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Millepied to Head Paris Opera Ballet

Who Should Succeed Madame Lefevre?   35 members have voted

  1. 1. Who Should Succeed Madame Lefevre?

    • Carolyn Carlson
      0
    • Frederic Flamand
      0
    • William Forsythe
      0
    • Sylvie Guillem
      0
    • Laurent Hilaire
      6
    • Nicolas Le Riche
      2
    • Manuel Legris
      23
    • Wayne MacGregor
      0
    • Benjamin Millepied
      2
    • Alexei Ratmansky
      2

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102 posts in this topic

Wouldn't it be nice if NYCB congratulated Ben publicly on its Twitter and/or Facebook page? This is a major coup for a NYCB Alum.

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This is truly bizarre.

"I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

I guess he hasn't been paying much attention to Lefevre's tenure? wallbash.gificon8.gif

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This is truly bizarre.

"I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

I guess he hasn't been paying much attention to Lefevre's tenure? wallbash.gificon8.gif

Indeed: that statement reveals a worrying ignorance of bothe the company and the repertoire.

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I am not as knowledgeable as others here, but I also felt surprised by this. I hope he doesn't get too carried away with developing this "new identity" for the POB. (Besides, I always had the impression that the POB under Lefevre also did a fair bit of modern works as well - perhaps I am wrong? Anyone feel free to clarify I always enjoy to learn more). I see POB as I see Mariinsky or Bolshoi - it is not that they should be museums of dance, but they also have a tradition that needs to be preserved.

Having said that, I do wish him success in his endeavors and that he finds the balance needed, you never know what can happen.

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All I can say is....wow. This is going to be interesting.

This is truly bizarre.

"I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

I guess he hasn't been paying much attention to Lefevre's tenure?

Indeed: that statement reveals a worrying ignorance of bothe the company and the repertoire.

This is the quote in full:

“I have great admiration for the way Brigitte has brought choreographers like Jérôme Bel and Pina Bausch into the repertory,” he said. “But my interest is in developing the art and the craft of ballet, which is so rich and interesting. This is a great classical company, and I want it to be an environment for the evolution and knowledge of the ballet idiom. I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

That doesn't sound bad at all in theory. (And given some of the stuff I saw the troupe performing in the Wiseman documentary I see the point.) The article notes that he's not going to "prioritize" his own choreography, a good thing, I gather.

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This is the quote in full:

“I have great admiration for the way Brigitte has brought choreographers like Jérôme Bel and Pina Bausch into the repertory,” he said. “But my interest is in developing the art and the craft of ballet, which is so rich and interesting. This is a great classical company, and I want it to be an environment for the evolution and knowledge of the ballet idiom. I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

That doesn't sound bad at all in theory. (And given some of the stuff I saw the troupe performing in the Wiseman documentary I see the point.) The article notes that he's not going to "prioritize" his own choreography, a good thing, I gather.

Agreed -- this sounds like he's hoping to move in a neo-classical direction. I don't have a deep knowledge of the current repertory, so cannot really comment on the contemporary work they've done, but if Millepied brings in more work by artists like Wheeldon and Ratmansky, along with other rising choreographers like David Dawson, that could be very exciting.

I've only seen a couple examples of his own dances, which I liked, but I think that running an institution like the POB is a hard enough job without trying to focus on your own creative development.

(not to mention the family part)

I wonder about their choosing someone "from the outside," but you know that they've done that several times in the past.

But whatever the inner logic of the decision, this will certainly bring a heightened international focus on the company for a time.

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By the route that Benjamin Millepied took, Sofiane Sylve could also have been in the running.

A great surprise, but interesting. Hopefully it won't be another generic international program of Wheedon, Ratmansky, Scarlet, but a very French idea of dance curatorship. LA Dance Project did do Cunningham's Winterbranch ("facts in dancing") which is a promising sign.

Some brief voiceover comments by Millepied in this video about his childhood in Senegal and what he looks for to construct a dance:

http://www.ladancepr...rtory/framework

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Would it help getting Balanchine rep? They haven't had any trouble in the past have they??

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A great surprise, but interesting. Hopefully it won't be another generic international program of Wheedon, Ratmansky, Scarlet, but a very French idea of dance curatorship. LA Dance Project did do Cunningham's Winterbranch ("facts in dancing") which is a promising sign.

Agreed.

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More admin beanie:

Comments in publications aren't official news, just as posts on other message boards aren't; only articles and expert blogs in official news publications are.

Beanie off.

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M Millepied does not limit himself to neoclassical ballet:

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Oh thank you so much for posting this -- I've been watching Lil Buck when I can, but I'd missed this one.

For those who are curious, look

for a version of his Dying Swan (and also a very lighthearted survey of American dance by Bill Irwin!)

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A much better video is the one produced by Vail International Dance Festival, one that isn't misidentified as "Swan Lake Dance":

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This is truly bizarre.

"I want to develop a new identity, really challenge the dancers, make them dance ballets that are not just the classics.”

I guess he hasn't been paying much attention to Lefevre's tenure? wallbash.gificon8.gif

Indeed: that statement reveals a worrying ignorance of bothe the company and the repertoire.

Millepied may not limit himself to neo-classical ballet, but the company has been doing a fair amount of straight up modern dance by way of new work and as Dirac clarified, in the full quote Millepied is clearly saying that he wants, rather, for the company to do more new work --that is also 'of our time'--that uses the classical ballet idiom, not that he wants to chuck the classics. In fact there may have been a hint that he is precisely thinking of their repertory in which new work, when it's not modern dance, is sometimes just nineteenth-century pastiche (Lacotte etc.). I think that could in theory be a very good thing especially since he also emphasizes a desire to cultivate choreographic talent coming from the company itself.

