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POB Competition 2005Does somebody know anything?


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#16 Estelle

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 12:55 PM

As a side note: it seems to me that the promotion system has changed quite a lot at the POB in recent years in terms of age. For example, two of the recently promoted étoiles (Wilfried Romoli and Delphine Moussin) were, as far as I know, the oldest new étoiles in the POB history (more than 40 for Romoli, and about 36 or 37 for Moussin). Also, people used to say that when a dancer had been in a category for several years, s/he was very unlikely to get promoted, and that promotions after 30 were almost impossible, especially for women, but Emmanuel Thibault was promoted to premier danseur at 30 after about a decade as sujet, Isabelle Ciaravola was promoted to première danseuse as about 32- and now Stéphane Phavorin has just been promoted to premier danseur as 34, and Céline Palacio to coryphée at 33 (her first promotion since she joined the company in 1989 !) The direction of the dance hasn't changed (Brigitte Lefèvre as director of dance and Patrice Bart as main ballet master) but the direction of the opera has changed (from Hugues Gall to Gérard Mortier) and I don't know if it has had an influence, and if Mortier perhaps wanted to promote some people he considered as unjustly forgotten by the previous direction (on the other hand, from his interviews, Mortier doesn't pay much attention to ballet and always said he gave all power to Brigitte Lefèvre...)

Also a difference with the situation some years ago is that the number of premiers danseurs and premières danseuses has inflated a lot. There are as many as 9 premières danseuses (Abbagnato (27), Ciaravola (33), Cozette (24), Daniel (31), Gilbert (22), Hurel (30), Ould-Braham (23), Riqué (40), Romberg (30)) and 7 premiers danseurs (Bélingard (30), Bridard (34), Carbone (27), Moreau (28), Paquette (28), Phavorin (34) and Thibault (30 or 31)), which is much more than it used to be (and there now are 6 female étoiles (Dupont (32), Gillot (30), Letestu (34), Moussin (36 or 37), Osta (35), Pujol (30)) and 8 male étoiles (Bart (33), Belarbi (43), Ganio (21), Legris (41), Le Riche (33), Martinez (36), Pech (31) and Romoli). But I've never understood how the number of positions of étoiles and premiers danseurs is calculated...

#17 Estelle

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 01:07 PM

An article (in French) by René Sirvin in "Le Figaro" about the competition:

http://www.lefigaro....156.html?081153

In general, the Figaro articles remain online only for a short time.

René Sirvin sounds happy with most of the results of the competition, and also praises among the male sujets Christophe Duquenne, Gil Isoart and Nicolas Paul, and among the male coryphées Grégory Gaillard and Sébastien Bertaud (for him, Bertaud's raking as 6th is unfair).

#18 Helene

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 02:29 PM

Thank you, sophia and Estelle for explaining the system to us.

I think it is interesting and positive that the dancers have the formal opportunity to choose a variation of their own from the repertoire, because it allows them to select something from a genre in which they are normally not cast.

At NYCB there was an informal way to do this. In a seminar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the late 80's, Maria Calegari described how after Balanchine had been ignoring her after a bright period early in her career, she prepared the role of Dewdrop, made an appointment with him in the studio, and performed it for him. She said he then cast her in the role, and it rekindled his interest in her as a dancer. Merrill Ashley said in her book Dancing for Balanchine that when other choreographers set pieces on NYCB dancers, Balanchine saw them in a different light. She attributed her role in Jacques d'Amboise's Saltarelli to Balanchine's interest in her as an allegro dancer.

#19 bart

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Posted 28 December 2005 - 07:11 PM

Thanks indeed, Sophia and Estelle. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall while the judges are discussing the performances and making (nor not making) their choices.

That informal audition by Calegari (with one-man jury) is an interesting story, helene, though hugely different from the POB system. Thanks for posting it.

I wonder whether any companies follow the idea of a formal juried competition, or if POB is unique in this.

#20 sophia

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 12:40 AM

The direction of the dance hasn't changed (Brigitte Lefèvre as director of dance and Patrice Bart as main ballet master) but the direction of the opera has changed (from Hugues Gall to Gérard Mortier) and I don't know if it has had an influence, and if Mortier perhaps wanted to promote some people he considered as unjustly forgotten by the previous direction (on the other hand, from his interviews, Mortier doesn't pay much attention to ballet and always said he gave all power to Brigitte Lefèvre...)


Thanks Estelle for all your comments.
When Gérard Mortier said that he didn't pay much attention to ballet and that it was the matter of Brigitte Lefèvre, I think it's nothing but rhetoric... I often go to the ballet, and Mr Mortier is also often in the audience... Discreet, but there. And his policy is partly based upon communication!
Of course, I don't think he really interferes in the ballet casts, and Brigitte Lefèvre certainly has much power in the ballet decisions, but I am absolutely certain that the policy of promotions is totally different from what it was before. It means that he took a part in the last promotions and thanks to him some "old" dancers were promoted. Personally, I don't regret the time when two or three months before the competition you could write down the list of the promoted dancers without any risk of being mistaken... I am not a fan of Mortier, but on that particular point, things are much better. The good point is that dancers now are more hopeful as age is no longer a problem and as they know that their promotion is not only due to a beautiful and young face. Just see, for instance, Mr Thibault and Phavorin promotions as premiers danseurs, not to talk about the étoiles...

