Le grenier

Le Grenier (The Attic) is the second ballet in the Dans les ténèbres trilogy and continues the goth/horror storyline. Like the first, it is designed primarily for young dancers and allows for the incorporation of a variety of dance styles.


Scene: Grandmother’s attic
Time: Approximately twenty years after La Boîte à musique

Since the tragic events surrounding the young girl’s death years before, the attic has been sealed off. Consequently, it has become heavily dust-laden and filled with spiders, cobwebs, and mice. The daughter of the surviving sister and her family are spending the summer in the old family house. The daughter, a young goth girl, bored by long days in the house alone, decides one day to investigate this heretofore unexplored region of the house. Upon entering the attic, she is mystified by the state of affairs there and wonders why so many wonderful things (toys, dolls, books, etc.) have been left to gather dust. She encounters some mice and spiders in the attic, but being “goth,” these do not really bother her — she is far more enthralled by the wondrous objects in the attic than she is frightened by its minuscule inhabitants. What attracts her attention most is a large rag doll sitting idly in an old rocking chair. She plays with and later tries dancing with the inanimate doll. But while dancing, her attention is drawn to a shelf of books because one large book in particular seems to have a light emanating from it. The girl puts the limp doll on the floor, takes down the book, and, placing it also on the floor, opens the cover. A very bright light emerges from inside the book. She gazes at the contents of the book for a few moments, then dances out the instructions (a magical incantation). At that the rag doll slowly comes to life, and the girl is thrilled with the result, having now a “live” playmate to end her boredom and loneliness. Now they dance together, and to the young girl’s amazement and — initially — her delight, the doll goes round the room animating other dolls and toys. She animates a hobby-horse and a jack in the box, then brings to life a much more sinister-looking doll that had been unobserved by the young girl. This doll begins a haunting, demonic dance that results in bringing out groups of undead: skeletons and zombies. As the attic fills with these more malignant characters, the girl becomes more and more frightened. Eventually the girl’s dead aunt appears (Sister 1 from La Boîte à musique) and beckons her to join them in a diabolic dance. As the aunt beckons, the girl becomes more and more agitated and attempts to escape. She throws things at the apparitions (a pillow, a ball), but these have no effect. She reaches down for another item to throw, and as her arm goes back she notices all the ghouls shying away in fear. She discovers that she has picked up an old crucifix, and so she holds it boldly in front of the spirits who continue to cower as she walks backward toward the stairs. Before reaching the stairs, however, she stumbles and drops the crucifix; a ghoul hastily throws a cloth over it. The ghouls then approach the girl, and after the aunt helps her to her feet the others gather round her and append strings to her shoulders, arms, and legs. As they part they reveal that she too has become a doll, and the ballet concludes with the dolls dancing in the attic to the amusement of all the others.

The ballet is dedicated to French composer Michel Bosc. It was premiered on 18 May 2013 by members of Kat’s Performing Arts Studio with choreography by Kathy Thompson.

(in order of appearance)

Goth Girl*
Rag Doll
Jack in the Box
Sinister Doll
* We learn from her headstone in Part III that her name is Angelique Davignon


Scored for strings, string quartet, keyboard (piano, organ, harpsichord), and percussion (timpani, glockenspiel, chimes, triangle, cymbals, gongs, vibraphone, xylophone, tambourine, temple blocks, woodblock, congas, bass drum, drumsticks).
Total length: appoximately 23 minutes. Score is available on request. Please contact the composer for more information.

Audio Files

Mouse Dance
Spider Dance
Incantation Dance
Rag Doll Dance & Hobby Horse Dance
Jack-in-the-Box Dance
Sinister Doll Dance
Skeleton Dance
Zombie Dance & Escape Sequence
Final Dance

Copyright © 2012 by John Craton

Photos from the 18 May 2013 premiere

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Photos Copyright © 2013 by Minshall Photography. Used by permission.

Return to Dans les ténèbres
or to Music Catalogue;
or proceed to Partie III.