Anyway, it didn't sound to me like he has in mind doing more modern/contemporary non-ballet than Lefevre already was...

What will happen in reality? Anybody's guess...though an educated guess might be that an outsider without much leadership experience with this kind of institution and none in maintaining nineteenth-century classics will face a very steep learning curve even if he does basically have a sound approach in mind and wants to preserve the company's (authentically) classical heritage.

He sounded quite confident in the interviews and I suppose if you didn't go in that way then you would be eaten alive.

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I am relieved it's not Ratmansky in a selfish way, so we got to keep him stateside. I remember an article in which a NYCB member mentioned BM knew how to cultivate donor relationship and raised quite a bit of money for NYCB, I am wondering if this is one of the reasons he's hired.

Lissner mentioned 9 candidates, who were the other eight? Hilaire, Legris, Le Riche, Ratmansky, Guillem, Vaziev, Martinez, Preljoçaj, Belarbi...?

I am just curious how NY Times was the first media to break the news, well ahead of the French media. The news made it to Thur. NY Times print edition, assuming the printing press deadline is 11PM EST, so NYT found out the appointment well before 11PM EST.

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A much better video is the one produced by Vail International Dance Festival, one that isn't misidentified as "Swan Lake Dance":

yucky.gif

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Lil Buck – Charles Riley – has phenomenal control and in the Swan he's doing something that Fred Astaire, building on John Bubbles, might do.

It always seems to me that Cunningham and the dancers of the early fifties – Astaire and Daniel Nagrin – are the place to start thinking again about dance, to help shake off the postmodernist, post-Balanchine doldrums and rebuilding a real vocabulary. Thinking about the floor, how people walk in the streets; also how great dancers possess the stage, etc.

So Millepied might have the right idea.

Here's his statement in the Times

I am not entirely a foreigner ... I did grow up in France, and even though I didn’t go to the school or dance with the Paris Opera Ballet, I absorbed similar ideas in my training. I understand the scale of a big company. I danced for one for almost 20 years. I think it’s an asset that I have absorbed other traditions and had other experiences in the U.S., which I can bring to the dancers here ... But of course I have a lot to learn about this company and its very remarkable and specific qualities.

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It always seems to me that Cunningham and the dancers of the early fifties – Astaire and Daniel Nagrin – are the place to start thinking again about dance, to help shake off the postmodernist, post-Balanchine doldrums and rebuilding a real vocabulary. Thinking about the floor, how people walk in the streets; also how great dancers possess the stage, etc.

And Millepied included Cunningham in his recent touring program, so perhaps that's a good omen.

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It may be a little off topic but I'm curious about the financing of new plans. The POB has two major houses to support and up to now the arts budget has been bountiful. France isn't in the same situation as the PIIGS (yet), but the national credit rating was recently downgraded and France has just embarked on what will be a lengthy and extremely costly war.

Taxing high earners at 75% appears to be backfiring what with Depardieu decamping to Russia and the Sarkozys rumoured to be moving to London, so Hollande with soon have to start looking elsewhere to make cuts, and if it's the arts budget.............oh dear.

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It may be a little off topic but I'm curious about the financing of new plans. The POB has two major houses to support and up to now the arts budget has been bountiful. France isn't in the same situation as the PIIGS (yet), but the national credit rating was recently downgraded and France has just embarked on what will be a lengthy and extremely costly war.

Taxing high earners at 75% appears to be backfiring what with Depardieu decamping to Russia and the Sarkozys rumoured to be moving to London, so Hollande with soon have to start looking elsewhere to make cuts, and if it's the arts budget.............oh dear.

As someone above said, he has savvy, successful experience, and connections for international fundraising, as well as publicity and attention.

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Taxing high earners at 75% appears to be backfiring what with Depardieu decamping to Russia and the Sarkozys rumoured to be moving to London, so Hollande with soon have to start looking elsewhere to make cuts, and if it's the arts budget.............oh dear.

The 75% tax would have affected 1500 people if it hadn't been struck down in the courts, because the provision was a tax that applied to individuals, when the basis of French taxation is by household.

As someone above said, he has savvy, successful experience, and connections for international fundraising, as well as publicity and attention.

Private support of the arts does not have strong roots or backing in France and most of Europe. The "Friends" that Lefevre would not allow into rehearsal shown in the Wiseman film were Americans. There's a strong belief in France that the arts should be supported by the government out of the high tax revenues.

Conventional wisdom in the philanthropic world is that it takes three generations for philanthropy to take hold in any given family, and the US has a tradition of individuals giving to arts organizations. (I'm haven't seen anything, though, that addresses the impact of the internet, with online payment processing and the ease of online publicity and fundraising, on this timeline.) How quickly this can be accomplished in France, if it can be accomplished, will be interesting to see. Unlike the opera world in the big opera countries, like Germany and Italy, where there are many local, government-funded/subsidized houses that have international recognition, there are comparatively few ballet companies in France, and Paris Opera Ballet, which receives the bulk of the funding, dwarfs them all in terms of support. Private support likely will be a hard sell to Parisians, let alone the rest of the country.

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There is a private support organisation for the Opera de Paris, it's known as Arop (association pour le rayonnmont de Opera de Paris), but it is comparatively recent I believe dating only from the time when Nureyev was director. My impression at the time was that it was involved in raising the money to send the company to the USA. I seem to remember there were some pretty impressive names on the list of donors. But I would confirm what Helene wrote; support for the arts is generally considered in France to be government business. But as an aside, I was interested to see when I was in Venice recently that a number of restoration projects were being funded by companies such as Prada.

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