cygneblanc

A new étoile

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Jérémie Bélingard was promoted tonight after Don Quixote.

That's an excellent for him, but I wonder why so many men are promoted, and not some women ?

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Yes, excellent for him, but for the company ? I don't see the point of this nomination.

Anyway, congratulations to him.

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I suppose that with Belarbi, Legris and Romoli approaching retirement and Bart not dancing many leading roles anymore, a spot would have opened up eventually. Nevertheless, it seems strange to have 10 male étoiles and only six female.

Isn't Bélingard a bit injury-prone like Moreau and Pech?

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I'm a bit surprised too. As far as I know, Jérémie Bélingard has been injured quite often, and also tends to be cast far more often in the contemporary repertory than in the classical one (well, I guess it's quite significative of what Ms Lefevre's priorities are...).

That makes a lot of male étoiles indeed (even though several of them dance less and less now). But I'm not sure his promotion will solve any of the casting problems: being an étoile doesn't protect one from injuries, and so it's not sure that he will actually dance more... I can't say he impressed me much the few times when I saw him on stage, but perhaps I didn't see him in the right roles.

I guess that the fans of Emmanuel Thibault (who danced Basilio a few days ago) probably are quite saddened by that promotion...

volcanohunter, Moreau and Pech seem to be quite fragile too. Actually the present roster of étoiles seems to be in a somewhat worrying shape, with three of them leaving soon (Belarbi, Romoli and Legris- I've heard that the next season might be his last one, even though he's one or two years younger than the other two, what a pity :flowers: ), Bart dancing less and less big classical roles because of health reasons, Moreau, Pech and now Bélingard who are often injured... That leaves Martinez (who's not that young), Le Riche and Ganio. And there don't seem to be that many potential étoiles among the male premiers danseurs (especially as the last promoted were promoted quite late in their careers).

cygneblanc, did you attend the performance after which Bélingard was promoted ?

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This is another shame after next season's program. Bélingard has almost never danced a full-length classic (actually, he had pretty much dropped classical roles from his repertoire before this Don Quixote) and is extremely injury-prone - so what's the point ? It is also a slap in the face for Myriam Ould-Braham and Emmanuel Thibault, who delivered an incredible performance just two days before in the lead roles.

Welcome to the company that doesn't like dancers who are too good ! (to paraphrase an article about the Mariinsky not liking dancers)

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I would have bet on Karl Paquette becoming the next etoile as he is -

A. Very good looking

B. A reasonable dancer

C. Slightly less injury prone than most of his colleagues

At present I'm racking my brains as to what I've seen Jérémie Bélingard dance or even what he looks like!

Thibault: Couldn't get to Paris for his Don Q. this time around but when I saw him first perform the role, ballet fans from across Europe had turned up in droves to see him dance. Seems he's massively admired everywhere except in Madame Lefevre's office.

Out of interest, when is Madame Lefevre coming up for retirement?

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Well, I used to dislike much Karl Paquette, as I found him bland, uninteresting, often weak technically (and not especially good-looking- well, "chacun ses goûts..." ;) ) but from what I've read he's made some progress in the last seasons, and indeed he probably is one of the less often injured present premiers danseurs.

Thibault actually has its detractors besides Ms Lefèvre (I'd say he probably is one of the most controversial topics in the French forums), but at least his promotion probably would have sounded a bit more logical to most people than Bélingard's.

I don't think anything is known about Ms Lefèvre's retirement... She's "only" 60 and could stay there for several years (even though she's been the director of dance since 1995, probably the longest tenure in decades). And who knows who would be her successor (I'm not especially confident in the choices of politicians...)

Azulynn, please feel free to open a thread about Don Quichotte if you'd like to post your comments about Thibault and Ould-Braham's performance (or any other performance of the series), I'm sure many people here would be interested ! :flowers:

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I'll try to report on Thibault and Ould-Braham in Don Quixote after seeing their second performance. They are both true, inspired artists - their work inspires the highest respect, and one wants to be as faithful to them as possible when writing.

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I've had little exposure to Bélingard. I gather he is admired in the contemporary repertoire, but that he's danced few classics, and mostly demi-caractère roles in that repertoire. I was underwhelmed by his Neapolitan dance on the Swan Lake DVD. He struck me as rather muscle- and earthbound. I was much more favourably impressed by Myriam Ould-Braham in that dance. I have difficulty imaging him as a ballet prince, which is why this nomination surprises me. For me, the title of étoile is like a seal of approval that guarantees the highest standard of performance in the great classics. Is Bélingard the sort of dancer who can make a convincing Albrecht, Solor and Romeo?

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I have difficulty imaging him as a ballet prince, which is why this nomination surprises me. For me, the title of étoile is like a seal of approval that guarantees the highest standard of performance in the great classics. Is Bélingard the sort of dancer who can make a convincing Albrecht, Solor and Romeo?

