The Korea Herald


Korean National Ballet returns with comic 'La Fille Mal Gardee'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Nov. 3, 2023 - 15:42

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"La Fille Mal Gardee" (Korean National Ballet)

The Korean National Ballet is set to mesmerize audiences with "The Wayward Daughter" ("La Fille Mal Gardee" in French), a delightful comic ballet that portrays the love story of an ordinary couple. The performance is scheduled to take place at the Seoul Arts Center's Opera Theater from Nov. 8 to 12.

Choreographed by Jean Dauberval in 1789, this ballet piece stands as one of the oldest surviving full-length ballets. Last year, the Korean National Ballet introduced its rendition of London's Royal Ballet, re-choreographed by Frederick Ashton in 1960.

"The Wayward Daughter" is classified as a comic ballet, akin to "Don Quixote." Dauberval drew inspiration for the ballet from Pierre-Antoine Baudouin's 1765 painting, which depicted a scene of a young woman scolded by her mother at a rural barn.

What sets this ballet apart is it features ordinary people as the lead characters, deviating from the customary focus on nobility or mythical figures in traditional classical ballet.

The narrative weaves a heartwarming tale of Lise, a spirited and headstrong daughter, and Colas, her lover and a sincere young country lad. Their love faces opposition from Lise's mother, Widow Simone, who intends to wed her off to Alen, the wealthy son of a local nobleman. The ballet promises to entertain the audience with its charming and comical narrative.

"La Fille Mal Gardee" (Korean National Ballet)

Adding a humorous dimension to the performance is the role of the boisterous mother, Widow Simone, traditionally played by a male dancer. The character’s clog dance is one of Ashton's most celebrated numbers, inspired by Lancashire folk dances.

Ribbons play a significant role, symbolizing the connection between the two lovers. Lise and Colas engage in a delightful pas de deux, intricately weaving a pink satin ribbon around each other's bodies to symbolize their affection. In the second act, they perform a Fanny Elssler pas de deux with eight other dancers, each wielding ribbons, creating a spectacular spectacle.