“I grew up near the ocean, fascinated, scrutinizing its foam without being able to penetrate its mysteries. What would have I sacrificed, what would have I learned, if a fatal pact had opened the abyss to me? It is in this ocean both familiar and imaginary that mermaids and humans stage their destiny.” Martin Harriague

Drawing on the changing features of legendary mermaids, Martin Harriague superimposes and twists myths to tell us about what is close to his heart. The ocean first, fascinating, threatening and threatened, with which he has maintained an intimacy since childhood. Between humor and seriousness, his choreographic odyssey reveals a humanity embarked by the sirens of “progress” in an adventure that it does not control. Under the gaze of Man, shipwreck is imminent, as on the stormy sea that threatens Ulysses and his sailors, joining here the exalted dance of the famous Corelli’s Folia. The tumult of the storm will reveal the space between two worlds, carried by the ambiguity of the sirens, resplendent and capricious, ingenuous or cruel.
“The world of mermaids, I imagine it dark, bewitching, sometimes frightening, like the seabed that I had the chance to observe several times in Australia and Indonesia, and their hydras undulating in the chiaroscuro”, admits the choreographer. But from these multiple temptations emerges one day the dream creature, unique, which will make a Prince of man. Deprived of the clear sound of her voice and her fins by a sorceress who wants “the most beautiful thing”… what does it matter? The tottering mermaid, now lover and muse, will learn other ways to unveil her soul and celebrate her happiness. The creativity of earthlings would be infinite…

for the Malandain ballet Biarritz, France
18 dancers

Date April 2018
Length 40 minutes

Choreography & scenography Martin Harriague
Music Antonio Vivaldi, Arcangelo Corelli, Francesco Araia & Hermann Raupach
Lights Martin Harriague
Set design Martin Harriague
Costumes Mieke Kockelkorn
Costume makers Véronique Murat, Nelly Geyres, Charlotte Margnoux
Prop maker Annie Onchalo
Set maker Frédéric Vadé
Choreographer assistant Shani Cohen

Coproduction Festival Cadences – Théâtre Olympia, scène conventionnée d’Arcachon, Donostia Kultura – Victoria Eugenia Antzokia de Donostia / San Sebastián Ballet T, CCN Malandain Ballet Biarritz

La presse en parle...

“Harriague has a personal language, that of a strong dance, with deliberately angular and jerky gestures that use tapping feet, domino effects, shifts and knows how to give ensembles – he choreographs for 22 dancers – their effectiveness.”

Le Figaro Culture, Ariane Bavelier, june 6th, 2018


“…his sense of global movement, his space-time relationship are astonishing. He speaks of the ocean, of its wonders (…) He does it with real magic and knows superbly how to stop his dancers on image or launch them into a sort of sabbath.”, Jacqueline Thuilleux, june 11th, 2018