This is something the POB management seemingly cares less and less about. His classical technique leaves much to be desired, but in a way how could it be otherwise, when he's shown repeatedly over the past few years that he mostly cares for contemporary dance ? He has very few classical leads in his repertoire, and I don't think he'll ever be a great Albrecht or Romeo. It's a shame he's now likely to be given these roles ahead of dancers who are more capable in the classics and who care greatly for them (Emmanuel Thibault, Karl Paquette, etc).

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I'll try to report on Thibault and Ould-Braham in Don Quixote after seeing their second performance. They are both true, inspired artists - their work inspires the highest respect, and one wants to be as faithful to them as possible when writing.

Thanks, Azulynn ! I'm looking forward to reading your review.

How sad it is that the company direction seems to care less and less about the classical repertory

and the dancers best suited to it... Which classical roles has Bélingard danced, besides Basilio ? I remember he danced in Lacotte's "Paquita", and he danced the Bluebird in "The Sleeping Beauty", but don't remember seeing his name in the cast lists for roles like Siegfried, Solor, Albrecht, etc.

Well, not everybody can dance every role (and for example, it seems to me that Patrice Bart, when he was an étoile, probably wasn't cast that often in "prince" roles), but it is a bit worrying when a dancer who is promoted to principal mostly performed in contemporary roles and doesn't seem to care much about the classical repertory.

(By the way, isn't it a problem with Marie-Agnès Gillot to some extent too ? She seems to be performing fewer and fewer classical roles, that might be linked to partnering problems as not many male dancers are tall enough to partner her, but it seems to me that she used to perform more classical roles a few seasons ago...)

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(By the way, isn't it a problem with Marie-Agnès Gillot to some extent too ? She seems to be performing fewer and fewer classical roles, that might be linked to partnering problems as not many male dancers are tall enough to partner her, but it seems to me that she used to perform more classical roles a few seasons ago...)

So Gillot is too tall for most partners, limiting her classical roles. A portion of female étoiles are also likely to take maternity leave at some point in their careers. There are objective reasons why the POB's ballerina ranks may be thin at times. Yet in the past three years the Opéra has promoted two women and five men. Wouldn't it have made more sense to promote a woman at this point rather than yet another man?

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So Gillot is too tall for most partners, limiting her classical roles. A portion of female étoiles are also likely to take maternity leave at some point in their careers.

Actually that already happened several times in recent years (with Laetitia Pujol and Delphine Moussin)...

There are objective reasons why the POB's ballerina ranks may be thin at times. Yet in the past three years the Opéra has promoted two women and five men. Wouldn't it have made more sense to promote a woman at this point rather than yet another man?

Well, it has always been very hard to find some sort of logic in the decisions of the direction about promotions... Also Brigitte Lefèvre said for years that she wanted to reduce the number of étoiles (and indeed it diminished quite a lot compared to before), and there were years without a single promotions, while lately the promotions have been very numerous, including some dancers like Romoli and Moussin who are only a few years away from retirement and who probably would never have been promoted at such an age a few years or decades before (well, part of the problem perhaps was that they'd have deserved to be promoted much earlier in their careers). Also it sometimes is hard to know which part of the decision comes from Ms Lefèvre and which part comes from the directors of the Paris Opera (Gall, then Mortier).

Indeed a female promotion would probably have made more sense- but well, the present premières danseuses already perform many principal roles (it seems to me that the hierarchy rules are far less strict than before) so promoting someone from première danseuse to étoile doesn't necessarily make a big chance in termes of casting... There are 9 premières danseuses now (Eleonora Abbagnato, Isabelle Ciaravola, Emilie Cozette, Nolwenn Daniel, Dorothée Gilbert, Mélanie Hurel, Myriam Ould Braham, Nathalie Riqué, Stéphanie Romberg), and all of them dance quite often (only Nathalie Riqué is close to retirement age). From what I've seen and read, Dorothée Gilbert (who unfortunately didn't perform much this season, probably because of an injury) and Myriam Ould-Braham both look very promising, but both still are quite young and haven't danced that many roles, so perhaps there's no emergency to promote them... And for example I hope that the direction won't have the strange idea to promote Eleonora Abbagnato (often cast as Jérémie Bélingard's stage partner- she's a dancer I never appreciated much and who has some real weaknesses in the classical repertory...) By the way, there's a dancer I really regret not seeing in that list: Fanny Fiat, who is in my opinion at least as talented as several dancers of that list, but has never got all the recognition she deserved...

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I'd say the most likely candidates among the women at this point seem to be Eleonora Abbagnato and Emilie Cozette, both scheduled to dance Cinderella, but they have embarassing weaknesses in the classics. Eleonora Abbagnato is nowhere near the required level technically, although she's liked for her acting skills and does a lot of creations. Emilie Cozette is IMO the least interesting "première danseuse" - she is technically strong (as far as the legs and feet go) but her upper body is stiff. She has always seemed to lack grace and projection on stage when I've seen her, most lately as the Queen of the Dryads.

Dorothée Gilbert and Myriam Ould-Braham are indeed the most promising dancers - actually, if Dorothée Gilbert wasn't injured she would probably have beene promoted by now... Myriam Ould-Braham has danced two leads recently (Coppélia and Kitri) and I found her very impressive both times. She is a lyrical dancer, and her grace and intelligence are a delight to watch - a true individual.

