The Great Chevalier
The Great Chevalier and his Ballet National Folklorique du Luxembourg will be developed over the course of 2024 and 2025 to work towards different versions for theatres and museums, as well as schools.
A first version created for the nuits des musées at the Nationalmusée in Luxembourg was titled: L’Art fait L’Histoire
Performed in the context of the exhibition D‘histoires et d’art at the Nationalmusée um Fëschmaart (Musée d’archéologie, d’histoire, et d’art), 14 October 2023.
The Ballet National Folklorique du Luxembourg will take to the stage once again: Simone Mousset’s fictitious ballet is part of the country’s forgotten, mythical past. The exhibition D‘histoires et d’art is the perfect backdrop for the performance, as it too showcases untold stories of Luxembourg’s cultural heritage.
Despite the busy schedule of the Ballet National Folklorique du Luxembourg, currently on tour in Japan, its acting artistic director, Louis Chevalier, has graciously agreed to take part in the Nuit des Musées to highlight the company’s historical ties with the exhibition’s theme. He saw powerful parallels between the 18th-century painters featured in the museum’s collection and the ballet’s own founding mothers, Josephine and Claudine Bal. It is no secret that the Bal sisters left Luxembourg and their native Broderbour in the 1960s for some of the same reasons that these artists did centuries earlier. Far from urban and artistic centres, there were few opportunities for patronage or exchange, and hardly any appreciation of their art – not to speak of the lack of professionally trained dancers, in the Bal sisters’ case.
What is more surprising is that the exhibition features a painting that the Ballet National’s first ballet, Josiane the Countrygirl, was inspired by, namely the Allégorie de l’Europe. Claudine Bal was a great admirer of Ignace Millim’s work and was famously struck by the uncanny presence of a horse in the composition. In rehearsals, she is said to have uttered the words: “Horse, I salute you” and “It is through the horse-like rocking of our dancers that the world will meet Luxembourg”. The interim artistic director, M. Chevalier, naturally wished to pay special tribute to the exhibition and did not hesitate to torture his agenda to fit in this special performance before joining the company in Japan.
In the short time span of just 15 minutes, visitors will experience such iconic classics as the “Dauwendanz” (the Pigeon Dance) and “The Dance with the High Legs” performed by M. Chevalier, a seasoned dancer himself. Considering the rarity of the Ballet National’s performances in Luxembourg due to their packed international touring schedule, this opportunity to witness a fascinating part of the country’s heritage is not to be missed.
Please note: After each performance you will have the rare chance to get an autograph signed by M. Chevalier himself. Please be aware that we expect the queues to be long, so we advise you to choose the photo you would like to have signed at reception in between performances.
Interim artistic director of the Ballet National Folklorique du Luxembourg: Louis Chevalier
Concept and direction: Simone Mousset
Original choreography: Claudine Bal, Josephine Bal
Additional choreography: Simone Mousset, Elisabeth Schilling
Original music: Maurizio Spiridigliozzi
All dances shown are repertoire of the Ballet National Folklorique du Luxembourg