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POB "passeport" for Kader Belarbi's "Hurlevent"


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#1 Estelle

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Posted 03 February 2002 - 06:34 PM

Yesterday, I attended a "passeport" at the Paris Opera: the "passeport" are free events (generally a master class or a public rehearsal) which take place in a small amphitheater of the Opera Bastille. It can be an interesting way to learn more about some roles, and also to see some corps de ballet dancers who usually get only "third-swan-from-the-left" roles.

This time, the "passeport" was dedicated to the creation of Kader Belarbi "Hurlevent", which will be premiered by the POB on February 26. It will be a full-length work in two parts, after Emily Brontë's "Wuthering heights" (often translated into French as "Les Hauts de Hurlevent"), on some music by Philippe Hersant (commissionned especially for the ballet).

Belarbi, who just turned 39, has danced with the POB since 1980, and has been a principal dancer (etoile) since 1989, he's from the same generation as Manuel Legris and Laurent Hilaire, and was the last dancer promoted to principal by Rudolf Nureyev. In the last few seasons, he danced mostly demicaractere roles and contemporary works.
He started choreographing a few years ago, and also is interested in painting.

The "passeport" began with a short introductive talk by Brigitte Lefèvre, who explained that she was interested in Belarbi's previous work "Les saltimbanques", created a few years ago in Japan (I saw it later at the Maison de la Danse, it was uneven but interesting) and had asked him to create a work for the POB.

The rest of the "passeport" was a public rehearsal with two dancers of the company, the premiers danseurs Jérémie Bélingard and Nolwenn Daniel, who will dance respectively the roles of Heathcliff and Isabelle in the second cast (in the first cast, they will be danced by Nicolas Le Riche and Eleonora Abbagnato). They rehearsed some parts of a pas de deux (which was in fact a part of a pas de quatre with two simultaneous pas de deux: Heathcliff and Isabelle, and Catherine and Edgar).

It was a bit surprising to see that, three weeks only before the premiere, so many things still were unsettled, and Belarbi himself often had some trouble remembering the details of some variations, and needed to watch a video to remember it (also sometimes he modified some details). It made one understand the tremendous amount of work needed to create such a ballet, considering how much time it took to rehearse a few minutes of choreography... Also, I was quite happy to have an opportunity to see Nolwenn Daniel, a charming and musical dancer who was promoted as premiere danseuse at the last annual competition, after some rather empty months. However, I'd have liked Belarbi to give more explanations about his vision of the story, his inspiration for the ballet and his style of choreography, because it was a bit frustrating to see only such a tiny part of it. Now I'm looking forward to the premiere...

#2 ileana

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Posted 04 February 2002 - 03:59 AM

Thank you Estelle !
I was not able to attend this passport on last Saturday and was sorry about it. Thanks to you I have the feeling to have been there.

#3 Viviane

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Posted 04 February 2002 - 08:22 AM

Estelle, I have enjoyed your 'Belarbi passeport' report and I'm looking forward to hear you about the premiere. I wonder in which way the 'passeport' will influence your viewing of the performance.
Well, I have never been that fortunated to experience something equal like this !
It also holds my attention to read : ".......and needed to watch a video to remember it..."
I recently had a 'talk' about teaching through video and it still haunts me somehow.
I understand that -here- it was the choreographer himself who used the video as a reminder.
Any idea if the dancers -in this piece- are using the video too to pick-up the choreography ?
Can you shed a light on the issue of using video in the 'teaching variations'-process ?

#4 Estelle

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Posted 04 February 2002 - 08:32 AM

Well, at least I'll ty to recognize the moment which was rehearsed when it is danced on stage!

About the video: actually, I was a bit surprised to see that Belarbi relied so much on it. It was hard for the audience to see it, as it was on a small screen (and it took quite a lot of time to have the VCR work- which caused some laughters from the audience); it seems that it was a video of some previous rehearsals with the first cast (Le Riche and Abbagnato). They watched only a few segments of it, and about twice Belarbi used it to check some movement he was unsure of.

I don't know how Bélingard and Daniel had learnt their roles. In general, it seems that videos are used more and more to learn the roles; surely it has the advantage of being quicker, and convenient when there are several casts, but I think that it can't replace real coaching, and that it might cause some problems because videos usually are in a bad shape after a few years...


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