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Mathilde Froustey, POB sujet, changing companies -joining San Francisco Ballet as Principal Dancer


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#16 Marga

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 10:23 PM

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.



#17 Marga

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 10:30 PM

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.



#18 volcanohunter

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:13 PM

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.



#19 pherank

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:23 PM

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.



#20 tomorrow

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 04:10 AM

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


#21 Helene

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 07:22 AM

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.

#22 tomorrow

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 06:44 AM

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).


#23 Helene

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 08:09 AM

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.

#24 pherank

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Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:44 AM

 

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.



#25 Mashinka

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 01:04 AM

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.



#26 pherank

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 11:05 AM

Of course, who knows how things will play out over her year in San Francisco - I only hope there is not too much culture shock for her. Aside from Pascal Molat and Sofiane Sylve, and maybe Dana Genshaft, I don't think there are any other French speaking company members, so there will be difficulties. And San Francisco/West Coast of North America are very different environments from Paris, France!

 

I keep thinking of the interview in which Aurelie Dupont mentions emailing ABT, because she wanted to perform in Onegin with ABT and would they be interested? But they weren't not interested at the time. And I keep thinking, she obviously sent her email to the wrong Creative Director: SFB has been performing Onegin for the last 2 years! Of course, Dupont just wanted to "guest" with ABT, but what a great arrangement for a smaller company like SFB - to start having guests from time to time *might* be an exciting change of pace. But I would definitely not want to see a permanent ABT situation set up in San Francisco with lots of permanent "guests". One of the strengths of the company is its cohesion - everyone working together, year after year.



#27 Jayne

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 12:37 PM

Have we really ever heard of dancers complaining about SFB for its culture and environment?  I can't think of any quotes, off hand.  It's a vibrant city - though insanely expensive.  



#28 pherank

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 12:47 PM

Have we really ever heard of dancers complaining about SFB for its culture and environment?  I can't think of any quotes, off hand.  It's a vibrant city - though insanely expensive.  

 

I'm a casualty of Bay Area high costs myself: it became prohibitively expensive to live where I wanted to live, and I refuse to live in the "sketchy" zones just to say I'm in the Bay Area. So now I dream about moving back to Marin or Sonoma. Or Santa Cruz.

 

I've been wondering what sort of support dancers get from the company regarding these moves.



#29 Helene

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 01:07 PM

There's support, and there's support.  Dancers, staff, and board members have big networks and can help with many things.  Messmer said to Gia Kourlas,

 

Simone Messmer: Yeah. To rent there is more expensive than New York. It’s crazy. And people actually find that the best way to find an apartment is on Craigslist. But for the first time trying it, the woman on the phone was like, “Yeah, I understand what you’re telling me, but during the time that we’ve been on the phone, I’ve gotten three e-mails and checks for this apartment. So should I just hang up?” For real. I was like, I don’t even know what to say to that! Thankfully the landlord of our apartment is a ballet patron; the apartment needs renovation and my boyfriend was like, “I’ll do the renovation.”

 

 

I'm pretty sure there's a similar network of landlords in Queen Anne in Seattle that love to have dancers as tenants:  most are in class by 10am, may be back home for lunch or a nap, and get home later to cook dinner and collapse, six days a week, which sounds pretty low-maintenance to me.



#30 pherank

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:40 PM

I'm pretty sure there's a similar network of landlords in Queen Anne in Seattle that love to have dancers as tenants:  most are in class by 10am, may be back home for lunch or a nap, and get home later to cook dinner and collapse, six days a week, which sounds pretty low-maintenance to me.

 

They're like grad students.  ;)

 

Sadly, there are few inexpensive living options for such people in SF. Only the wealthy have options.

I have known people over the years who were in special situations, such as rent control in the Haight-Ashbury or Mission areas, but then you have to deal with the depressing street scenes outside your building. And crime.

 

I was wondering if there were landlords that specifically catered to the stage perfromers of SF (similar to what has existed in NYC).




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