La Vie en Rose, the In Series collaboration with The Washington Ballet Studio Company, is not your usual song and dance show.
Evoking Parisian life through the musical palette of modern French cabaret chansons and belle epoque art-songs, the work is imaginative, emotional and energetic.
The singers walk and move among the ballet dancers. While this is not unusual in itself, it is conceptually different from musicals where singers and dancers share a stage but are clearly distinct.
In La Vie en Rose, one might say the singers and dancers move together to the same tune. They breathe together. What one sees is how the body of the dancer and the voice of the singer are expressing the meaning of the song simultaneously.
The coordination of two separate arts in this highly creative staging is not simply keeping to the same beat of the music. What the singers and dancers share is their breaths in what might be deemed to be an organic work.
In some cases, props were appropriately used--a marionette scene were two dancers become entangled in their strings pulling them, or two women sitting on a picnic blanket singing while two dancers pour snow flakes on them. At other times, the dancers slumped perfectly immobile in cafe chairs, blending in as they were part of the scenery.
The lyrics of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Belgian Jacques Brel and music by Berlioz, Henri Duparc, Debussy, Edith Piaf are woven together, each a separate piece, that are clearly united as French.
In the end, it was all about love in all its moods, neither always white or black, but as the theme song translates “Life is pink.”
La Vie en Rose is gone now but like its title, not forgotten. It was presented at the Gala Theater in Washington DC in January 2014 and featured renowned soprano Fleta Hylton and tenor Byron Jones, as well as rising stars CarrieAnne Winter, Andrew Adelsberger and Adrienne Starr. The Washington Ballet Studio Company dancers included first season performers Ariel Breitman, Laura Chachich, Esmiana Jani, Josue Justiz, Olivia Lipnick, Carolyn Lippert, Fernanda Oliveira, Sukyung Park, Daniel Savetta, Carly Wheaton and Marshall Whiteley.