Overall I can't see why the POB management is in such a hurry to promote dancers now (there are already rumours about a female promotion soon). Emilie Cozette is not ready (IMO it is doubtful whether she'll ever be, but that's another matter), so why not wait for Dorothée Gilbert to come back, if the company doesn't want to promote Myriam Ould-Braham ?

About Marie-Agnès Gillot : she's pretty much stopped dancing the classics, apart from Swan Lake and an occasional Myrtha in Giselle, and now seems to concentrate on creations/modern works. It has had an influence on her classical dancing, unfortunately. I wonder though if it's a choice she's made on her own ; I remember reading in an interview she would have loved to dance Lady of the Camellias, but it never happened. The lack of tall partners is definitely an issue...

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I'd say the most likely candidates among the women at this point seem to be Eleonora Abbagnato and Emilie Cozette, both scheduled to dance Cinderella, but they have embarassing weaknesses in the classics. Eleonora Abbagnato is nowhere near the required level technically, although she's liked for her acting skills and does a lot of creations. Emilie Cozette is IMO the least interesting "première danseuse" - she is technically strong (as far as the legs and feet go) but her upper body is stiff. She has always seemed to lack grace and projection on stage when I've seen her, most lately as the Queen of the Dryads.

I share your opinion about those two dancers, and would definitely be disappointed to see one of them promoted... Indeed that's not what I'd expect from a POB étoile :)

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I'd say the most likely candidates among the women at this point seem to be Eleonora Abbagnato and Emilie Cozette, both scheduled to dance Cinderella, but they have embarassing weaknesses in the classics. Eleonora Abbagnato is nowhere near the required level technically, although she's liked for her acting skills and does a lot of creations. Emilie Cozette is IMO the least interesting "première danseuse" - she is technically strong (as far as the legs and feet go) but her upper body is stiff. She has always seemed to lack grace and projection on stage when I've seen her, most lately as the Queen of the Dryads.

I share your opinion about those two dancers, and would definitely be disappointed to see one of them promoted... Indeed that's not what I'd expect from a POB étoile :)

But now that a man of questionable classical technique has been promoted, there's nothing to prevent the promotion of women who don't really measure up to étoile standards either. Since Cozette has been given two performanced of Cinderella (with Ganio), versus one for Abbagnato (with Bélingard), the odds in her favour are perhaps stronger.

Two articles in today's Sydney Morning Herald also make a point about Cozette--and Karl Paquette--having proper POB pedigree:

"Karl and Emilie represent the company very well," said Lefevre. "They both attended the entire school dance program, they know all the ballet techniques and they get to interpret major roles. They are very, very good dancers who, I think, are very smart and generous."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/ah-the-thr...4761668608.html

http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/little-rat...4761668605.html

Interesting that the company should have sent Paquette to Australia just as Bélingard was about to be promoted.

By the way, there's a dancer I really regret not seeing in that list: Fanny Fiat, who is in my opinion at least as talented as several dancers of that list, but has never got all the recognition she deserved...

Yes, she's excellent. And what elevation! But what can those poor sujets do? There are many premières danseuses but the management seems reluctant to promote any of them, so the company states that no female p.d. positions are available at present, nixes the promotion exam for the rank, and the female sujets are stuck waiting (for a new étoile? for Riqué's retirement?). How long has Fiat been a sujet now? Eight years? I hope she won't give up on the exam altogether.

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Jérémie Bélingard did an interview for France 2 midday news today, Thursday, April 19. Skip ahead to the last segment of the program. There is some footage of him rehearsing the Film Star in Nureyev's Cinderella.

http://jt.france2.fr/13h/

You can access the clip for the next week under Les éditions précédentes.

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I'd say the most likely candidates among the women at this point seem to be Eleonora Abbagnato and Emilie Cozette, both scheduled to dance Cinderella, but they have embarassing weaknesses in the classics. Eleonora Abbagnato is nowhere near the required level technically, although she's liked for her acting skills and does a lot of creations. Emilie Cozette is IMO the least interesting "première danseuse" - she is technically strong (as far as the legs and feet go) but her upper body is stiff. She has always seemed to lack grace and projection on stage when I've seen her, most lately as the Queen of the Dryads.

I share your opinion about those two dancers, and would definitely be disappointed to see one of them promoted... Indeed that's not what I'd expect from a POB étoile :yucky:

I do agree with you. I attended last Monday Cendrillon, Abbagnato/Bélingard, and I was very dissapointed. She was not relaxed on stage and does not have the required technical level. As for Bélingard, I thought that he was a bit green, I mean that he didn't have enough experience on stage. Their performance was far from brilliant.

By the way, there's a dancer I really regret not seeing in that list: Fanny Fiat, who is in my opinion at least as talented as several dancers of that list, but has never got all the recognition she deserved...

I share your opinion. Mme. Fiat was one of the sisters, the other one was Mélanie Hurel, and their technique was accurate. They performed their roles with loads of sense of humor. They merited the applause more than the leading roles.

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