#21 Estelle

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 04:50 AM

Thanks for your comments, sophia. Since I haven't seen any POB performance in a while (alas) I didn't know that Mr Mortier often was in the audience... so probably one shouldn't trust too much what he said to the press.

The POB now has officially announced the results of the competition on its web site:

http://www.operadepa...cueil/ALire.asp

The list also includes the dancers' ages.

The only thing that worries me a little bit about the competition's results is the age of some of the promoted male dancers (the new premier danseur is 34 and the new sujet is 32). I'm really happy about Phavorin's promotion, as he's a very talented dancer, but he should have been promoted years ago, and he seems unlikely to be promoted to étoile someday. And his most serious competitor was Christophe Duquenne, who has the same age (again, a strong and reliable dancer who probably should have been promoted years ago). Among the present premiers danseurs, the only ones under 30 are Karl Paquette (and except if he's improved a lot since I last saw him, I really don't see him as a potential étoile), Hervé Moreau and Alessio Carbone, and one might wonder about whom the next male étoiles will be, especially as three of the present étoiles are over 40 (Legris, Belarbi and Romoli) and perform fewer and fewer roles.

#22 sophia

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 06:16 AM

I'm really happy about Phavorin's promotion, as he's a very talented dancer, but he should have been promoted years ago, and he seems unlikely to be promoted to étoile someday. And his most serious competitor was Christophe Duquenne, who has the same age (again, a strong and reliable dancer who probably should have been promoted years ago).


You are absolutely right: all these people should have been promoted earlier, just like Emmanuel Thibault who spent more than ten years as a sujet or Delphine Moussin who became an etoile at the age of 35 (maybe 36) while she had been casted as an étoile for years and years!!! But there has been an irrational policy of promotions, I think most people and especially dancers agree on that point...
For me, age is not a problem, I know there's an age limit (42,5) but all the "old" dancers I see remain brilliant. I saw Laurent Hilaire as Rothbart the other day, I also saw him as Tybalt, of course he can't dance Siegfried or Romeo any longer, but in these particular roles, he remains the best! And in a normal world, 30 years old should not be old even for the dancers.
Just a precision: I think people like Moreau, Paquette, Carbone, Bélingard are more or less about 28-30.
The problem is maybe elsewhere: I went to see the ballets and the different casts all year long, I also went to see the "concours" and honestly, I find a lack of personalities in the younger generation. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it's my impression :lightbulb: .

#23 cygneblanc

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 01:11 PM

Well, about an eventual lack of personality of the younger generation, I don't think they're encouraged to show what they can really do. But some of them, especially the youngest ones, have some very strong personalities, and if they were quite tense during the competition, I'm sure they will show us what they can do very soon if they're given some opportunies, maybe in the Young Dancers bills ?

#24 sophia

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 02:17 AM

Yes, the Young Dancers Bills were a very good programm, but unfortunately, this year, one more time, nothing is foreseen. I have not seen the Young Dancers Bill for three years, if I remember.
Certainly, young dancers (and less young ones too) are not given real opportunities to show what they can do. The casts are often very disappointing because we always see the same dancers in the main roles. Of course, it's normal that an étoile gets the main role in "Swan Lake", "La Bayadère", "Romeo and Juliet" and so on, but sometimes, balletgoers would like to see some "sujets", maybe some "coryphées" in a main role even if it's just for one performance. It's interesting for the audience and a real challenge for the dancers, they are encouraged to work and they keep hopeful...
Recently, I saw Emilie Cozette as Odette / Odile, of course she is a "première danseuse", so it's a normal fact of being casted for such a role when you have this rank, but people were really very enthusiastic, because it changed from the other nights and she made a brilliant performance. Choreographers who are invited by the Opera do not care about the hierarchy and they cast who they like. Pina Bausch, for instance, chose for the third cast Charlotte Ranson (quadrille at that time, now a coryphée) as "Love", and Alice Renavand (coryphée at that time, now a sujet) as "Eurydice" (and she was so wonderful!) in "Orphée et Eurydice".
For the youngest, it's difficult to have a firm judgement, things can change... I just talked about an "impression" and obviously, I may be wrong. Anyway, I don't want to make any comments about the demonstrations. In the corps de ballet, one of the youngest, maybe the youngest, Aubane Philbert, has certainly something very very interesting, a lyricism, a very good technique too (she chose "Grand Pas classique" for her free variation at the concours), and I know that the competition (she was very tense) did not reflect what she can really do.

#25 cygneblanc

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 05:02 AM

Aubane is the very youngest of the POB's corps, she's turned 17 in november. Her choice for her second variation was a very difficult one and yes actually she was very tense and didn't show us what she can do. But she has an enormous potential and is a very-well rounded and delightful young lady with a strong temper. I really hope she'll blossom in the next few years if the POB let her become what she can be.

And Mathias Heynman, 18, who by the way was luckier than Aubane, is a one to watch, too


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