Ballet Russe

Joseph Simon

Ballet Russe is a duet verging between ballet and house dance. Inspired by the story of the Ballets Russes, that stirred up Paris a century ago with their unconventional and foreign flair, Joseph seeks to reinvestigate the attraction of the exotic.

Ballet Russe is a new chapter in Joseph’s series Ballet Fantasies. In this series, he uses codes and techniques of classical ballet in alternative ways. He asks himself how and if ballet can still be transformed to capture our zeitgeist. One of his strategies is the use of elements from breaking, house, popping and dancehall.

Joseph doesn’t simply mix the dance languages but seeks to relate to different cultural traditions he only partly embodies. As a white man growing up in different countries (third culture kid) who also taught himself different dance languages, Joseph questions not only de attraction to the exotic but also what is exotic to whom and why.


Concept, choreography: Joseph Simon Dancers and co-creators:  Alesya Dobysh, Lukas Karvelis Dramaturgy: Merel Heering Light: Quintus Music: Jimmi Jo Hueting, Une nuit sur le mont chauve, Mussorgsky Production: Dansateliers Financially supported by: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Special thanks to: Bilal Bachir  and special Thanks to: Auguste Bournonville for his genius contribution to Ballet and Ilyana Karthas author of When Ballet Became French, source of inspiration for this piece.