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Students of the Paris Conservatoire, Jan 29, 2002

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#1 Estelle


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Posted 06 February 2002 - 06:03 PM

On Jan 29, 2002, I attended one of the annual performances of the
students of the Paris Conservatoire (Conservatoire National
Superieur de Musique et de Danse).

During their fifth year of training at the Conservatoire, the students
form the "Junior Ballet" and perform in Paris, in a few other French
cities and abroad; they also attend some pedagogy classes. The Junior
Ballet is divided in two groups, one with the "danse contemporaine"
students and the other one with the ballet students. In december, I had
attended one of the performances of the contemporary group, which included
some excerpts of Alwin Nikolais' "Tensile involvement", a humorous trio
"Oratorio mongol" by the Groupe Castafiore, and some rather dull new works
by Hervé Robbe and Philippe Blanchard.

The performances of the ballet group used to include some repertory works,
but in the last few seasons they seem to have switched to "crossover"
style and include mostly very recent works. Tuesday's program included Nicolo Fonte's "Everyday Incarnation" (instead of a new work by Mauro
Bigonzetti which had been planned initially), Davide Bombana's creation
"Petite suite en noir", Robert North's "Death and the maiden", and David
Allan's "Palladio". There was a total of nine dancers in the whole class,
five boys and four girls (Boulat Akhmjanov, Isabelle Brusson, Julien
Guérin, Marie-Séverine Hurteloup, Ludwig Koch, Aurélia Lefaucheux, Lilian
Pommier, Maria Robert and Grégoire Thominet).

A pleasant surprise was that, this year, two of the works were danced
on some live music, performed by some musicians of the Conservatoire
(during the previous seasons, all the ballets used recorded music).

The Conservatoire seems to have some good relationships with Nicolo
Fonte, as he had already created "Accidental signals" for them
in 2000, which had been danced again in 2001. This time, it was
a revival of a work which had been created for the Aspen/ Santa
Fe Ballet in 2000. I had found "Accidental signals" rather pleasant
but a bit empty and monotonous, and was even more disappointed with
"Everyday incarnation": Vivaldi's "Concerto della Natura", played
by six young musicians of the Conservatoire was pleasant, but for me
the choreography was repetitive and bland, looking like a weak version
of Nacho Duato (I saw later in the program notes that Fonte danced for
Duato company for several years).

The second work of the evening, "Petite Suite en Noir" by the Italian
choreographer Davide Bombana, was the only creation of the program.
It used several musical pieces by Hindemith (Kammermusik n.1 op.24
1st movement, n.2 op.36 1st and 2nd movements, n.5 op. 36
1st movement). It was fast and energetic, using some ballet steps
(the girls were on pointe) but with some unusual arm movements (for example the dancers sometimes had clenched fists). Laurent Matignon's
lights were quite nice, while I wasn't really convinced by Catherine
Garnier's very short costumes. The style of the work reminded me a little
bit of Forsythe, but fortunately with less aggressiveness.

The third work, "Death and the maiden", had already been danced last year;
this year it benefitted from live music, performed by four students of the
Conservatoire (Carole Petitdemange, Olivia Hughes, Lise Orivel and Joelle
Martinez). North's style is closer to modern dance than to ballet in my
opinion, and has some grahamian elements, but (paradoxically for a
"ballet" program) it was the most successful work of the program, perhaps
because it was the only work with a plot (even if very vague), and also
because of the emotional impact of Schubert's beautiful music. It was
danced with talent by Grégoire Thominet, as the dark-clad, menacing Death,
Marie-Séverine Hurteloup as the maiden, and Marina Robert as a sort of
guardian angel; the last image (Death finally embracing the girl and
taking her away) was especially striking.

The last work, "Palladio", had been created last year for the students of
the Conservatoire. It is a light work for nine dancers (8 couples and a
male soloist) on Karl Jenkins'"Diamond Music" (a bit too repetitive for my
taste but pleasant), with pinkish costumes by Catherine Garnier which I
found somewhat ridiculous and unflattering. Julien Guérin had the
difficult task to succeed the womderful Xavier Chasseur-Daniel in the main
role, and was very talentful; in general all the dancers showed a bright
technique (that was the more classical work of the program from that point
of view) and much joy and enthusiasm.

As usual at the Conservatoire, the audience (in which one could recognize
some teachers, and also the former POB principals Jean Guizerix and Wilfride Piollet) was enthusiastic.

I have one regret about those performances: the program notes
include very few details about the performers, so that in general
it's nearly impossible to identify the dancers, and they don't say
anything about the careers of the students of the previous seasons...

#2 Estelle


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Posted 06 February 2002 - 06:14 PM

A google search helped me find some alumni of the Conservatoire:

+among those who had performed in 2000 (Leigh, you might remember some of them smile.gif ) :

-Mehdi Walerski dances with the Nederlands Dans Theater 2
-Vidal Bini and Céline Nunigé dance with the Ballet du Rhin
-Franck Laizet and Dorothée Delabie seem to dance in Saarbruck in Germany

+among those who had performed in 2001:

-Aurélie Gaillard is in Basel in Switzerland.
-Amandine Biancherin, Xavier Chasseur-Daniel and Alexis Gutierrez dance with the Centre Chorégraphique National de Nancy et de Lorraine
-Alexis Simonot dances with the Grands Ballets Canadiens
-Cyril Bréant dances with the Ballet of Leipzig in Germany

[ February 06, 2002: Message edited by: Estelle ]

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