Renowned French ballet troupe to perform Sunday, May 3 in San Diego

Editor’s Note: Malandain Ballet Biarritz has changed its originally planned program from “Roméo et Juliette” to three ballets (“Estro,” “Nocturnes” and “Bolero”) instead, due to delayed shipping of costumes and sets. Malandain Ballet Biarritz will still perform 8 p.m. Sunday, May 3 at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

Choreographer Thierry Malandain and his Malandain Ballet Biarritz will perform three ballets — “Estro” to music by Vivaldi, “Nocturnes” to music by Chopin and “Bolero” to music by Ravel — at the San Diego Civic Theatre on Sunday, May 3, 2015.

Based in the Basque coastal resort of Biarritz, Malandain has created 80 classical works with a contemporary twist.

Malandain says it’s tradition to revisit the great classics and myths, and to mix original ballet technique with innovations. “Choreographers have always done it over the course of history,” he said. “There were already flexed feet and inward positions in the beginning of the 19th century. We might have forgotten, but well before the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev, some French choreographers used usual clothes and that naturally influenced the vocabulary.”

Malandain’s choreography is described as emotionally intense. His models are dance artists John Cranko, Hans van Manen and Kiri Kylian. He also admires the intelligence of Mark Morris. He says dancers are humans first and must know why they are dancing and the motivation.

“It is not about making excessive choreographies, linking the moves together for no reason,” Malandain said. “It is about giving a sense to the choreography. I remain attached to the vocabulary of ballet; I am considered as a ‘neoclassical’ choreographer in France. A choreographer is the product of his origins, of all forms of constraints. I do not use pointe shoes in my ballets because I have never had the financial means to do it. Contemporary dance only was respected in France at the beginning of my career. I put up resistance while adapting to the circumstances.”

• IF YOU GO: La Jolla Music Society presents Malandain Ballet Biarritz performing three ballets — “Estro” to music by Vivaldi, “Nocturnes” to music by Chopin and “Bolero” to music by Ravel. 8 p.m. Sunday, May 3, 2015. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown San Diego. $20-$75. (619) 570-1100.

• La Jolla Music Society:

• Malandain Ballet Biarritz: