Elsa Canasta

Rambert Dance Company, 2003; Scottish Ballet, 2015

Credits | Reviews  ⇓


Music by Cole Porter, 1923

Choreographed by Javier de Frutos

Stage and Costume Design by Jean-Marc Puissant

Lighting Design by Giuseppe Di Iorio, 2003; Bruno Poet, 2015




Production Manager: Malcolm Glanville

Costume Supervisor: Cathy Hill

Costume Maker: Sasha Keir, Jane Gill, Susanne Parkinson

Images © courtesy of Scottish Opera, J.M. Puissant

“ A superb set designed by Jean-Marc Puissant, integral to the choreography.”

The Stage

Performed to Cole Porter’s only ballet score, a singer and the troupe of dancers inhabit different but communicating layers of the same narrative.


Inspired by stories involving artists, personalities and socialites contenporary to Cole Porter, the design echoes the dramatic aesthetic of Hollywood’s film noir, at the meeting point of musical theatre and cinema.


The set establishes the importance of what is happening on and in front a grand staircase, as much as what may be happening off-stage.


The stage masking is swiftly removed in a final coup de théâtre, leaving the staircase floating in the middle of the empty stage, conjuring the final image of George Balanchine’s Apollo.


The Telegraph by Ismene Brown

In a brothel we find a masterly soul singer, Melanie Marshall, and Jean-Marc Puissant’s fabulous steel staircase. Up and down the clientele prowl, men grabbing men’s crotches, girls with legs of steel and hearts of gold. This is a big, deserved popular hit.


Financial Times by Clement Crisp

A staircase dominates Jean-Marc Puissant’s handsome set and the dancers go up and down, behaving with unfazed frankness. Two men make love; buttocks are clutched and clenched; all this gives the piece a happily louche air, as if at a dance in a grand maison de passe.


The Stage by Gavin Roebuck

On a superb set designed by Jean-Marc Puissant. The set, a slightly curved staircase seemingly leading to a louche dive, is integral to the choreography.


Dance Europe by Emma Manning

Jean-Marc Puissant’s striking set in a rainbow of greys is dominated by a sweeping staircase, inviting far more activity than would be possible on an elevator. On one side the curved rail serves as an impromptu barre for incidental exercise, while the unguarded side of the stairway invites reckless leaps into arms of another. The stairs offer as good a place for sex; men with men, men with women and lonely souls with themselves. Any permutation is sanctioned on this stairway from heaven to some louche dive below. This rampant, risky work ended new-look Rambert’s programme on a spectacular high. The audience whooped.



Jean-Marc Puissant’s set and costumes are all in shades of grey, a curved staircase the lone piece of set. This grey-scale world places the emphasis on the dance and makes everything very ambiguous.


Sunday Herald – Edinburgh

Dressed in monochrome shades- in striking contrast to the spangled glamour of porter’s tunes- the set is dominated by an ingenious, sweeping staircase in which dancers enter. Original, free and oh-so sexy….


The Scotsman – Edinburgh

With a sweeping stairway to unseen delights, the stage is set for brilliant itchy, crotch-led encounters of the love-hate kind. It’s balletic, camp, deviant, and full of wicked little details that grab your imagination – and other dancers body parts.