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Emmanuel Thibault and the POB competition


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#1 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 09:33 AM

Patricia Boccodoro has a passionate editorial in culturekiosque:

[url="http://"http://www.culturekiosque.com/dance/news/rhethibault.html"]http://www.culturekiosque.com/dance/news/r...hethibault.html[/url]

I found it interesting, as I have only had a single viewing of Thibault. I found him perfectly cast as the Bluebird but I saw him as a dancer with only a limited repertory, albeit a brilliant one of the exotic divertissements of the repertory (Bluebird, Golden Idol, et al.) I couldn't see him assuming a leading role in a classical ballet because of his stature, looks and temperament. Referencing back to our threads on miscasting, is this perhaps the reason that Thibault has not been promoted?

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#2 Alexandra

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 10:52 AM

I read the article (lovely photos) and wondered the same thing, that they thought he had too limited an employ to be promoted. If so, it's a pity, I think. "etoile" doesn't mean "danseur noble," or "danseur classique," and there have always been great danseurs de demicaracteres. I would think they could still promote him and still cast him appropriately.

Nice to see passion in a critic Posted Image

#3 Natalia

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 04:05 PM

This episode is a real shame. Most of my friends who attended the Concours agree that Thibault "wuz robbed." I've seen Thibault in Robbins FOUR SEASONS (Faun) & PAQUITA Pas de Trois, in addition to several films from Varna & other competitions. He is a true virtuoso & has quite beautiful 'line' (not stocky proportions as do a few equally skilled demi-caractere virtuosi, such as Eric Quillere and Kirov/RDB's Andrei Batalov). Perhaps not an Etoile but he's certainly capable of being a Premier Danseur and, as Alexandra wrote, there is no logic to keeping a non-danseur-noble from the PD ranks. Isn't Eric Quillere in the PD ranks, after all? - Jeannie

#4 Estelle

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 06:50 PM

Well, first of all, Patricia Boccadoro is someone very rarely agree with, so I'm likely to be quite cautious with what she writes. (I think I haven't forgiven yet the way she wrote that Jean-Guillaume Bart was a boring dancer "as exciting as day-old custard", for example).

I haven't seen Thibault much, and when I saw him it always was in such virtuoso roles. However, from some discussions on ballet.co.uk, it seems tmany people consider that he is not a good partner (while admitting he had done the bestvariations at the POB competition)... If it is true, it might explain why he hasn't become a premier danseur (he's been a sujet for about 7 years)... There surely are premiers danseurs who are not "danseurs nobles", like Eric Quillere
(perhaps not a good example, as the present direction doesn't like him and gives him very very few roles), Yann Bridard (with a nice lineoften cast in "villain" roles and contemporary works) and the new premier danseur Jeremie Belingard. But I think that partnering really is an essential quality for a premier danseur- they're supposed to dance quite a lot of pas de deux, and also to be ready to replace the principals to partner the female etoiles...
By the way, I think that shows one of the drawbacks of the POB competition: it shows nothing about the dancers' partnering skills. And while partnering might not be essential for a coryphee, it's necessary for a premier danseur.

By the way, I realize that I don't know if any of the psent premiers danseurs could be considered as real "danseurs nobles". Jeannie, Leigh, Marc, what do you think of it? (The present premiers danseurs are Romoli, Quillere, Delanoe, Belingard, Pech, Bridard, and Paquette).


[This message has been edited by Estelle (edited March 12, 2001).]

#5 Kevin Ng

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 09:03 PM

I've only seen Karl Paquette twice, but I think he has the potential to be a danseur noble. If I remember rightly, he was just promoted in the Concours this time.

#6 Terry

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 04:19 AM

I've never seen Emmanuel Thibault before, so I cannot comment about his qualities as a dancer...but regarding the "danseur noble" issue, doesn't it take quite some time for the dancer to actually become a "danseur noble"... ? I'm sure that some dancers like Manuel Legris had the "danseur noble" quality inherent in him from the beginning, but don't some dancers actually develop into "danseur nobles" as they grow older? [Or what truly makes a dancer a real "danseur noble" -- this might be an interesting question that could be open for discussion.] I'm not sure if my questions are valid, but this is just my personal opinion. I also think that the POB is one of the most "limiting" companies in the sense that the company doesn't offer a lot of promotions to those who most deserve it. But again, this is part of the reasons why the company maintains its prestige. I can't help thinking that dansers like Melanie Hurel, Yann Saiz, Herve Courtain, or Yann Bridard would definitely be first soloists or even principals, if they were to engage in other companies like ABT, RB, SFB, etc. (not that I'm underestimating the level of these companies). It's really too bad for the dancers!

