Nanarina

Paris Opera Dancers Strike

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I have just returned from a quick trip to Paris to see the programme above, and was very disappointed to learn that the performance had been cancelled due to a strike by the Dancer's. We were sent to the Box office to claim reimbursement of our ticket price. But no explanation of the reason this drastic action was taken by the performers which totally ruined the audiences evening. I was wondering if any of our French members know more about the situation . There are now some interesting video's posted showing excerpts from the work, featuring Aurelie Dupont and Nicholas Le Riche which makes it even more regrettable that we were unable to see the performance we had booked to attend,

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How frustrating is that?!

I happened to be reading comments from some people complaining about last-minute casting changes at another company's performance (and they were definitely angry comments), but to fly to Paris and see nothing at all - that would definitely make me crazy.

I'm not seeing any information regarding the strike, but I did see this article about Dorothee Gilbert being named etoile during a strike performance (with minimal costumes and sets):

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jMQ4x-pwMaJjVyem7yW__o6DIgrA?hl=en

Amusing in retrospect only.

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I’m not fully aware of all the details but there are big threats over the unemployment compensation regime of people working in the arts (artists and technicians). Two De Mille/Cullberg shows have been cancelled, February 27 and March 12.

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Wow. I thought the Paris Opera dancers were very well taken care of. Perhaps not. Wonder what Millipied thinks of this.

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Indeed -- what a time to start a new job!

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This is a general movement in the arts right now. Dancers are not the only elements in a show, this is the entire profession which is threaten.

As Millepied, he probably knows the trade unions are strong in the Paris Opera, it's well known!

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Since getting back from Paris, I have reviewed the situation and researched strikes at the time. I found out there was 2 strikes to be instigated by the Public Employees Union including the 12th March for 24 hours. In connection with the Hellas-France Alliance a cultural association between the two countries. In support of the Greek economic situation. Quite frankly this astounds me, and I strongly object to being effected by something I do not subscribe to or have no connection with. The performance was still showing on the Internet before I left home that morning, with the availability to book. I find it un acceptable for the Opera to invite international audiences then treat them like this with no warning whatsoever, We were able to get our ticket and programme money back, but that still leaves me nearly 300 euro's out of pocket for nothing. The fact that the audience provide support and valuable income to the organisation seems to have no meaning to them, they may well be subsidized by the government, but without the revenue from performances and friends of the Opera their financial standing would be very different. I am very much in support of people's rights but cutting off half the hand that provides for you does not make for a better workman.

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We have so few major strikes in the US any more that we forget about their impact. Many thousands of tourists, both domestic and international, did get a nasty introduction to government shutdowns here for 16 days in October 2013.

I'm not pointing a (political) finger at anybody for any of this -- just saying that travel of any kind comes with risks. It never hurts to have a Plan B. I can remember having my heart set on seeing certain paintings at a museum I was visiting, only to learn that they were out on loan for another exhibit. And ballet lovers are used to favorite dancers cancelling at the last minute due to illness, injury, what have you.

Edited by California

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If the Opera knew that the performances were canceled but didn't update the website until the last minute, that it is extremely frustrating, misleading and poor customer service. They should announce cancellations as soon as they know about them and they should do their best, within reason, to make sure everyone with tickets is aware of the cancellation.

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maybe the workers who update the website were part of the strike?

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Just two things.

I don't believe the opera went on strike to support Greek economy. It was not a General strike but a sector strike of the artistic trade unions. The Opera went on strike because employees believed their art is threaten. To go on strike is never done lightly especially in the artistic domains where it's all about giving yourself to the audience. The high quality delivered by the artists of POB is a product of a system and perhaps we can trust them to know what to do to keep going this high quality.

As for the direction of the Opera, French law offers the right to strike and they have no say on this! Usually, they inform people as soon as they know. The cancellation of the 27th show has been known pretty late but the one of the 12th was known the day before ( I received a sms and an e-mail to inform me the 11th).

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are these strikes likely to continue? I am going to Paris mid-May and have tix for several performances.

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Someone in France is always striking. If it's not the dancers, it's the farmers, or the railway workers, or the dairymen. It's just normal in France to strike, in the same way that it's normal in the US for someone to own an arsenal of guns that exceeds the grand total owned by the French Army.

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Someone in France is always striking. If it's not the dancers, it's the farmers, or the railway workers, or the dairymen. It's just normal in France to strike, in the same way that it's normal in the US for someone to own an arsenal of guns that exceeds the grand total owned by the French Army.

Zing!

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I most certainly did not know anything about the strike, the first I knew was when I actually arrived at the theatre. The opera knows my email address as I have a Opera Card, so why could they not advise me. I found the details of a 24hr strike on 12th on the internet after I returned home. under the Hellos - France Alliance, which was a cultural agreement with very similar connotations in liaison with the Public Employees Union. Seems a bit of a coincidence that the times and dates are identical. .

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I did not even consider I would need to have a fall back, I went solely for that one performance, of course one is prepared to illness, injury or cast changes. Thank goodness we do not get strikes in the UK without some publicity. Having been involved in the professional world of ballet for many years, unless my memory is failing me, I cannot remember Dancers going on strike, and they were never as privileged as a lot of other companies.

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Dancer strikes have happened before - the Washington Ballet strike a few years ago comes to mind. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5134322 But I agree dancer strikes seem fairly rare.

To me (an American who spends about one third the year in France) it seems like there is always a strike of some sort going on in France! It's a cultural thing that I think baffles most Anglo-Saxons. In the UK and US striking is the last resort, whereas in France it's not.

I totally sympathize with how irritating and disappointing it must have been to plan your trip, spend the money to buy tickets and then find the performance canceled.

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ABT dancers went out on strike three times in the late 70s and early 80s, mainly over pay that was significantly less than dancers of comparable rank at NYCB. (Several sources on this, including Tchernichova's book, Dancing on water, p. 214.) In 1973, NYCB dancers went on strike over the number of guaranteed work weeks. The NYCB musicians went on strike several times in that era. Still, in the recent past, we don't seem to have had much experience with dancer strikes in the U.S.

The frequency of strikes in certain countries in Europe seems baffling to Americans. But the Europeans have a hard time understanding our love of guns and the death penalty, and our refusal to convert to the metric system (among other things).

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The reason why there is a lot of strikes in France is because there is no culture of dialogue between the employers and trade unions... That's when they are face to difficulties that employers think about the people...

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