It’s no secret that the classical
and the neoclassical ballet has a been a primary proponent in my
artistic and physical output over the last 4 years (and for probably
the rest of my media arts career), and as the major projects have
been developed and taken shape, I think often about the initial
classical ballet performances that began to shape the various
The memories always circle back to the Paris Opera Ballet and danseuse étoile Agnès Letestu.
The first classical DVD I bought was the Paris Opera Ballet’s production of LA BAYADERE and immediately noticed Agnès Letestu as one of the Three Shades, thus making my second purchase the 2005 Paris Opera Ballet production of Swan Lake which features Agnès Letestu as Odette / Odile.
Amongst everything else in the performance, Letestu’s potrayal of Odile consciously cemented my interest in the ballerina as a whole; the makeup, facial features, gestures, costume, form and Agnès Letestu’s incomparable angular posture.
Over the years THE RITA has revolved many works around European genre film and pre-code vamp / flapper actresses, and my continuing life dedicated to the classical ballet has informed fascinations with other ballerinas such as Ludmila Semenyaka, Natalia Bessmertnova, Tatiana Terekhova, Marianela Nunez, Claire Marie Osta, Natalia Osipova, Maya Plisetskaya, Svetlana Berisosova, Ariana Lallone, Olesia Novikova and Alina Cojocaru, but again, for me Agnès Letestu is always the apex representation of the female performer.
The Letestu 7”
on Disclosures has been the most difficult releases I have had the
opportunity to work on as my audio and aesthetic tribute to Agnès
Letestu had to be all encompassing and representative for me.
The various processed sound samples from rare imported documentaries layered with further mic’d pointe shoe sounds from Arlo Doyle, the 7” format (which is always my absolute favourite) and the imagery all had to be seamless.
The only thing I could imagine being more difficult is meeting Agnès Letestu one day and nervously expressing to her that all my primary fascinations with the aesthetic and movements of the ballet have been shaped by her.
-- Sam McKinley --
Limited to 235 copies, includes an insert.
A: La Courtisane
Old Europa Cafe AVS