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Mathilde Froustey, POB sujet, changing companies -

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Mathilde Froustey has just posted her good news on her FB page that after 11 years with the Paris Opera Ballet she is joining San Francisco Ballet as a Principal dancer for the 2013-2014 season.

Il est grand temps de vous annoncer qu'à partir du 1er juillet je deviendrai "Principal dancer" au San Francisco Ballet pour la saison 2013/2014 !
Merci encore à vous tous pour votre soutien et votre amitié, merci au public parisien pour toute l'énergie et l'amour que vous m'avez offert, ce fut un immense plaisir de danser pour vous!
Merci enfin à cette magnifique compagnie du Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris pour ces 11ans passés aux cotés d'êtres et de danseurs exceptionnels que je continuerai à admirer toujours.

I think she's a lovely dancer whom I have had the privilege to see in person only once. I hope that what seems to be a one-year contract will be extended after the year is up and that she enjoys the great opportunities she will have with San Francisco Ballet.

http://deballet.com/artists/mathilde-froustey/videos/596

Translation of Mathilde's message:

"It is time to announce that from the first of July I will become "Principal Dancer" at the San Francisco Ballet for the 2013/2014 season!
Thanks again to all of you for your support and your friendship, thank you to the Parisian public for all the energy and love that you have given me, it was a great pleasure to dance for you!
Finally, thank you to this wonderful company, Paris Opera Ballet, for the eleven years I spent alongside exceptional dancers that I will continue to admire always."

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Congratulations to Ms. Froustey :flowers:

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Congratulations to Ms. Froustey and welcome to San Francisco.

Her hiring somewhat redresses the imbalance of female/male principals at SFB. Last season, it was 7/12; for 2014, with Villanova and Mazzeo gone and Froustey on board, its now 8/10, assuming no other changes.

For anyone who has seen her perform: where might she fit in terms of roles? Is she essentially lyrical, soubrette???

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For anyone who has seen her perform: where might she fit in terms of roles? Is she essentially lyrical, soubrette…???

I would say both, she is remarkably versatile. Although it isn't unknown for POB dancers to leave their company it is still pretty unusual. She is a gorgeous dancer SFB fans are in for a treat.

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As a big Fan of Froustey (FoF), I am thrilled that she is bolting to San Fco to Principal Ballerina status, no less. It's ridiculous that she was still a sujet in Paris. Maybe Thibault could do the same?

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Did she come to NY on tour with POB? I don't remember her.

Do you think McKenzie's wheels are already spinning about a potential guest appearance by Froustey during the SFB off-season.

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Did she come to NY on tour with POB?

No, she was among the dancers who remained in Paris to dance in Ashton's La Fille mal gardée.

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San Francisco Ballet has had a number of French- and other European-trained dancers over the years during Tomasson's tenure. She should fit right in.

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Sorry for my ignorance, but high school French was 50 years ago: what is the correct pronounciation of her last name? I was thinking

Froo' stee.

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As soon as I heard that Froustey was leaving POB I had a sudden premonition that she would appear at SFB. And now I'm shocked to learn that is exactly what has happened. Many of us have been wondering about certain disappearances from the rosters - either there was budget trouble, or the comapny was making room for someone new. Will there be more suprises for SFB this summer?

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Will there be more suprises for SFB this summer?

We can only hope and wait.

Footage of Mathilde Froustey in Serenade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwudwT8ZwvE

In the first movements, she brings a Waltz Girl sensibility to Russian Girl. It's a dramatic rendition in the final movement.

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I personally love that SFB is getting a dancer from the POB school - Sofiane Sylve certainly has a French aesthetic within her dancing as well, but shows other influences (she's more 'international'). Froustey will be more 'pure' in her application, and I think that will be most interesting.

Would be nice to have a Vaganova trained dancer as well (male or female) in the SFB soloist ranks. I'm open to Big Red coming over from the Mariinsky. ;) But that's just me. Her interest in contemporary ballets would be put to good use.

Hopefully this means that Froustey is very interested in the SFB's particular repertory.

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Will there be more suprises for SFB this summer?

We can only hope and wait.

Footage of Mathilde Froustey in Serenade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwudwT8ZwvE

In the first movements, she brings a Waltz Girl sensibility to Russian Girl. It's a dramatic rendition in the final movement.

Very -- her use of focus was quite dynamic.

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Matilde is a very intersting dancer, versitile musicale, I saw her dance opposite Aurelie Dupont with Mathias Heymann as the younger sister in Onegin, SFB are certainly in for a treat. Bonne chance to her for this venture.

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Sorry for my ignorance, but high school French was 50 years ago: what is the correct pronounciation of her last name? I was thinking

Froo' stee.

PeggyR, that is how I pronounce it, using my knowledge of (also) 50 year old high school and college French! I should ask my husband (the French teacher) in the morning.

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As a big Fan of Froustey (FoF), I am thrilled that she is bolting to San Fco to Principal Ballerina status, no less. It's ridiculous that she was still a sujet in Paris.

I agree. I was surprised when I double-checked last night that she was still a sujet. She just turned 28 earlier this month. I remember when she was a teenager and new to the company, already raising eyebrows - in a positive way.

