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Fred Wiseman's New Documentary of The Paris Opera BalletWill Be Available on DVD


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#61 Nanarina

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 07:44 AM

I saw "La Danse" last night at Film Forum, and I loved it! I could have watched another three hours of footage about that glorious company.

I was able to identify almost all of the dancers and choreographers. But I do have two questions for sharp-eyed and informed Ballet Talkers. Who was the dark-haired female dancer with Wilfried Romoli during the Medea section that was filmed onstage and in costume? She wasn't dancing the role of Medea (not Emilie Cozette or Delphine Moussin) and I think she's in the corps rank. Also, what piece was Yann Bridard rehearsing towards the end of the film?


Was it Marie Agnes Gillot as she was in the DVD that was releaed of it.

#62 Nanarina

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 07:58 AM

Thank you SO MUCH!!! I wondered if that might be a House of Bernard Alba and a Romeo & Juliet! So that's Wayne McGregor! I liked the costumes for Genus...

Was it Matthias Heyman who did the effortless batterie then? Though there were many examples of superb dancing.

Do you remember the waltzing ballroom ballet? What was that?

I don't mind there not being text onscreen identifying people & choreography, because I understand that would change the way we saw the movie... this was much more dream-like or silent observer... I'm not sure exactly how to describe why, but I do think identifying would change the experience... but it would have been nice at the end to give a quick rundown with images during the credits... BUT I wasn't free to wait & watch the credits, so for all I know everything WAS identified there...

It would be nice if it were an option on the DVD.


The waltzing ballroom "bit" was probably Paquita Act 2 Valse de Invites. prior to the Childrens Polanaise and famous Grande Pas de deux.

#63 silvermash

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 09:57 AM

I saw "La Danse" last night at Film Forum, and I loved it! I could have watched another three hours of footage about that glorious company.

I was able to identify almost all of the dancers and choreographers. But I do have two questions for sharp-eyed and informed Ballet Talkers. Who was the dark-haired female dancer with Wilfried Romoli during the Medea section that was filmed onstage and in costume? She wasn't dancing the role of Medea (not Emilie Cozette or Delphine Moussin) and I think she's in the corps rank. Also, what piece was Yann Bridard rehearsing towards the end of the film?


Was it Marie Agnes Gillot as she was in the DVD that was releaed of it.


Can't remember, perhaps Alice Renavand who's dancing the role of Creuse in Médee... The other Creuse, Muriel Zusperreguy, is seen with Yann Bridard. Marie Agnès Gillot didn't dance Médée that year.
Yann Bridard danced Orphée et Eurydice from Pina Bausch

#64 Amy Reusch

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 01:26 PM

I have noticed on a number of occasions and with different ballets the Paris Opera often seem to dance at a slower tempo. Whether it is down to the conductor or the actual dancers themselves who request the changes I am not sure. I know for a fact the conductor can change the spped on a whim. Terance Lovett was a real nightmare at the Royal, wheras Ashley Lawrence was reliable.


Well the accompanist was definitely waiting for the ballerina here... she held off the final note until she finished... and it added to the breathtaking quality because it was apparent it was delayed so that there could be extra [what, I can't exactly remember, but perhaps it was extra revolutions in her pirouette?]

And yes, agreed; good conductors for dance are much scarcer even than good accompanists for dance. Have known dancers to "explode" the moment they're offstage.

#65 DanceActress

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:37 PM

I saw "La Danse" last night at Film Forum, and I loved it! I could have watched another three hours of footage about that glorious company.

I was able to identify almost all of the dancers and choreographers. But I do have two questions for sharp-eyed and informed Ballet Talkers. Who was the dark-haired female dancer with Wilfried Romoli during the Medea section that was filmed onstage and in costume? She wasn't dancing the role of Medea (not Emilie Cozette or Delphine Moussin) and I think she's in the corps rank. Also, what piece was Yann Bridard rehearsing towards the end of the film?


Was it Marie Agnes Gillot as she was in the DVD that was releaed of it.


Can't remember, perhaps Alice Renavand who's dancing the role of Creuse in Médee... The other Creuse, Muriel Zusperreguy, is seen with Yann Bridard. Marie Agnès Gillot didn't dance Médée that year.
Yann Bridard danced Orphée et Eurydice from Pina Bausch


Thanks, silvermash! I was sure that whoever was dancing that extended pas de deux with Wilfired Romoli wasn't dancing Medea but the "other woman".

