Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

A New Canadian Classic: Guillaume Côté's Le Petite Prince

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of Pointe.

National Ballet of Canada principal dancer and choreographic associate Guillaume Côté has created several one-act ballets for the company, including 2015's Being and Nothingness. But the June 4 premiere of Le Petit Prince, adapted from the novella by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, marks his first attempt at evening-length storytelling.

The dreamy, unusual story—which features a pilot who has crash-landed in the Sahara Desert and a boy who has fallen from an asteroid—might not seem like perfect choreographic fodder. "I was nervous to try and tell this story in a straightforward, linear way," Côté says. But he credits his team, including set and costume designer Michael Levine, and the ballet's three-year development process, with boosting his confidence. "The ideas have evolved in a very honest and organic way. I've taken my time to find the right movement vocabulary, and to gain experience telling stories clearly through dance."



Côté with artists of the ballet in rehearsal for "Le Petite Prince." Photo by Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

Though his shorter works have veered toward contemporary ballet, Côté returned to his classical roots during the creation of Le Petit Prince. "Trying to reinvent and remix the classical form, while keeping structure and virtuosity, is liberating," he says. The ballet, with a cast of 27 dancers, has many distinct characters. "I've created different ways of moving for each one," Côté says, "while making sure the overall production is coherent."

Côté and Levine worked closely to decide how to use the multimedia technology available to them, but were careful not to get carried away. "It was important to seamlessly blend the elements of costume, set and projection," Côté says. "We let the choreographic ideas inspire the design. This tricky story can be told through dance alone."

Latest Posts


Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Dylan Giles, Courtesy Festival Ballet Providence

Festival Ballet Providence's New Leap Year Program Gives Dancers Facing a Gap Year a Place to Grow

A new training program at Festival Ballet Providence called Leap Year is welcoming pre-professional and professional dancers who don't have a studio or company to dance for this season.

The endeavor is the brainchild of Kathleen Breen Combes, FBP's executive and artistic director. "I kept getting these emails of dancers saying they just need a place to train this year," says Combes. "I thought, What if we could provide a space for dancers to get stronger, experiment and try new things in a nonjudgmental and no-pressure environment?"

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks