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Fille Mal Gardée - Paris Opera School


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#16 Estelle

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 02:40 PM

Leigh, yes Goscinny wrote the scenarios for the Astérix series too (and also for the "Petit Nicolas" series of novels, for several other comics, and he was one of the editors of the comics magazine "Pilote". He was very influential on French-Belgian comics, and several expressions invented by him are now part of the French language...)

Alexandra, the link still works fine for me, that's a bit odd.

It's a bit hard for me to say how good a year it is, all the more as I didn't see the second cast.
I noticed more dancers than last year, but it may be due to the ballets (the dancers looked quite anonymous in Neumeier's "Yondering").

Also it's hard to make predictions about future careers from the POB school programs: some dancers blossom later, and on the other hand some get "buried" in the corps de ballet and never get promoted, even though they looked promising (injuries, too few available positions when they're young and after a few years as a quadrille it's very hard to become coryphee. For example, among the 5 girls who entered the company, 4 still are quadrilles and one is coryphee, and among the 7 girls who entered the company in 1998, 6 are still quadrilles and one is sujet.)

#17 Terry

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 01:44 PM

Katherine: I think we are talking about the same girl -- she was the tiny little girl (probably the tiniest in the whole corps) who hopped onto the stage from the left wing at the final section of Western.

Alexandra: Just from my own assumption (since I saw the "Spectacle de l'ecole" for the first time), I think this year's boys were not as strong as 2 years ago. I've seen a video of the graduates of 2000, which presented a couple of students at the time of their graduation, including Dorothée Gilbert, Aurore Cordellier, Ninon Raux, Adrien Bodet, Sébastien Bertaud, amongst others. Technically, the boys showed more refinement and strength, and they looked ready to enter the professional world, where as this year's boys seemed to require further school training. Still, I think it's natural that the standards change slightly from year to year.

Speaking of recent graduates, I wonder if anyone has seen the filmed version of last year's school performance : Coppelia, as it featured Mathieu Ganio, the son of Dominique Kalfouni and (forgot first name!!) Ganio . I saw him listed as a quadrille in the program, and rumors having been telling me that he's quite talented. Katherine or Estelle, if you have seen him, I'd appreciate some comments!!

I do agree with the point that Mme Claude Bessy really deserves much appraisal for the work she's achieved for the school. The level of the school is simply outstanding. I had the opportunity to see the Vaganova performance last year, and despite the differences in their methods, the level of the recent POB students looked remarkably higher. I wonder if it had just been a so-so year for Vaganova, because I do recall Vishneva's year (when they came to Japan), which included Doumchenko, Volchkova, and Gumerova, and wow!!!that was quite a year!! But going back to the POB school, perhaps the only problem I've been seeing is the lack of originality and personality amongst the recent dancers of POB. I don't know if this is something that the school "cultivates," and as Alexandra points out, perhaps this is the job of the ballet masters; but a few years ago, I think each of POB's etoiles carried a unique identity, including Pietragalla, Guerin, Loudières, and Platel. Dupont and Letestu can be called fine technicians, but to me, their dancing is rather banal and looks homogenous. Perhaps Gillot might bring a change, but I haven't seen much of her...

#18 katharine kanter

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 12:27 AM

We are now heading into a new era with Mlles. Platel, Arbo, Gaida and Maurin in the school, so any remarks that I've made elsewhere on the Board - and that I shall not be imprudent enough to repeat here today - will, I hope, soon become otiose.

I will not repeat them, but as Galileo would say - "eppur si muove".

#19 Estelle

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 04:27 AM

Terry, I saw Mathieu Ganio (his father was Denys Ganio) in "Coppelia" last year (and also in the video later). I found him very good in the role, but actually, I don't feel able to compare him with the students of the previous year, having seen them in a totally different repertory. And since the quadrilles get almost zero interesting roles, it's hard to know what he's doing now...

Among the dancers who entered the corps de ballet recently, I'm looking forward to seeing more of Claire Bevalet, whom I had liked very much in "Peches de jeunesse" two seasons ago. Indeed it is a pity that the "Programmes jeunes danseurs" take place only every second year, because there are so many talented dancers in the corps de ballet who have nearly no opportunity to be seen...

Katharine, do you know who Arbo, Gaida and Guerin will replace? The current list of teachers is (from oldest students to younger):
-Christiane Vlassi, Francesca Zumbo, Liliane Oudart, Pierrette Mallarte, Janine Guiton, Claudette Scouarnec, Fabienne Cerutti for the female students
-Jacques Namont, Jean-Yves Lormeau, Bernard Boucher, Marc Du Bouays, Bertrand Barena, Nicolle Cavallin for the male students

If I remember correctly, Vlassi and Scouarnec were female principals (Scouarnec was in the Opera Comique company before it was united with the regular POB in the 1970s), Lormeau was a principal until 1996 (he replaced the former premier danseur Gilbert Mayer, who retired this year), Boucher, Namont and Du Bouays were premiers danseurs, and Barena was in the corps de ballet. I don't know about the others- and I don't know what all of them are like as teachers... Vlassi might be close to retirement age (but she hasn't been teaching that class for so long, as for decades it had been Christiane Vaussard's class).

I liked a lot Platel, Gaida, Arbo and Maurin as dancers- but I have no idea of their teaching abilities, and surely directing the POB school must be an especially tiring job...

#20 katharine kanter

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 05:00 AM

In response to Terry's post as well: Matthieu Ganio is a tall, thin gangling lad, with the energy, brio, ballon and clean batterie that one would expect from someone ten centimetres shorter. He also has terrific presence and authority, for such a young fellow - reminds me somewhat of Flemming Ryberg when he ws a youth. Matthieu Ganio is the son of Denis Ganio, professor, and Dominque Khalfouni, a former étoile. Huge potential. But only time will tell.

Don't know who Gaida et al. will be replacing.

On the Vaganova front, the major news is of course that Atylnai Assylmouratova took over last October. Alexandra posted up here on Links, an interview with her by Marc Haegemann, where, inter alia, she casts aspersion upon the leg-thwackers. More power to her, I say ! There may be major improvements at the Vaganova School shortly.

On Ballet.co, there was a Thread recently on the Royal Ballet School. I'd invite people to read it, and then compare with what graduates of the PO School say about the atmosphere there. Night and day.

The étoile Aurelie Dupont, incidentally, has on several occasions, and in public, been scathing about the PO School. Other children have been interviewed saying things like: "we can't have friends here, only school mates, because we've got to learn to compete!"

I think that Aurélie Dupont, speaking from a privileged position where she has no grounds to be bitter or jealous , could probably be described as a rather reliable source.

That is where the "personality" problem that Terry refers to, comes from. Discipline and technique, is one thing. Drumming the stuffing out of people, is quite another. The problem is acute with the ladies, because girls, unfortunately, always tend to be so depressingly obedient.

#21 aubri

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 05:03 AM

I remember Liliane Oudart in the Prodigal Son she was very good.
Well, Platel , Arbo, Maurin, Gaida are all pure products of Claude Bessy, as they joined the school as Mlle Bessy took over mlle Guillot, so hopefully they will keep Claude Bessy excellent job, as for the dancers not being as good this year than earlier, well I will quote Mlle Bessy on that, "Dancers , it's just like wine, some years are good, some year aren't"
If you look at my year for example you will se that almost all the girls got to Principal or even Etoile, the boys on the other hands were not as good, but two years later they did reach the top, so I think, and I speak as a teacher point of view, sometime it is not the teachers or the directors but the "raw material" that is not as exceptional as other years. ;)


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