4 February 2016 at 12.37pm | 2 Comments
Amélie Gautreau, or Madame X, was the American wife of a French banker and well-known among Parisian high society. Artists competed to capture her beauty and in 1884 — at the height of her fame — she agreed to the request of American portraitist John Singer Sargent.
However, the painting was to be her downfall. After its unveiling at the Paris Salon, a scandal ensued over the suggestiveness of her dress, originally depicted with one strap worn down off her shoulder. The model's reputation was irreparably tarnished and she was ostracized from high society.
'It’s a very relevant story for today in a sense because it’s about how they build you up and then they break you down', says the choreographer. 'There's something magnetic about it.'
In creating the scenario for the ballet, Christopher enlisted the support of dramaturg Charlotte Westenra, whose background lies in theatre rather than dance.
‘It’s a new medium for me', she says. 'You have to tell the story in a different way,' Charlotte explains. 'In the theatre you have a lot of shortcuts, but in ballet you have to do it emotionally and with the music.’
‘I’ve loved his music for years. We talked a lot about the influences of French composers of the time to come up with a sound that was very much of today, but evoking late 1800s Paris,' says Christopher.
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Strapless runs from 18–31 May 2017. Tickets are still available.