#7 Estelle

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 08:00 AM

I agree that there are many POB dancers who could dance better roles that what they are given to dance now. Well, that ensures a good level of the corps de ballet and soloists- but perhaps it would be better to give them opportunities to dance bigger roles from time to time, else they might lose courage and be tempted to go elsewhere (as Pierre-Francois Vilanoba did, and now he's a principal with SFB).

What makes me smile a little bit is the way Patricia Boccadoro seems to think that Thibault's non-nomination is th worst scandal ever in the long history of the POB competition. Actually, there have been scandals nearly every year... Often it has been ultimately corrected (Legris didn't become a premier danseur at a controversial competition but was chosen as an etoile while being still a sujet, for example), but sometimes not. And Eleonora Abbagnato's promotion seems to have caused at least as many discussions among POB fans as Thibault's case.

#8 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 10:58 AM

Terry -

I'm hoping Alexandra will elaborate on the definition of a danseur noble, since the classifications developed early in ballet's history are one of her specialties. Put simply, the danseur (and danseuse) noble were tall, well-proportioned dancers who performed primarily adagio.

Because of the obvious sense that the classification would be the most elevated of ballet, as time has gone by people have used it to define whatever they want in a good dancer. But it is a classification based on physical type (and temperament? Alexandra?) not on technical ability or virtuosity. Baryshnikov was never a danseur noble.

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#9 Estelle

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 11:34 AM

About "danseurs nobles": I had forgotten to add in my previous post that I thought that Manuel Legris was not really a danseur noble in my opinion, but rather a "demicaractere classique" (one of the definitions that was posted long ago). But well, are there any present dancers who would really be considered as "danseurs nobles" in the original meaning?

#10 leibling

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 11:47 AM

Is there a list of definitions, somewhere ? I've always wondered why some are classified as "demi-character", etc. etc. ...- is it a "height" criteria ?

#11 Estelle

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 11:56 AM

leibling, there have been discussions about it- but finding it in the archives is not easy for me...

But I think there were some posts about it in the "Emploi" threads:

[url="http://"http://www.balletalert.com/ubb/Archives/Archive-000010/HTML/20000330-7-000326.html"]http://www.balletalert.com/ubb/Archives/Ar...0-7-000326.html[/url]

and:

[url="http://"http://www.balletalert.com/ubb/Archives/Archive-000010/HTML/20000330-7-000334.html"]http://www.balletalert.com/ubb/Archives/Ar...0-7-000334.html[/url]

#12 Natalia

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 11:58 AM

Estelle - You asked me about the current male Premieres Danseurs at POB & whether I think that any of them are 'danseurs noble'? I've seen glimmers of the 'danseur noble look' in Wilfred Romoli above all, although several of the other men are also capable partners.

- Jeannie



[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited March 14, 2001).]

#13 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 12:59 PM

This is going to sound heartless, but my one view of Thibault made me think there was no reason to promote him. Not because he wasn't a virtuoso (he was) but because he had already acheived his niche as a soloist. He looked too reedy to be partnered with a ballerina except in "exotic" roles like Bluebird, and he was doing them already as a sujet. Agreed that there is a vast portion of the repertory that I didn't see Thibault in, so I could be way off base about him personally (and wouldn't mind being corrected) but isn't the reason to promote a dancer to expand their repertory to larger roles? If the judges did not see Thibault's repertory as enlarging, why promote him?

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#14 Natalia

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 01:27 PM

Thibault has been both excellent partner & virtuoso soloist in many roles. He is definitely PD-rank material. *However - and this is a big 'however' - I believe that he is being kept at the Sujet level because of his face which is piquant (funny, in a nice way) and with an aquiline nose. Not because of his line, partnering skills or soloist skills. I believe that it is his face, plain & simple. Just my two-cents worth. [I really admire Thibault, so I hope that this won't upset his fans.] - Jeannie


[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited March 14, 2001).]

#15 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 02:40 PM

Originally posted by Estelle:
By the way, I realize that I don't know if any of the psent premiers danseurs could be considered as real "danseurs nobles". Jeannie, Leigh, Marc, what do you think of it? (The present premiers danseurs are Romoli, Quillere, Delanoe, Belingard, Pech, Bridard, and Paquette).


Estelle - I really don't see any of them as a "danseur noble" either (which doesn't say anything about the artistic qualities of these gentlemen, of course, excellent dancers all).


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