#66 sandik

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 10:13 PM

And yes, agreed; good conductors for dance are much scarcer even than good accompanists for dance. Have known dancers to "explode" the moment they're offstage.


Absolutely. Stewart Kershaw, for many years the very reliable conductor for Pacific Northwest Ballet, retired this autumn. He'd conducted almost everywhere, for almost everyone -- it was quite a coup when then directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell got him here. It's going to be a real trick to replace him.

#67 silvermash

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:44 AM

In Nils Tavernier documentary "L'étoile" I remember it was said that retirement age for dancers at POB was 40 for women and 45 for men.

Hasn't this since been changed to 42.5 years for both men and women? Manuel Legris and Wilfried Romoli retired under the old scheme because they were still entitled to do so.


Madame Brid. Lefv. said in the film, when discussing contracts, that the official agne of retirement for the dancers was 40.but they could continue after if they wish. It seems they can officially leave at 40, but return as a guest artist up to 42 in Paris. She mentioned the difficulties that had arisen due to the difference in the age of retirement in general.


Well they can come back as a guest... until they can, not matter their age as any other guests... Michael Denard is dancing quite a lot, La dame aux camélias, la Fille mal gardée... for example.
I think the difference between 40 and 42 is that they can retire at 40 and have their pension... In France, regular retirement age is 65 but if you want , you can leave at 60 which is the age you can start to receive your pension. If you quit before, you have to wait the legal age to cash it.

#68 Estelle

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 02:03 PM

In France, regular retirement age is 65 but if you want , you can leave at 60 which is the age you can start to receive your pension. If you quit before, you have to wait the legal age to cash it.


As far as I know, in France the legal age is 60, not 65. But it is true that one can start to receive a pension at 60 (however, before the latest reforms of the pension system, the pension was more or less proportional to the number of years of work, while now, there is a "decote" system such that if you haven't worked enough years- about 41 years now-, the value of the pension will be reduced quite a lot, unless you retire after a given age, which generally is 65 for most jobs...)

The pension system for the POB is very special, and I don't know how it works, for example, for the people who leave the company before turning 40... Also, the dancers can leave at 40, but the value of their pension will of course be lower than what they would get if they left at 42.

I found the following page about the pension system at the POB:

http://www.info-retraite.fr/?id=517

If I understand correctly, now the people working at the Paris Opera need to have worked for 40 years to get a full pension (75% of the last salary), and there will be a "decote" system from 2010. But there is no explanation of the way it will work for the dancers, who have much shorter careers (and a much lower retirement age, as they can't leave after 42) that the other categories of Paris Opera workers (singers, musicians...)
If it works similarly to other jobs, I guess it means that any dancer retiring before 42 will get a much lower pension (because of the "decote" system) than those retiring at 42.

That discussion is very interesting for me, but a bit frustrating too: there was a cinema in my town showing that film, but I haven't manage to see it so far because of schedule problems, and I'm not sure at all that it will be shown next week... :-(

#69 Estelle

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 02:36 PM

That's getting quite off-topic, but for those who are interested, I've found a link with a lot of explanation about the pension system at the Paris Opera, which was reformed in 2008:

http://www.coach-ret...-paris,d90.html

It's interesting to notice that the system is said to have started in 1698 :dunno:

So, for the dancers:
-the minimal age to get a pension is 40 (and for example 50 for the singers)
-the maximal age to retire is 42, but with the authorization of the direction, the dancers can remain active until
July 31st after their 42nd birthday
-the maximum value of the pension depends of the average salary of the last 3 years in the company
-to get the maximum value of the pension (75% of the average salary above), the dancer must have worked
at least 150 trimesters, so 37,5 years (it will gradually be increased to 40 years in 2012).
Of course, it is totally impossible for a dancer to have worked for such a long time, so they never
get the maximum pension...

Without the decote system, the value of the pension would be proportional to the number
of years of work. For example, in 2012, a dancer who would have worked for 20 years (half of the "compulsory"
20 years) would get 37,5% of the average salary of his/her last 3 years with the company.

