Le Rêve: A Collection of Imperfect Dreams

August 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm 7 comments

Surrealism (sə-rēə-lĭzəm): (n.) 1. A 20th-century literary and artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter. 2. Literature or art produced in this style.

Traipsing Through the Internet on a Saturday Afternoon

I’ve watched several of last week’s SYTYCD performances multiple times now, including one of my faves: Jason Gilkison’s paso doble set to music called “Filet” from the Le Rêve soundtrack. (The Katee/Josh video is in the Top 6 SYTYCD Recap post, below this one, if you want to have another look).

There was very little info given about the music used for this routine, so a-googling I did go. What I learned was … the subject of a surreal, and eccentric, musing. After the jump.

Turns out, Le Rêve (sub-titled, “A Collection of Imperfect Dreams“) is a Cirque du Soleil-like show created by a former Cirque director, Franco Dragone. The music is by a former Cirque composer, Benoit Jutras. Cirque, Dragone and Jutras are all based, originally, out of Montreal, and Dragone was a creator of Celine Dion’s A New Day show at Caesar’s Palace. Le Rêve has been the main show at The Wynn, Las Vegas, for going on over two years now.

There are obviously very close links between Las Vegas and the choreographers featured on SYTYCD, not the least of which is Mia Michaels and her Celine Dion connections. Mia was the chief choreographer for A New Day, under the direction of Dragone. She also was (is?) choreographer for Cirque’s Delirium.

Someone mentioned on the Play-By-Play the other day how frequently we have heard Dion’s music used (and you will know, if you’ve been reading, that she is definitely not one of my faves, although I fully acknowledge her great technical skill and broad appeal). Dion was last heard on SYTYCD screeching out All By Myself for Josh and Katee’s first routine of last Wednesday, the contemporary one by Tyce DiOrio. And I still enjoyed it (the routine, not the screeching) thoroughly, although the Eric Carmen version of ABM is preferable. Carmen based All By Myself on Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, so there’s the “high” art meets “low” that I always look for.

Here, have a listen for yourself:

(why this is uploaded with a Sandals resort backdrop is beyond me, but I enjoy the tremendous–although undoubtedly unintentional–irony of it)

And here’s the original, played by Rachmaninov himself:

(what a find, god I love Youtube)

So back to the paso doble and the music from Le Rêve. We had the choreographer Jason Gilkison of SYTYCD Australia choosing to set a Spanish-influenced routine to music from this very French, surrealist Cirque-like show, the soundtrack to which sounds much more like a Germanic opera, in particular Carmina Burana by Orff, which is what I mistook it for until it transitioned into the synthesized techno-pop sound in the middle.

I’ll give you a moment to digest that sentence.

* waits *

That’s actually what started me out on my search into the music used in the Gilkison/Josh/Katee routine: I was convinced the composer had sampled Carmina Burana in creating this piece. I’m still not sure he didn’t, and may have to buy the entire Le Rêve soundtrack to find out for sure. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Michael Smuin's Carmina Burana. The Smuin Ballet, San Francisco. Photo by Tom Hauck.

As for Carmina Burana: it’s a damn fine opera, and very listenable. Non-shrieky, which is more than can be said for Celine most times. I enjoyed learning today that it was based on a series of poems written by clerical students in the 13th Century, all of which satirized the church, and/or were drinking songs. I guess students will be students, no matter the century. (I picture them playing a form of beer pong with the sacramental wine).

Wikipedia notes the themes of Orff’s Carmina Burana are “as familiar in the 13th century as they are in the 21st century: the fickleness of fortune, wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.” Making it the perfect fodder for a Las Vegas show, so I remain absolutely convinced that there is SOME link between Carmina Burana and Le Rêve. There has to be.

I had no idea what Carmina Burana was about, not really being able to understand the words. You know, it has a great beat and you can dance to it. hehehe Actually, I vacuum to it. With the volume up really loud. My neighbours also enjoy it. Well, that’s how I interpret them never having called the cops on me, anyway.

An image search on Carmina Burana reveals this:

Which kind of freaked me out. Just last night I finished the Portuguese writer José Saramago’s Nobel-winning novel, Blindness. One of the last images in the book is of a scene in a church, where the remaining sighted person and central character, the Doctor’s Wife, sees that just before everyone in the entire country turned blind, someone came in–presumably the parish priest–and covered all the statues’ eyes with blindfolds, and painted all the artworks with white blindfolds as well. A powerful image, and–in the novel–a decidedly surreal one.

I have no idea what this has to do with drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust except that the moral of Blindness appeared to be that when people go blind–a metaphor for something that I haven’t quite figured out yet–society breaks down, and things get really ugly, really fast. In other words, it’s only fun until you lose an eye. Or two.

All that to say, “Filet” from Le Rêve is an awesome piece of music based on a show that is rife with spectacle and surrealism, as is Carmina Burana. And surrealism is just another word for random but serendipitous connections … or, a collection of imperfect dreams.


Entry filed under: Books, Dance, Music. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

SYTYCD Top 6: They Are All Winners Le Rêve or La Rêve? Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. AlexM  |  August 13, 2008 at 1:16 am

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  • 2. zennifer516  |  August 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Thanks, Alex! Always good to know people are reading my random musings.

    And thanks for the RSS add 🙂

  • 3. :)  |  August 18, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Hey, this was awesome 🙂 Honestly, I found it trying to figure out where in the world I could download “Filet” because I think its amazing and its not on iTunes or in stores or anything! It’s very frustrating… If you’ve found a way to get it or even the whole soundtrack, I would love to know about it.

    Thanks 🙂

  • 4. zennifer516  |  August 18, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Hi! Thanks for visiting.

    Here’s all I’ve been able to find on the Soundtrack for this music. Check out this link: Soundtrack.net

    There’s a review there, and a track listing. It has a link to Barnes & Noble for ordering, but it seems to be dead. But, if you go to amazon.com and do a search on “le reve, dragone” you will get the CD. Only used available, and they are expensive (ranging from $44 to $62).

    You might also try eBay.

    Let me know if you have any luck! Cheers.

  • 5. jjdanwcer  |  March 28, 2010 at 4:39 am

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  • 6. Amanda  |  November 10, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    I saw Le Reve in Vegas in August of 2011. AWESOME show. My family and I were sitting in our seats before the show started and noticed the beautiful house music that was playing and how familiar it sounded. Since then, we have been searching and searching for some trace of the house music and have come up empty-handed it seems. Does anyone know how to find this beautiful instrumental piece?

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