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What are "surnuméraires" at POB?


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#1 Helene

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 01:55 PM

In a recent thread on the Paris Opera Ballet on new corps de ballet members, the term "surnuméraires." I'd appreciate it very much if someone could tell me what this means.

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=19988

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 02:05 PM

In English, it would be a supernumerary dancer - a dancer who works with the company, but is not a member. In Paris, these dancers are often on a one year contract, and some of them (nowadays several, including Sophie Parcen and Miho Fuji) are taken into the company proper from this position.

#3 carbro

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:17 PM

ABT has a history of peopling the stage with "civilians." Sometimes, but not always, they are adult ballet students. Some, like the ones who carry Siegfried's gift, are students or apprentices.

Perhaps the word is a false cognate, and at POB the surnuméraires are equivalent to our apprentices.

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:24 PM

Actually, apprentice is also a false cognate - a surnuméraire is an extra dancer hired to fill a gap. It is not technically a "feeder" position, as an apprentice is - even though it's being used that way currently.

#5 Estelle

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:09 AM

It is not technically a "feeder" position, as an apprentice is - even though it's being used that way currently.


Yes, the company's policy seems to have changed gradually in recent years; it seems to me that all the POB dancers used to be hired directly from the school, except a few (e.g. Ghislaine Thesmar who was hired directly as a principal or Michael Denard who was hired during a special audition open to exterior dancers), while now there seem to be every years two auditions: one which is only for the POB students, but offers fewer positions than before, and one which is open for anybody, which offers sometimes one steady position or more (it was the case this year for Ms Pagliero) and some surnuméraires positions (the number seems to vary depending on the needs of corps de ballet for the season). The surnuméraires only have a one-year contract, but they sometimes manage to get into the company later (but I don't know what is the procedure to integrate them into the company).
For example Nicolas Le Riche started as a surnuméraire (I remember some interviews in which he said it had been a bit hard for his pride at first !) as he was 6th and there were 5 positions that year (the ranking was the following: 1- Martinez, 2- Bart, 3- Duquenne, 4- Guerri, 5- Bridard. Not a bad year for the school :wink: )


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