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Shake-up at POB School

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#1 katharine kanter

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Posted 04 April 2002 - 06:33 AM

There is news from the Opera School. Claude Bessy gave an interview to Le Figaro on March 29th which I am now attempting to get hold of, having lost that issue. According to hearsay, the interview contains the following information.

Mlle. Bessy apparently THREATENS to EMIGRATE to Australia, owing to the lack of interest in classical dance in France. She says that the authorities - the Culture Ministry et al. - are bitterly opposed to classical dance and have been doing everything possible to eradicate it.

Mlle Bessy, who is now approaching 70, confirms that Elisabeth Platel will head the school as of 2004, and has already begun to work with her. Mlle. Platel having refused to deal with logistics (leaking roofs, et al.), an Administrator has been appointed this week, to deal with such things.

Also very important: the étoiles Gaida and Arbo, who retired this year, have joined the school, and Elisabeth Maurin will join next year on her retirement. All three ladies have made their name in the strictly classical repertory, and Elisabeth Platel has made no secret of her dislike of what is now called "contemporary" dance.

For once, this is positive news. A little hat-tossing into the air may be in order....

#2 Estelle


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Posted 04 April 2002 - 07:17 AM

I've heard about that interview too, but not read it (pity there are so few things on the Figaro web site). It's good to read that Arbo, Gaida and Maurin will be hired at the POB school (though I don't know how good at teaching they are- after all, a good dancer doesn't necessarily make a good teacher... But at least they've received a good training!). I wonder which previous teachers they will be replacing? Perhaps Christiane Vlassi, who probably is close to retirement age?

I don't know how serious her threats of emigration to Australia (why Australia, by the way? Has she been offered a position there?) are: in the last few years she has threatened to resign from the school direction several times, for various reasons (for example at a moment when the POB had hired some dancers not from the school- she protested that more dancers from the POB school should be hired). From what I've read, one thing she was complaining about was the bureaucracy, and for example the fact that some rules which might prevent the students of the school from performing with the company as often than before.
By the way, while there are some aspects of the policy of the ministry of culture that I don't like, I think that "doing everything possible to eradicate it" is a bit exaggerated- after all, I very much doubt that there are many schools in the world as subsidized by the state as the POB school...

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