France”s Ballet Preljocaj will present its work “Paysage aprs la Bataille” in its University Musical Society debut. Angelin Preljocaj founded ballet Preljocaj in 1984. The troupe of 24 dancers has gained fame performing Preljocaj”s intense choreography.

Paul Wong
The dancers of Ballet Preljocaj show the interrelated nature of sex and violence.<br><br>UMS

“Paysage aprs la Bataille (Landscape after the Battle)” is Preljocaj”s interpretation of the battle between the instinctive forces and the intellectual in the creative process. The piece asks the question of how much of art is intelligence, and how much is instinct.

The opening scenes of the piece begin with couples dancing interrupted by men knocking their partners around. This theme of violence is again repeated when the couples threaten each other with guns. Audience members may be shocked in a scene involving a woman who is the object of offerings from three man objects. However the center of the piece is musical chairs. Six men and three chairs play the game.

Ballet is to be taken in the sense of dance in the company”s name. Ballet Preljocaj”s style is more modern than balletic. Preljocaj abandons the idea of star dancers rather, he puts high physical demands on all the dancers.

Preljocaj”s concern is with the inner feelings, “especially those that people cannot acknowledge to themselves,” said Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times. Preljocaj studied ballet, but found difficult adhering to the proscribed technique of the style. Preljocaj danced with American choreographer Merce Cunningham, which started his learning process of contemporary dance.

Preljocaj has choreographed 20 works, 12 of which are present in the company”s repertoire. He became the first Frenchman to set work for the New York City Ballet in 1997. This highly sought after choreographer is known for his high-energy work that is honest yet beautiful, and glamorous while subversive.

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