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Under The Presidency of H.R.H. The Princess of Hanover

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Director-Choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot

Jean-Christophe Maillot | History | Dancers  | Les Ballet's Partners


Les Ballets de Monte-CarloLes Ballets de Monte-Carlo is the official company of the Principality of Monaco. It was founded in 1985 by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover in accordance with the wishes of her mother, Princess Grace of Monaco. The company, which features 50 dancers, has performed in more than 25 countries around the world.

“The great tradition of dance in Monaco only holds meaning when it recalls, above all, its devotion to the tradition of modernity. It is not a nostalgic hold on a glorious past, rather is diligently shrouded in the discovery of new expressions.”

-Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover.


Jean-Christophe Maillot

Jean-Christophe MaillotBorn in 1960 in Tours (France), Jean-Christophe Maillot studied dance and piano at the National Conservatory of the Region of Tours under the direction of Alain Davesne. He entered Rosella Hightower’s International School of Dance in Cannes and was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Scholarship for dancers in 1977. John Neumeier hired him to dance with the Hamburg Ballet, where, as soloist for five years, he took on many principal roles. An accident brought a sudden halt to his brilliant dancing career and in 1983, Maillot returned to his hometown of Tours where he was named choreographer and director of the Grand Theatre Ballet of Tours, which later become a National Centre of Choreography. He created more than twenty ballets for this company. In 1985, he created the Dance Festival Le Chorégraphique.

Monaco invited him to create Les Adieux for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and in  1987, Le Mandarin Merveilleux which was a great success. During the 1992-1993 season, he became  Artistic Advisor of Les Ballets, and in September 1993, Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover appointed him as Director-Choreographer.

He impressive productions for Les Ballets include: Bêtes Noires (1993), Home Sweet Home and Dov’e la luna (1994), Ubuhuha (1995), Vers un pays sage (1995), Romeo and Juliet (1996), Recto Verso (1997), l’Ile (1998), Cendrillon and Casse-Noisette Circus (1999), Opus 40, Entrelacs (2000), Oeil pour œil and La Belle (2001), Men’s Dance (2002), D’une Rive à l’Autre (2003), Noces (2003), Miniatures (2004), Le Songe (2005), Altro Canto I & II (2006 et 2008), Faust (2007), Men’s Dance for Women (2009), Sheherazade (2009), Daphnis et Chloé (2010), Opus 50 (2011), and LAC (2011).

His personal quest to push the boundaries of dance, an innate ability to relay the great classics yet also create abstract, contemporary movement has been heralded by the world’s press. With the same verve, he assumes his responsibilities as director and his vocation as choreographer, and relies on dancers whose strong personalities and ability to adapt  spurs his pursuit of this highest professional artistry. This led him, in 2000, to create the Monaco Dance Forum, where he currently serves as artistic director.

In recent years, he has been invited to serve as guest choregrapher by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Royal Swedish Ballet, Essen Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Korea National Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève where he staged Cinderella, and Romeo and Juliet.

He turned his hand to opera in March 2007 when Manfred Beilharz of the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden invited him to stage, Faust, and in 2009 he staged Norma in collaboration with the Opera de Monte-Carlo.

In 2007, he produced his first dance film, Cinderella, followed by Le Songe in the fall of 2008. Maillot's production of La Belle won the Nijinsky award for the best choreographic production of 2001 at the Monaco Dance Forum (in 2002), and the Danza & Danza Prize for the best show (in 2002) awarded by the Italian critics. He was awarded the Choreographer of The Year award in 2007, at the Benois de la Danse Ceremony in May 2008 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow for his production Faust created in December 2007 in Monaco. In 2010 he was awarded the Premio Dansa Valencia 2010 prize.

Jean-Christophe Maillot is Officer of the Order of Cultural Merit and Chevalier of the Order of  St Charles, in the Principality of Monaco and also Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letter and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in France.

For additional information on Jean-Christophe Maillot, please click here


It was in Monte-Carlo in 1911 that Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes gave its first performances, presenting the extravagant works of company choreographer, Mikhail Fokine. The same year, the company took up residence in the Principality and began a series of regular seasons at the Monte-Carlo Theatre. Many fabulous creations that marked the history of dance and theatre were developed and produced in Monaco, including the legendary Spectre de la Rose which premiered in Monaco in April 1911 with Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinski. Also in 1911, Fokine created Narcisse, and in 1913, Nijinski presented his first ballet, L’Après-Midi d’un Faune.