-it is possible to get another job and still receive a pension, with some limitations

-there is a "decote" system starting in 2010, but it will evolve gradually until 2024. I wonder if it means that more dancers will choose to retire before 2010 (there was a similar phenomenon for other jobs: that system was meant to force people to retire at a later age, but in fact an unexpected consequence was that at first, more people retired earlier just before the reform was applied...)

If I understand correctly, in the case of the dancers, a percentage (up to 1,25% in 2019) will be deduced for each missing trimester between the retirement age and the age of 45 (but I don't
So, for a dancer retiring at 42 after 2019: 12 trimesters will be missing, so it means that the theoretical value of the pension computed above will be reduced of 15%.

Actually, the system sounds a bit odd for the dancers, as none of them could stay until 45 anyway...
I don't know whether it means that their pensions will be significantly lower than what they used to get before the reform.

But well, anyway, I guess that all of them plan to find another job at 40 or 42 after leaving the company...

#70 silvermash

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:18 PM

In France, regular retirement age is 65 but if you want , you can leave at 60 which is the age you can start to receive your pension. If you quit before, you have to wait the legal age to cash it.


As far as I know, in France the legal age is 60, not 65.

Still off topic but this is not that clear in the public sector at least, you can go on till 65 if you want. 60 is the age you can cash your pension.

#71 Nanarina

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:35 AM

And yes, agreed; good conductors for dance are much scarcer even than good accompanists for dance. Have known dancers to "explode" the moment they're offstage.


Absolutely. Stewart Kershaw, for many years the very reliable conductor for Pacific Northwest Ballet, retired this autumn. He'd conducted almost everywhere, for almost everyone -- it was quite a coup when then directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell got him here. It's going to be a real trick to replace him.


Going back to T.L. at the Royal (On tour) he was known as Tare srse Terance. (excuse the language)
and was known to speed up if he wanted to get away early, or fancied a visit to the local.
As well as his speed, when he went slow it was at a snails pace. The dancers never knew what to expect., and used to make light of it, as he could not be controlled. We will just dance and go along with him, they would say most of rthe time. but there were a few rumbles when he was really outrageous.
He was a bigger than life character, smallish, well rounded, and I remember him wearing braces, with his trousers hoisted up too high, showing his socks.

#72 sandik

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:44 PM

I just got my schedule today, and the film will be showing in Seattle December 4-10 at Northwest Film Forum.

here

#73 abatt

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 06:22 AM

For anyone who is hoping to catch this film in NYC, Film Forum has extended the run. Based on the info on the Film Forum website, they are selling tixs through Nov.24.

#74 Alexandra

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 05:12 PM

Here's a link to an interview with Wiseman about the film. Jeffrey Brown, one of he reporters on PBS's NewsHour, has an Art Beat section on their website; that's the source (and a good site to check. He has an interest in dance.)

http://www.pbs.org/n...f-la-danse.html

#75 bart

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:13 AM

Alistair Macaulay, dance critic of the NY Times, has now weighed in on the film. His feeling seems to be: The dances are lovely, what the are being asked to DANCE is not.

If you love dance, "La Danse" isn't the place to see why.

I was especially intrigued by his comments about the chorgraphy depicted in the film.

-- Nureyev's "Nutcracker":

illustrate[s] at once everything that was always most horrid aobut Nureyev's methods of dance composition. Steps are frantically crammed onto the music, respecting its punch lines but never its spirit.

-- Mats Ek's "House of Bernarda Alba":

... ludicrously overwrought

-- Angelin Preljocaj's "Songe de Medee":

... no less idiotic, with Medea daubing herself flamboyantly and lingeringly in her childrens' blood .... [Q]uite as devoid of interesting or expressive choreography


-- Sasha Waltz's "Romeo and Juliet":

... an anthology of Romeo-Juliet movement cliches [which] pointedly rids Shakespeare's lovers of all dance poetry.

-- Wayne McGregor's "Genus":

... seen as a work in progress, [it] is first appealing in the sheer novelty of its mechanical contortionism; but the more numerous the hyperextended, acrobatic and sensationalistic moves thrown into the mix by Mr. McGregor, the more striking becomes th sense of his expressive aridity.

At least two of these productions look better in the theater, when you see their scenery and their full-length concepts. This film, however, is called "La Dance." Dance is precisely where all these productions are, at best, hollow.

http://www.nytimes.c...n...1&ref=dance


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