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POB Competition 2005Does somebody know anything?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Daniil

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 04:39 AM

Hello!

Does anybody know anything about the annual competition taking place in Paris? When does it take place? Any other information?

:wub: in advance

#2 Jane Simpson

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:03 AM

Daniil, it's today - right now - for the women, tomorrow for the men.

#3 Azulynn

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Posted 22 December 2005 - 05:58 AM

The results should be up by tonight for the women.

Positions available for them :
2 "Première danseuse"
4 "Sujets"
4 "Coryphées"

#4 Estelle

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 06:00 AM

Here's a link to an article about the new premiers danseurs:

http://actu.voila.fr...4.0gbnfa16.html

It also lists the promoted male dancers, most notably Stéphane Phavorin as premier danseur. I'm happy for Phavorin, even if a bit surprised as he has been a sujet for more than 10 years and so was not very expected to be promoted (but his career was slowed by several problems of injuries).

Congratulations to all the newly promoted dancers ! I'm a bit sorry for Fanny Fiat, a talented sujet who also deserved to be promoted, but Myriam Ould-Braham and Dorothée Gilbert both are young gifted dancers who already performed quite a lot of important roles and their promotions were somewhat expected. And also I'm looking forward to seeing Laura Hecquet in bigger roles; she had impressed me a lot in Jean-Guillaume Bart's pas de deux "Javotte" a few years ago in a "Young dancers" program.

I haven't seen yet if there is a page about the competition's results on the official POB site (I haven't found it yet, but now I'm on vacation and only have a slow connection so finding things on the POB site isn't very easy).

It was a relatively good year for the POB dancers in terms of positions. (Actually, I feel a bit sorry for some dancers of a previous generation like Nathalie Aubin, Laure Muret, Miteki Kudo or Delphine Baey, who happened to be sujets in a period with very few available positions of premiere danseuse, as I feel they could have been promoted if only they were born a bit earlier or later...)

#5 Azulynn

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 07:18 AM

This is a shame indeed, Estelle. And don't you think this might well happen again in the coming years ? Nathalie Riqué is the only première danseuse who retire really soon, and with the latest promotions, there are 10 premières danseuses. Among the étoiles, it's going to be a good 5 years before Delphine Moussin, the oldest one, retires, if nobody gets injured or chooses an early retirement. I find it a bit worrying for the ladies, because there will be few positions available...

#6 jllaney

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 08:20 AM

Might someone enlighten me on the "competition" aspect of what's going on there? Is this only for POB dancers and are they competing for promotions. How often do they hold this competition?
THanks

#7 cygneblanc

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 10:57 AM

Yes, jllaney it is a competition only for POB dancers which is held each year in december.

The dancers are competing for some better positions in the POB's hierarchy and the winners are promoted to the next level. The number of slots available for each level varies from year to year and from level to level.

#8 sophia

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:16 AM

I just add that this competition is reserved to the "quadrilles" (lowest rank), "coryphées" and "sujets" (equivalent of second or first solist) until they reach the rank of "premier danseur" ("première danseuse" for the girls, i.e. first solist or principal). The "étoiles" are nominated by the management.

#9 sophia

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:27 AM

Results for the men:

Stéphane Phavorin: promoted to Premier Danseur

Yong-Geol Kim: promoted to Sujet

Adrien Bodet, Audric Bezard, Mathias Heymann: promoted to Coryphée

#10 bart

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 11:45 AM

I would love to kinow how these "competitions" are organized. Does this literally mean that there is an auditioning process? If so -- how is it organized? what are the candidates expected to dance? who does the judging?

Thanks in advance.

