Maurice Béjart – Psyché Rock (1967)

Mass for the present time is a suite of dances composed by Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier, custom Maurice Béjart for his choreography of the same name, at the Avignon Festival in 1967, in the courtyard of the palace popes, the Ballet of the twentieth century. The ballet was dedicated to Patrick Belda, killed in a car accident while rehearsals began.

Psyche Rock is a piece created in 1967 by Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier (this is a director of film music), which is part of the suite of dances Mass for the present time. This is undoubtedly the best-known title of this work. It is also interpreted by Ypersound and consists of bells, drums, zithers, pipa (a traditional Chinese instrument) and electronic music. It is part of the musical movement of musique concrete and more generally in the movement of industrial music with a traditional method of prophetic message, critical and esoteric its own. It is loosely based, the rhythmic level, on the song Louie Louie, written by Richard Berry. This piece has the distinction of being read backwards without significant change in the music. [Google Translate from French Wikipedia]


David Hallberg at work

Through the bustle of Manhattan’s busy streets, down a nondescript hallway and into American Ballet Theater’s bright NYC studios, one of the world’s preeminent male dancers, David Hallberg, invites us into his fervid world in this dynamic short by director Eric K. Yue. “It’s less about the dance or context of a story, but rather a state of mind,” says Yue of his glimpse into the dancer’s tender preparation. “David makes the most difficult and complex moves seem effortless and elegant.” Contemporary Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds’ track “Brim” taken from From Now I am Winter accompanies the progressive movement as Hallberg leaps through the space, twisting and contorting to original choreography created specifically for this film, by friend and fellow ABT dancer Marcelo Gomes. “There was no preconceived notion of how a role has been portrayed in the past, like Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty,” says Hallberg of performing for the short, which was produced by Forever Pictures. “It is really intimate because the camera is so close, whereas at the Met you have to project to an audience hundreds of feet away.” Principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet Theater, the Dakotan bridged the transatlantic gap in a historic milestone as the first American to join Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Ballet in 2011, now spanning the distance as leading man at both. The cultural polymath dominated the pages of April’s American Vogue, shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz in a dramatic editorial, and he also featured in the latest issue of CR Fashion Book, now seating him firmly in the eye-line of the fashion masses, and dance enthusiasts, alike. [Source]


Swan Lake in concertina form published by Nobrow Press

Based on a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the images are not only inspired by the dramatic story but also the atmosphere of a working dance venue.

Swan Lake is a beautiful concertina book detailing a night at the Ballet. Illustrated by Californian artist Ping Zhu, we see the pristine theatre, audience and performance on one side and the back-stage bustle and nerves on the other. Based on a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the images are not only inspired by the dramatic story but also the atmosphere of a working dance venue. Zhu illustrates the orchestra, the boxes and even the entrance hall and ticket office. Back-stage is a world away from the delicate and precise presentation of front stage – ropes and pulleys, stage hands and prop handlers, seamstresses sewing sequins, ballerinas nervously awaiting their queue, the director signalling and gesturing silently – all in all we are treated to a delightful concertina which anyone with an interest in the performing arts will immediately love. Ping Zhu grew up in Los Angeles and recently graduated from Art Center, Pasadena, USA with a first class degree in illustration. She works as a freelance illustrator and now lives in Chelsea, London. We are very excited to be publishing her first book.

It features the experience of going to the ballet- one side shows the performance while the other shows the backstage. Side story: I obsessively watched the Swan Lake ballet as a child, had a dream of becoming a ballerina, failed at that and became an illustrator instead. In a way, I got the best of both worlds! You can order it from Nobrow site here.

Ping Zhu