"Le Petit Prince"
The National Ballet of Canada
Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
June 4, 2016
By Denise Sum
copyright © 2016 by Denise Sum
The classic French novella "Le Petit Prince" makes interesting material for a new ballet, with plenty of imagination, fantasy, and philosophical explorations. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's well-loved tale is multifaceted, with critical observations and profound truths abound behind the seemingly simple fable. The challenge, of course, lies in how to faithfully transfer the ideas of "Le Petit Prince" into movement. Principal dancer and choreographic associate Guillaume Côté undertook his biggest and most ambitious project to date with this ballet, his first full-length work. It follows on the heels of his abstract one act piece "Being and Nothingness", based on the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, which the company premiered a year ago. He has collaborated with prominent Canadian set and costume designer Michael Levine, not only on the designs, but also on the "Creative Concept" as the program credits states. "Le Petit Prince" also features an original score by Kevin Lau, lighting by David Finn, and video design by Finn Ross. Unfortunately, despite a talented team and a $2 million budget, "Le Petit Prince" felt gimmicky and largely fell short in conveying the timeless magic and poetry of Saint-Exupéry's story.
Dylan Tedaldi in "Le Petit Prince". Photo © Karolina Kuras.