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Blanca Li

8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th March 2023.
11.30, 12.30, 13.45, 14.45, 16.30,
17.30, 18.45, 19.45, 20.45 & 21.45h

Balkan Cinema

Le Bal de Paris

conception, direction, libretto: Blanca Li
original music, musical direction: Tao Gutierrez
graphic design, visual direction: Vincent Chazal
costumes: Chanel
VR development: Black Light Studio

production: Company Blanca Li
co-production: Black Light Studio (France), Fabrique d'Images (Luxembourg), Actrio Studio (Germany), Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse (France), Teatros del Canal Madrid
supported by: Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée CNC (France), Film Fund Luxembourg, Epic MegaGrants (USA), Programme Europe Créative - MEDIA of EU, Ville de Paris, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, DICRéAM HTC Vive (official partner Réalité Virtuelle)

exclusive partner: Chanel
thanks to: French Institute, Rencontres de Coproduction du Film Francophone (Luxembourg), Festival NewImages (France), International Film Festival Genève, VR Days (The Netherlands), Cannes XR, Kaleidoscope (USA), Centre Phi (Canada)

duration: 60’ (including 35’ of VR experience)
premiere: Mostra Venice, 2021. / Theater National de la Danse - Chaillot, 2021.

A choreographer and artist of numerous talents, Blanca Li has always been passionate about new technologies and all the possibilities they can offer. For her new creation, she invites audience to the greatest “Bal de Paris”. The entire production is based on various party scenes in which participants dance through the action. The whole experience runs for about an hour, with 35 minutes spent in virtual reality. This technology allows each member of the audience to fully immerse in an artificial, digitally created world. “Bal de Paris” is an immersive experience designed to stretch the limits of both real and virtual worlds through dance and music. Immersion into the virtual environment is carried out progressively. A combination of elements designed to create a festive spirit — set designs as well as ballroom dancing lessons to prepare the participants to step in and out of the VR experience, allowing for a smooth transition. The audience follows a love story through different settings in the virtual world: a ballroom, a garden and a very exclusive night spot. Participants are becoming the guests in the three main ball scenes. Each and every one of them has to choose different avatars, becoming a unique character. Performers are leading guests their way around the space, so that they do not miss anything from the plot, but - everybody is free to dance and experience the party!

The story begins with a great Bal offered in Paris by the rich banker Richard de la Rivière in honor of his daughter Adèle, coming home to Paris after several years travelling around the world. Among family and friends, Adèle’s father introduces her to James Markus, an attractive young businessman. Suddenly, Adèle recognizes Pierre among the guests: Adèle and Pierre were lovers in the past and their story has left them with bitter memories. After a few feuds, they swear that their story is definitely over. Adèle starts to dance with James and then with Pierre, reigniting the sparks that were still alive deep under the ashes of the past. During the garden party, Pierre also revives his memories; in the confusion of their feelings they provoke and fight. We can understand that they have never stopped loving each other and that it is only their pride that prevents them from admitting it... In the virtual world, the participants are the guests of the various parties. They are becoming hybrid and stylized creatures with a human body and an animal’s head. Their costumes, enriched with live and animated patterns, are designed by the Chanel creative team in collaboration with Vincent Chazal. It is a virtual Haute Couture collection, specially designed for “Le Bal de Paris”. The costumes are evolving with the aesthetics of each act, contributing to the overall harmony of the work: black and white at the start of the first act, floral and organic in the second, predominantly red and green in the last act. When putting on the headset, each participant will have to choose the outfit and animal head of the character under whose features he will appear during the experiment. As the virtual reality headset is turned on, the first image he will see will be the appearance of his avatar reflected in a large mirror.

After 5 years of training with Martha Graham in New York, Blanca Li founded her own independent dance company in 1993 in Paris. For the past 30 years, her shows have toured around the world’s most prestigious stages. She has also directed three full-length feature films and a 360° film. Well known institutions, fashion designers, stage and film directors regularly seek her contribution as a choreographer and filmmaker. Her passion for new technologies gives them a special place in her various creations. She was elected member of the Académie Française des Beaux-Arts in April 2019. Her performance “The Garden of Earthly Delights” was performed at the 7th Belgrade Dance Festival.

An extraordinary journey.
© Umbria 24 (Spoleto Festival)

A miraculous universe!
© Le Monde

“Le Ball de Paris“: the party where you are the hero... virtual.
© Le Soir

The incredible immersive show that catapults the viewer into a fantasy world.
© Vogue Italia (Mosta Venice)

*The show is not for children, i.e. children under 12 years old cannot watch it.
Telephones must be set to airplane mood in the entire performance space. The experience is not recommended for pregnant women, as risk of colliding with other persons while wearing the VR headset is not completely avoidable.
We recommend dressing comfortably, with little or no makeup on your face and eyes.
Please avoid high heels to avoid accidents, and also avoid wearing long dresses and wide skirts.
Please avoid wearing long hair in a high ponytail and high bun.
People with pre-existing health conditions that may interfere with the virtual experience should consult their doctor before.

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