 10 or more, call the Group Services offices at 714.755.0236.

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