From the Choreographer —
In 1782, Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, both outraged and seduced the French literary world especially amongst the aristocracy for whom it seemed to be a mirror held up against them by the author. Since its initial publication Dangerous Liaisons has gone on to be one of the most influential and renowned works of its time. It is no wonder that artists of all genres have turned to this tale of deceit and sensuality for their inspiration; and dance should be no exception.
Centered on the Vicomte de Valmont and his former lover, the Marquise de Merteuil,who compete in a scandalous game of seduction, betrayal and revenge, the story offers multiple complex characters and layered relationships to explore through the physicality of movement, both courtly and primal.
With an opulent setting amongst the wealthy of the French, Dangerous Liaisons provides one of the richest design periods that the world has seen, and my collaborators and I were keen to exploit this lavish world to the fullest extent. We wanted something to personify the dark malice that resides within the antagonists’ hearts, and so created a scenic and audible scape that shows both beauty and betrayal. Hidden rooms, secret chambers and magnificent architecture dominate the arrogant lives of the characters on stage. The music, arranged from another French master Camille Saint-Saëns, aids the restraint and beauty of this destructive story.
It has been a pleasure working on this piece with all the creatives and the dancers, in bringing this complex work to life, and letting the characters live off the pages, one that a choreographer can only dream of.
This is a story of the rich, the deceitful and the corruption of all those that stand in their way.
Liam Scarlett, Choreographer