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Next season in Paris


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#16 cygneblanc

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:48 PM

:clapping: Too funny indeed!

Here we're used to say that our "mamy Brigitte" (mamy=granny: she's old enough to have grandchildren) is turning POB into another "Theatre de la Ville" (that's a theater in Paris very famous for the contemporary works that are featured there).

As for Elisabeth Platel, I'm really worried by the current overall level of POB's school. It's worse each year. Claude Bessy was criticized a lot but the level was so much better during her long tenure.

#17 silvermash

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:40 AM

:clapping: Too funny indeed!

Here we're used to say that our "mamy Brigitte" (mamy=granny: she's old enough to have grandchildren) is turning POB into another "Theatre de la Ville" (that's a theater in Paris very famous for the contemporary works that are featured there).

And yet completely irrelevant. If you were a contemporary dance fan, you would notice the distance.

#18 miliosr

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:36 PM

As for Elisabeth Platel, I'm really worried by the current overall level of POB's school. It's worse each year. Claude Bessy was criticized a lot but the level was so much better during her long tenure.

Interesting. Jean-Guillaume Bart gave a series of despairing interviews several years ago about the woebegone state of classical dance in France in which he described the POB -- company and school -- as an oasis in the desert. (I'm parapharasing here.) I didn't realize some think the malaise has spread to the school.


:clapping: Too funny indeed!

Here we're used to say that our "mamy Brigitte" (mamy=granny: she's old enough to have grandchildren) is turning POB into another "Theatre de la Ville" (that's a theater in Paris very famous for the contemporary works that are featured there).

And yet completely irrelevant. If you were a contemporary dance fan, you would notice the distance.

"Distance" in the sense that the POB dancers do not perform contemporary works with the correct style and technique?

#19 Helene

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 08:38 AM

silvermash, did you mean "difference"?

#20 silvermash

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 10:47 AM

no, distance in programming :wink:

#21 miliosr

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 05:04 PM

no, distance in programming :wink:

So, you would say that the contemporary works Madam Lefevre programs pale in comparison to those programmed at the Theatre de la Ville? Or, are you saying that the POB dancers in contemporary works pale in comparison to Theatre de la Ville dancers in contemporary works? Or both? (Sorry, I'm not trying to be difficult or willfully stupid.)

#22 silvermash

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Posted 23 August 2010 - 11:58 PM

No, I would say programming of le Thť‚tre de la ville is of another spirit and rhythm

#23 Simon G

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 03:53 AM

No, I would say programming of le Théâtre de la ville is of another spirit and rhythm



I have to agree with Miliosr, what do you mean exactly? "spirit & rhythm" is rather vague, given that you've stated you believe that ballet dancers bring more to contemporary choreography than the "average" dancers of top contemporary companies such as Cunningham, Bausch, De Keersmaker who are all appearing at the Theatre de Ville.

My feeling of the Paris Opera rep is a lot of generic modern work, which will be danced in a generic modern way by ballet dancers, my feeling also is that why are Paris Opera and Lefevre so unconfident in classical ballet, their raison d'etre, after all, that she continually programmes these Frankenstein monster dance seasons. I've seen Paris Opera perform contemporary work and I have to say, all I'm seeing are ballet dancers doing modern generically to badly. A ballet dancer isn't a modern dancer, a top modern dancer isn't "average" but rather an artist with their own set of criteria, techniques and abilities which are quite different but equally valid and artistically worthy as a ballet dancer who more often than not approximates modern technique with no feeling for what the particular school and technique is actually about.

And having seen the bland generic reading POB gave Jewels, I would have to say that POB has enough on its plate getting to grips with the vast range and palatte of ballet technique.

Looking at the POB schedule I think "meh", especially with another egregious commission from Wayne Macgregor, who I find to be as interesting as lard flavoured porridge. But looking at the schedule of Theatre de ville and the range and excitement of the companies they're producing would actually inspire me take a trip to Paris.

#24 silvermash

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:38 AM

Spirit and rhythm is exactly what you felt in the last sentence of your post but as a matter of fact, given the some 25 bills that will be presented of in the Théâtre de la ville this season, this is not comparable with the some 12 ones only and of different types presented by the Paris Opera Ballet.

The spirit of theatre de la ville is anchored in the novelty, which doesn’t prevent to present classics such as De Kersmaeker or Bausch, the timeline is shorter in modern repertoire. During the season, it’s like rhythm is such as you look at the next one rather than the past one… but this is because it’s a place and not a company. It's a theatre programming just like Sadler's wells in London.

As you stated, perhaps the style of the company is more in the dancing style than in the company repertoire. That is the fixed variable. Perhaps you don’t like the way they danced Balanchine or some of other contemporary works but what would be the point of dancing it like just any other ballet company? The Mariinsky or Royal Ballet isn’t dancing it the same way either. As for me, I’m very eager to see the way they will dance De Kersmaeker Rain next year...

