MAURICE BEJART (1927-2007) Autograph manuscript entitled «Symphonie pour un H[omme] seul» and autograph letter signed
6 000 8 000
4 pp. in-folio. Conceived to music by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, it caused a scandal when it was first performed on 26 July 1955 in Paris by the Ballets de l’Étoile which Maurice Béjart had founded with Jean LAURENT. «I. Dance of the lone man. II. Entrance of the girls. The man tries to join in their dance, they do not see him. III. Entrance of the boys. They dance with the girls, the man tries to imitate their gestures and follow their movements. The group of humans forms in front of the man alone, he clings to the crowd who run away but slips and falls alone in the middle of the stage. IV. Entrance of the woman, insinuating, soft and falsely enticing. She dances slowly in front of the man who is frozen by this appearance. V. On a movement of the woman, he approaches her fascinated and begins a brief pas-de-deux but at the moment when he thinks he has her, she suddenly changes her attitude, becomes cold, cruel and the dance of love becomes a fight... VI. The man cuts off his partner’s head..., and remains alone in a half-triumphant, half-painful exaltation, one of the dangling threads wraps itself around his body, like a snake, and immobilises him in his anguish. VII. The women return and surround him, cold and distant... he tries to find the one whose laughter has bewitched him... She suddenly appears and their impossible love tries to live in front of the blind crowd that tirelessly repeats the word «absolutely». VIII. Night falls and the beings turn in the dark like sleepwalkers without ever reaching each other, the woman obediently follows the man and stands still as if hypnotised. IX. Dance of triumph by the man who believes himself to be the master of the woman he loves at last and enjoys bending her like a docile doll. X. She then reappears, a falsely tamed tamer, calling out to the crowd with whom she forms a compact block in front of this man who may have believed for a moment that he was triumphant through love. XI. And the group begins a cruel, cold and mechanical bacchanal around this haggard and solitary man, who will only escape blind violence by a final ascent.” - Autograph letter signed to a «dear Jean» [Jean LAURENT, dance critic and director of the Ballets de l’Étoile]. Stockholm, [probably 1950]. 2 pp. folio, small marginal slits. Beautiful letter about his activity as a dancer and ballet master: «... For me, at the moment, I am working like a black man, for the last month I have been dancing a pas de deux with Elsa-Marianne every evening, except for one day a week when she dances at the Opéra, and I rehearse all day from 9 to 5. I rehearse every day from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. to put on four ballets in a grand operetta, the first one is on 27 January and I dance myself for the first month, then I have a substitute [this is probably the operetta Rose-Marie in which he played with Elsa-Marianne von Rosen in 1950 at the Oscarsteatern. I have a big Spanish ballet of 15 minutes - if you could see me, I think I’m Carmen Amaya [flamenco dancer] - and a sailor’s dance while the chorus sings. I also do a classical waltz and a rumba without dancing to it. It’s exciting because it’s the first time I’ve been able to work with a large corps de ballet (16 girls, 8 boys) and it’s really good for me to be able to adjust ensembles a little. The operetta takes place on a boat, it’s a cruise from New York to Barcelona. I’ll send you some pictures because we take a lot of them... I’m writing to you from the dressing room during the intermission of the rehearsal. Write to me: Oscarsteatern, Kungsgatan, Stockholm”. Maurice Béjart made several trips to Sweden between 1949 and 1952, where he danced with the Swedish ballerina Elsa-Marianne von Rosen, and with Birgit Cullberg’s company.