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Students of the Paris Conservatoire, Jan 29, 2002

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On Jan 29, 2002, I attended one of the annual performances of the

students of the Paris Conservatoire (Conservatoire National

Superieur de Musique et de Danse).

During their fifth year of training at the Conservatoire, the students

form the "Junior Ballet" and perform in Paris, in a few other French

cities and abroad; they also attend some pedagogy classes. The Junior

Ballet is divided in two groups, one with the "danse contemporaine"

students and the other one with the ballet students. In december, I had

attended one of the performances of the contemporary group, which included

some excerpts of Alwin Nikolais' "Tensile involvement", a humorous trio

"Oratorio mongol" by the Groupe Castafiore, and some rather dull new works

by Hervé Robbe and Philippe Blanchard.

The performances of the ballet group used to include some repertory works,

but in the last few seasons they seem to have switched to "crossover"

style and include mostly very recent works. Tuesday's program included Nicolo Fonte's "Everyday Incarnation" (instead of a new work by Mauro

Bigonzetti which had been planned initially), Davide Bombana's creation

"Petite suite en noir", Robert North's "Death and the maiden", and David

Allan's "Palladio". There was a total of nine dancers in the whole class,

five boys and four girls (Boulat Akhmjanov, Isabelle Brusson, Julien

Guérin, Marie-Séverine Hurteloup, Ludwig Koch, Aurélia Lefaucheux, Lilian

Pommier, Maria Robert and Grégoire Thominet).

A pleasant surprise was that, this year, two of the works were danced

on some live music, performed by some musicians of the Conservatoire

(during the previous seasons, all the ballets used recorded music).

The Conservatoire seems to have some good relationships with Nicolo

Fonte, as he had already created "Accidental signals" for them

in 2000, which had been danced again in 2001. This time, it was

a revival of a work which had been created for the Aspen/ Santa

Fe Ballet in 2000. I had found "Accidental signals" rather pleasant

but a bit empty and monotonous, and was even more disappointed with

"Everyday incarnation": Vivaldi's "Concerto della Natura", played

by six young musicians of the Conservatoire was pleasant, but for me

the choreography was repetitive and bland, looking like a weak version

of Nacho Duato (I saw later in the program notes that Fonte danced for

Duato company for several years).

The second work of the evening, "Petite Suite en Noir" by the Italian

choreographer Davide Bombana, was the only creation of the program.

It used several musical pieces by Hindemith (Kammermusik n.1 op.24

1st movement, n.2 op.36 1st and 2nd movements, n.5 op. 36

1st movement). It was fast and energetic, using some ballet steps

(the girls were on pointe) but with some unusual arm movements (for example the dancers sometimes had clenched fists). Laurent Matignon's

lights were quite nice, while I wasn't really convinced by Catherine

Garnier's very short costumes. The style of the work reminded me a little

bit of Forsythe, but fortunately with less aggressiveness.

The third work, "Death and the maiden", had already been danced last year;

this year it benefitted from live music, performed by four students of the

Conservatoire (Carole Petitdemange, Olivia Hughes, Lise Orivel and Joelle

Martinez). North's style is closer to modern dance than to ballet in my

opinion, and has some grahamian elements, but (paradoxically for a

"ballet" program) it was the most successful work of the program, perhaps

because it was the only work with a plot (even if very vague), and also

because of the emotional impact of Schubert's beautiful music. It was

danced with talent by Grégoire Thominet, as the dark-clad, menacing Death,

Marie-Séverine Hurteloup as the maiden, and Marina Robert as a sort of

guardian angel; the last image (Death finally embracing the girl and

taking her away) was especially striking.

The last work, "Palladio", had been created last year for the students of

the Conservatoire. It is a light work for nine dancers (8 couples and a

male soloist) on Karl Jenkins'"Diamond Music" (a bit too repetitive for my

taste but pleasant), with pinkish costumes by Catherine Garnier which I

found somewhat ridiculous and unflattering. Julien Guérin had the

difficult task to succeed the womderful Xavier Chasseur-Daniel in the main

role, and was very talentful; in general all the dancers showed a bright

technique (that was the more classical work of the program from that point

of view) and much joy and enthusiasm.

As usual at the Conservatoire, the audience (in which one could recognize

some teachers, and also the former POB principals Jean Guizerix and Wilfride Piollet) was enthusiastic.

I have one regret about those performances: the program notes

include very few details about the performers, so that in general

it's nearly impossible to identify the dancers, and they don't say

anything about the careers of the students of the previous seasons...

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A google search helped me find some alumni of the Conservatoire:

+among those who had performed in 2000 (Leigh, you might remember some of them smile.gif ) :

-Mehdi Walerski dances with the Nederlands Dans Theater 2

-Vidal Bini and Céline Nunigé dance with the Ballet du Rhin

-Franck Laizet and Dorothée Delabie seem to dance in Saarbruck in Germany

+among those who had performed in 2001:

-Aurélie Gaillard is in Basel in Switzerland.

-Amandine Biancherin, Xavier Chasseur-Daniel and Alexis Gutierrez dance with the Centre Chorégraphique National de Nancy et de Lorraine

-Alexis Simonot dances with the Grands Ballets Canadiens

-Cyril Bréant dances with the Ballet of Leipzig in Germany

[ February 06, 2002: Message edited by: Estelle ]

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