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I recall when last November she failed to win promotion or even rank in the top six among the sujets she expressed crushing disappointment on her Twitter feed. Scroll down and you'll find FoFs trying hard to console her. https://twitter.com/MFroustey Despite her early success on the competition circuit, for whatever reason she seemed to hit a wall at the POB promotion exam.

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I recall when last November she failed to win promotion or even rank in the top six among the sujets she expressed crushing disappointment on her Twitter feed. Scroll down and you'll find FoFs trying hard to console her. https://twitter.com/MFroustey Despite her early success on the competition circuit, for whatever reason she seemed to hit a wall at the POB promotion exam.

At 28 years of age, she is making the right move if she truly wants to dance principal roles: she must jump to a smaller company that is willing to give her a chance, and hopefully work with her to further develop her soloist potential. And Tomasson has shown good instincts regarding dancers - he knows who has special qualities, and is willing to work hard to learn new things, and leave their comfort zone.

Who knows if she's been looking around at various companies, but I think she will feel sufficiently challenged at SFB.

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It's a great move for Mathilde Froustey and for SFB but I'm frustrated it had to come to this. She is very clearly a victim of the usual POB company politics. Matthieu Ganio was promoted to etoile from sujet and faced tough criticism because he wasn't all that well known. Mathilde Froustey has a bigger profile or 'star' quality than half of the etoiles, but she wasn't promoted, nor has she been cast consistently.


It does make me wonder what exactly the brilliant Laurent Hilaire does now. The number two of the company, he reportedly agreed to enter management only if Brigitte Lefevre started casting in a less hierarchal manner (she hasn't). He also has a fantastic track record for supporting young dancers through organising galas, so is he really ok and/or too chicken to criticise Brigitte Lefevre's frankly bizarre management decisions?wallbash.gif

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Lefevre was on borrowed time with retirement looming, and Hilaire was in the running for her job, which he would not have been had he walked out in protest or battled with her publicly. Perhaps he thought he could be more helpful to younger dancers by staying in management, and with Millepied coming in to take over the company, and long-time etoiles at te end of their careers, there's an opportunity for change and he may be taking a long term "win the war" approach.

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You're probably right there Helene. I could of course be placing too much faith in Laurent Hilaire here but he has never come across as somebody who is particularly institutionalised. Why he or Manuel Legris didn't become director remains to be seen - I guess that's what happens when a board isn't involved, but two opera directors, one of whom likely didn't interview Benjamin Millepied himself - but given Brigitte Lefevre's wishes for Hilaire or Legris to take the healm, I don't think Millepied will be able to implement a lot of change quickly. She's lasted this long for a reason.

Mathilde Froustey has taken a maximum year's sabbatical for her move to SFB. She doesn't seem too sure about her future in Paris either: link (in French).

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If Millepied, at the helm, with the authority to hire choreographers and to cast, won't be able to implement change quickly, why should Hilaire ever have been expected to, especially if his views clashed with Lefevre's?

I think that by taking a sabbatical rather than resigning from POB, Froustey has at least a nominal hope of returning. She can see what Millepied can do and decide whether to return under his administration.

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You're probably right there Helene. I could of course be placing too much faith in Laurent Hilaire here but he has never come across as somebody who is particularly institutionalised. Why he or Manuel Legris didn't become director remains to be seen - I guess that's what happens when a board isn't involved, but two opera directors, one of whom likely didn't interview Benjamin Millepied himself - but given Brigitte Lefevre's wishes for Hilaire or Legris to take the healm, I don't think Millepied will be able to implement a lot of change quickly. She's lasted this long for a reason.

Mathilde Froustey has taken a maximum year's sabbatical for her move to SFB. She doesn't seem too sure about her future in Paris either: link (in French).

Millepied is simply one big question mark, but it's difficult to believe he will be able to make institutional changes, and WISE ones.

The title of the Froustey article, certainly makes a statement: "Mathilde Froustey, l'étoile américaine"! I don't know the inflection behind the title or article: Bitter? Astonished? Resigned?

I had to use online translation tools to get a gist of the article, but the last part sounds interesting:

"Allowed [into the company] without passing an audition.

Mathilde sent to San Francisco a candidature by e-mail. With her resume/letter of her motivations[?], and the video of her performance in Don Quichotte. Helgi Thomasson, director of San Francisco Ballet, did not make a request (for an audition]. He did not even ask Mathilde to pass a hearing. The year that Mathilde will be on the other side of the Atlantic sounds ostentatious[?]: “a tour to New York, Gisele, ballets of Justin Peck and Liam Scarlet, she will be Cinderella for Christopher Wheeldon in July, then the Summers tour to dance at the Châtelet”, she says."

I think this confirms that Tomasson has been looking about for at least one other principal ballerina (and most likely a danseur as well). The SFB principals have been looking overworked of late, and there have been losses in the ranks - some perhaps dismissed, but a few that just felt it was time to move on. That's not so surprising at year's end, but in smaller companies it is still going to make people anxious about the future.

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Froustey is quite simply gorgeous and I can't understand why she is just a sujet, but we can all think of other dancers in POB that are kept back, not just Thibault, but others too such as Kudo

She is very wise to leave and San Francisco is a brilliant choice. The Royal Ballet is short of principal dancers at present and I wonder if there may be other French ladies open to an offer, after all you can commute between London and Paris very easily on Eurostar. Any POB dancer would be a glittering jewel for any company to acquire.

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