Anyway, coming back to the repertoire, it has always been very mixed and that’s why when Rudolf Noureev came in Paris, he could introduce the versions that they are still dancing…
This diversity in the repertoire is not coming from nowhere or from an unsecure AD that would have lost confidence in everything. Perhaps it seems very bureaucratic but POB is a State institution and it’s State funded. As such it has duties fixed in a legal provision of the French public administration rule. One of its duties is “to create and diffuse contemporary works and to develop the creativity of choreographic art”.

#25 Simon G

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 06:48 AM

I fully understand the working and function of the POB and its artistic remit. However, one thing I don't believe in at all is this notion that a ballet training gives a dancer a full training. An excellent ballet training is sufficient to make a ballet dancer, if that dancer also happens to have the potential to be a great artist, then it can lead to the development of a great dancer in the medium of classical ballet.

The biggest myth for me is that a ballet dancer receives a training that allows them to dance anything - and that once entering a ballet company they are equipped to dance any modern medium that comes their way.

It's also an error to believe that the POB was a great company before Nureyev came along, it wasn't, he put it on the map, not least because of the way he invigorated their classical rep and by the panopoly of world class classicists he developed.

My problem with the way POB danced Jewels is precisely that the entire three parts were pretty much the same, it's not true that you can dance Balanchine and dance it well by ignoring what Balanchine's style is about, ditto Ashton. I wonder if the reason for Lefevre's love of Neuemier is because his style is so undetermined and well... wafty.

What's wrong with ballet directors deciding that fulfilling a contemporary remit means commissioning new works by classical choreographers in the classical style? POB dancers are wonderful technicians (well, not as wonderful as they used to be) but they are classicists, the use of the back which is integral to contemporary techniques is the antithesis of what the rep they're supposedly trained to dance is actually all about.

#26 silvermash

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 07:47 AM

I fully agree that not all ballet dancers can dance contemporary works such as a modern dancer, and yet, what contemporary works? What does it mean really? Preljocaj is not the same than McGregor, Bausch than Lock, Paul than Millepied etc. but, most of the choreographers of these contemporary works in POB repertoire are alive and some of them are creating for the POB. They donít create the same way with POB dancers. I just remember Preljocaj talking about that somewhere and POB is acquiring works that are suitable for his dancers. Not all the contemporary choreographers will make it to POB.
In any case, you will notice that itís always the same dancers that are dancing contemporary works. They are the ones who wish to explore in this direction... some of them are even quite specialised in it... and some are pretty good at it Ö so why not?

#27 Mashinka

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 08:24 AM

It's also an error to believe that the POB was a great company before Nureyev came along, it wasn't, he put it on the map, not least because of the way he invigorated their classical rep and by the panopoly of world class classicists he developed.


He certainly raised the company profile and gave them international status, but they were already pretty damn good before he took them on.

#28 Nanarina

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 07:52 AM

Reading about the repertory for the 2010-11 season (in conjunction with watching the repertory presented in Fred Wiseman's documentary and with "reading" the books of Nicolas Le Riche and Gerard Uferas), I can't help but think that Madam Lefevre has pulled off a pretty incredible feat -- she's transformed the mighty Paris Opera Ballet into the Brigitte Lefevre Modern Dance Company!

Poor Elisabeth Platel -- presiding over a classical island in a modern sea . . .



I agree that the modern side is pushing out the classics. I was hoping to take my Grand daughter (10) to the Opera Garnier for the first timein 2011, but the Ballet has got to be suitable, as she prefers like me a more classical approach. I am eagerly waiting for the next calendar to come on line. She has already asked to see Aurelie Dupont dance, which may not actually work out,
depending on her Maternity Leave. At least I have plenty of time until next spring/summer to get it all worked out and booked up.

#29 Nanarina

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:32 PM

Reading about the repertory for the 2010-11 season (in conjunction with watching the repertory presented in Fred Wiseman's documentary and with "reading" the books of Nicolas Le Riche and Gerard Uferas), I can't help but think that Madam Lefevre has pulled off a pretty incredible feat -- she's transformed the mighty Paris Opera Ballet into the Brigitte Lefevre Modern Dance Company!

Poor Elisabeth Platel -- presiding over a classical island in a modern sea . . .





Well I must say I agree with you, the POB is stuck with Madame B.L.'s modern dream.

I did actually get to see Tribute to Robbins, and loved it, so it was not a wasted efforft. The Concert with Dorothee Gilbert was brilliant. So now I have been looking at the next programme for 2010/11. I really am not at all interested, I cannot stand Wayne MacGregors work, and would not waste my small "Ballet Visit" budget on it.

I did recentlly venture back to The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden to see Onegin, with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg. I was not at all disapointed, it was wonderful, really compared favourably to the Paris performasnce I saw last year.

Maybe I will do to ROH more and only travel to Paris when there is something I really want to see and make a short stay of it.


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