 This golden period came to an end with the start of World War I in 1914. Diaghilev, exiled in the United States, worked diligently to keep his company Serge Lifar in La Chatte (1928)together so that the Ballets Russes were able to return to Monaco in 1920. The choreography of Leonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and a young George Balanchine was enhanced by the decors and costumes of Larionov, Picasso, Braque, Utrillo, Matisse and Bauchant, while composers included George Auric, Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Erik Satie and Henri Sauguet. One prestigious creation followed another: Nijinska’s Les Biches and Le Train Bleu, Balanchine’s Le Chant du Rossignol, Barabau, Le Triomphe de Neptune, La Chatte (which revealed the young Serge Lifar), La Pastorale, Le Bal and Jack in the Box. In 1926, Diaghilev renames the troupe Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo.

After Diaghilev’s death in 1929, René Blum and the Colonel de Basil continue his work through the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, with Nijinska, Massine and Boris Romanoff as the artistic pillars. George Balanchine served as choreographer and created Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Boléro, Les Présages. Acclaimed artists such as André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Joan Miro, Christian Bérard and renowned composers-musicians including Serge Prokofiev and Maurice Ravel also worked with the company.

In 1936, the company’s first choreographer, Mikhail Fokine, returned to work alongside Boris Romanoff, Nicolas Zwereff and artistic director Leonide Massine. Unfortunately, in 1939, World War II put an end to the company which eventually did not return to Europe.

In 1942, Marcel Sablon, director of the Theatres de Monte-Carlo, founded The Nouveau Ballet de Monte-Carlo, with Serge Lifar as artistic director. In 1947, Lifar was appointed to the Paris Opera, and the Marquis de Cuevas took over and renamed the company Grand Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Compagnie du Marquis de Cuevas. In 1950, it became the Ballets du Marquis de Cuevas and was no longer associated with the Principality.

It was at the initiative of H.R.H. The Princess of Hanover that a ballet company finally returned to Monaco in 1985 thus fulfilling a wish her mother, 1969 - Opera - PR, PG, Georges Balanchine a la repr ballet blanchine.tifHer Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, often expressed. On December 21st, 1985, George Bizet’s Te Deum, launched a new chapter in the history of dance in Monaco. Directed by former Paris Opera star, Ghislaine Thesmar ,and Pierre Lacotte, the company rehearses in the Diaghilev studio, performing on the stage of the Salle Garnier in the Monte-Carlo Opera House and immediately starts touring. The repertoire includes works from the Ballets Russes, contemporary pieces from guest choreographers such as Kevin Haigen, John Clifford, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Dieter Amman, Uwe Scholz. In 1989, Jean Yves Esquerre becomes artistic director.

In 1992, Jean-Christophe Maillot joined the company as artistic consultant and is officially appointed director-choreographer by H.R.H. The Princess of Hanover in 1993. Four years later, thanks to his vision Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo leaves its historical home, which had by then become too small, and moves into its own dance center, L'ATELIER.

Jean-Christophe Maillot opens new horizons for the company. He constitutes an original repertory around his own creations mixing the great masters of American abstraction like Lucinda Childs, Karole Armitage, William Forsythe with European choreographers such as Jacopo Godani, Nacho Duato, Larbi Cherkaoui among others.

Maillot’s personal passions are spotlighted in such creations as Dov’è la luna, Recto-Verso, Vers un Pays Sage, Entrelacs, Opus 40, Men’s Dance, D’une Rive à l’Autre, Noces, Miniatures, as well as in the great classics with timeless themes such as Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, La Belle (The Beauty), Le Songe and Faust.

Many artists of various disciplines have collaborated in these works: visual artists like George Condo, Ernest Pignon Ernest, Philippe Favier, Dominique Drillot, composers such as Yan Maresz, Andrea Cera, Ivan Fedele, Ramon Lazkano, Martin Matalon, Gérard Pesson, Marc Ducret, and costume designers like Jérôme Kaplan or Philippe Guillotel. Resolutely turned towards the future and new technologies, the choreographer also calls on photographers and video artists, among whom are Ange Leccia, and Gilles Delmas.

The history of dance in Monaco continues to evolve. Under the Presidency of Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo is now also home to the Monaco Dance Forum and the Princess Grace Academy.

For additional information on the history of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, please click here

Photo Credits from the top of the history section:
Serge Lifar in La Chatte (1928) (c)Archives Monte-Carlo SBM
TT.SS.HH. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace with George Balanchine (1969) (c)Archives Monte-Carlo SBM


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