#11 sophia

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:53 PM

All the dancers of the same rank present a common variation chosen by the management. For example, this year:
- QUADRILLES
Female variation: Kitri's vision in "Don Quixote" Act II (chor. Nureyev)
Male Variation: Basilio variation in "Don Quixote" Act III (chor. Nureyev)

- CORYPHEES
Female variation: "Raymonda", Pizzicatti variation (chor. Nureyev)
Male Variation: "Suite en blanc", Mazurka (chor. Lifar)

- SUJETS
Female variation: "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet 1st variation (chor. Nureyev)
Male variation: "Manon", Des Grieux variation (chor. MacMillan)


And second, they dance a free variation taken from the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire. So it can be classical, neo-classical or contemporary. Robbins ("Other dances", "Four Seasons"), Roland Petit for instance are often chosen by the candidates.

They are judged by a jury composed of the Director of the Opera (Mr Gérard Mortier), the Director of the Ballet (Mrs Brigitte Lefèvre), the ballet master (Mr Patrice Bart), two other personalities (one comes from another company) and five dancers from the company elected (it changes each year).

#12 bart

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 03:27 PM

Thank you so much, sophia. This seems so well thought out. Quite a challenge for the dancers -- and a wonderful opportunity for those able to observe from the audience.

I wonder whether any other companies base promotions on a similar organized and highly rational (and, it seems, highly "French") manner.

And I wonder what other BT'ers think about this system as compared to the way dancers in companies are promoted (or not).

#13 jllaney

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 03:30 PM

I will add my thanks as well. That was very helpful.

#14 sophia

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:25 AM

As far as I am concerned, I think this system of promotion is very far from perfection. Since Gérard Mortier became the director of the Opera (2004), I must confess that the competition is much more "honest": it means that the results of it, and consequently the promotions, correspond to the performances seen on stage the day of the "concours". You will always find some disappointed people of course, but the results are quite fair. It has not always been the case in the past!
Moreover, I also think that this system is very "french": you have, just like at the time of Louis XIV, -the King who created the Royal Academy of Music, the ancestor of our ballet-, to "please the Prince". Why not, but ideally, has it anything to do with dancing?
Dancers should be judged on performances the whole year long, and then be promoted.
Anyway, this is our system, our tradition, and I respect it despite these critics. Nureyev, when he was the Director of the Ballet, wanted to delete the "concours", but the dancers went on strike to preserve it!!!!

#15 Estelle

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:35 PM

Here are some links to the results of the previous competitions (2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001):

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=18179
http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=15274
http://ballettalk.in...?showtopic=8741
http://ballettalk.in...?showtopic=4072

It always is a somewhat heated topic...

sophia, I this that this system is very "French" also because a lot of things depend on competitions in the French society (e.g. to have a civil servant job, to get into the most prestigious schools, etc.) Except that of course it is a very special kind of competition, as it is not anonymous and the judging is more subjective than for, say, a competition to get a teaching job.

In my opinion, the negative sides of the competition are:
- it often isn't objective, as the company's direction has a very heavy weight in the ranking, and there often has been questionable decisions (e.g. some years two positions of premiere danseuse were open and only one was filled, which seemed to mean than nobody was good enough, but some of the dancers who competed then were promoted on the following years...) But I guess it's a problem with every mode of promotion, anyway.
- being injured on the day of the competition means no promotion for one year, so it can slower the career of a good dancer who has the bad luck to be injured just at the wrong moment
- probably a lot of stress for all the dancers, especially as the competition generally is at the end of December, in the middle of long series of performances (on the very evening of the competition, there were performances of "Swan Lake" in Garnier and "La petite danseuse de Degas" in Bastille)

and its positive sides are:
- it forces the dancers to keep a good enough shape to be able to participate in the competition (however, now the participation isn't compulsory. But not participating in the competition would be seen quite badly from the direction, at least for dancers young enough)
- it can be an opportunity for them to perform some variations which haven't been danced for a while by the company (e.g. some dancers regulary choose variations by Lifar, while Lifar has been sadly absent from the company's performances for years)
- it gives them some opportunities to perform soloist variations on stage, and to show what they can do

And indeed, as sophia wrote, the dancers themselves insisted on keeping the competition when Nureyev wanted to suppress it, so even though they often criticize it a lot, a majority do want to keep that typical POB tradition.


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