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  1. Underwhelming indeed. I'm not a big fan of a lot of mixed bills in general, they don't seem like a great way to introduce new people to ballet. And Forsythe... seriously, I don't think I feel bad about his departure from the POB. He's *everywhere* and will probably have several of his works performed by other companies touring in Paris anyway (he usually does). As for ABT, why? I'm surprised La Scala weren't smart enough to restrict ABT to touring it in the US.
  2. Josua Hoffalt doesn't hold Millepied in high regard - or Lefevre, unless I read that wrong. Not sure which tone to read the last line about Aurelie Dupont in either! http://bit.ly/1oa2c8y Karl Paquette and Stéphane Bullion have also spoken out. http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2016/02/04/benjamin-millepied-va-t-il-quitter-l-opera-de-paris_4858949_3246.html I also read a (French) article somebody tweeted I can't seem to find right now about Millepied being massively miscast and the Ministry of Culture having concerns about his ability to balance his career creating with directing. I'll try to find it or has anyone else got a link? I guess we will see how Aurelie Dupont fares. It's an interesting move for her given her eventual decision to decline signing up as a ballet master but is hiring somebody close to Benjamin Millepied really such a good idea in this kind of situation? Laurent Hilaire whilst brilliant wouldn't return for obvious reasons (although he is still interested in running a co) and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to choose between Manuel Legris and Nicolas Le Riche either. It's a shame the Paris Opera doesn't advertise vacant positions. After all, it's a subsidised organisation. Edit: William Forsythe has left his associate choreographer position. No surprises here - Millepied and Forsythe both go out of their way to promote eachother. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/05/arts/dance/benjamin-millepied-paris-opera.html?ref=arts
  3. There's an interview with Benjamin Millepied up on Vulture about it. http://www.vulture.com/2015/09/millepied-on-one-year-at-the-paris-opera-ballet.html It doesn't sound like it'll be all that focused on dance. :-/
  4. Really captures what ballet dancers do without relying on cliches. Can we have a hardcover book of Daniil Simkin's backstage photographs instead please? :-)
  5. Isn't Urin to blame for some of these things? He took a pretty strong stance on productions he felt were difficult to stage and seemed to feel the Bolshoi's coaches weren't capable of newer works (which, IMO, is rubbish. It is standard practise to bring in outside coaches, particularly towards the end of rehearsals, to work with a company's existing coaches). http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2015/1/31_Urin_admits_hes_become_conservative_at_Bolshoi.html
  6. English article: http://news.yahoo.com/russias-bolshoi-theatre-ditch-acid-attack-ballet-chief-104620415.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw Anybody else concerned about the level of control Vladimir Urin wants - and already has - over the ballet? Sergei Filin's successor won't have the same responsibilities, for starters.
  7. I don't think there's any official casting yet, just what's passed on to Dansomanie.
  8. Just wondering what people think about Wendy Perron's review (a dissenting view amongst critics?)? Food for thought. http://wendyperron.com/a-new-sleeping-beauty-but-why/
  9. I don't think so - he has always been a big fan of the POB school, especially the Nureyev generation, with Laurent Hilaire and Sylvie Guillem being his favourite dancers (explains his leg...). It might have been different in recent years? Part of his bid to take over the Mariinsky or Bolshoi though, no? Very 'Putin' ;-).
  10. Laurent Hilaire, Alessandra Ferri, Deborah Bull (her cross-cultural expertise)... just about anyone interested in creating new narrative ballets and finding a balance between homegrown talent and guests ;-). I don't think it will be an easy company to turn around though. The board don't appear to have any problems with how McKenzie runs the company - probably because ADs of major cultural institutions are always puppets.
  11. In an interview Ismene Brown recently translated, Claude Bessy accuses a trade union of making false allegations. http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2015/5/18_Paris_ballet_schools_iron_lady_speaks_frankly.html Whilst I don't think ALL of the accusations thrown at Bessy's era are false (David Hallberg and Dorothee Gilbert don't speak highly of their time there), they clearly believe Bessy is fit to be around minors or they wouldn't continue inviting her to teach classes. I doubt problems at the ecole under her direction will ever be addressed anyway. Aside from the fact the Opera director at the time ruthlessly defended Claude Bessy, it's not only a state school but under the watchful eye of relevant Ministries. Assuming France has regular school inspections like the UK then they should have picked up on these problems, and relevant Government representatives involved in the school also had a duty to raise the alarm. Except for complaints about the pressure to focus on getting into the POB, rather than having a career in ballet in general, I haven't heard anything negative in recent years anyway. A lot of the dancers speak highly of Elisabeth Platel and the teaching team there, especially Wilfrid Romoli's students. I'm not 100% sure but I was under the impression the school's director was appointed by the state anyway, so given the controversial nature of Bessy's tenure I would imagine they chose carefully. With regards to the lack of classical ballet under Lefevre, it worsened under Mortier and Joel, with a restricted budget and culture ministers not all that fond of ballet (election 2017 should be interesting...), as well as their own personal tastes getting in the way. It's likely Lissner is just as controlling. However I can't recall the POB being a powerhouse of classical dance anyway? Carolyn Carlson was a choreographer there in the early 70s and the POB has rarely made much use of its heritage, which is a great shame IMO. As for Hilaire, Legris and Le Riche, well, we won't know what the former two would do with a company, but given their track record for complaining about the ONP I don't think they wouldn't have pushed for change. The whole job wasn't about the POB anyway (has it ever been?). It was about fitting Stephane Lissner's vision for the company, who has admitted he knows nothing about dance (he knows very little about opera too, but that's for another discussion). He claims Millepied worked for the ABT and at Dupont's farewell, he addressed Benjamin Pech as Bernard Pech. Millepied isn't much better, mind, recently claiming Pech was on the same level as Le Riche, and his PR stuff for Aurelie Dupont has been a bit OTT. I don't think from interviews with Agnes Letestu and even Dupont the POB are fond of choreographers imposing their style, but I guess we'll see. The POB these days are better than what they were in the early 00s (Nureyev etoiles being the exception there) but they're still pretty weak compared to the generations before them IMO, so I think they need some fairly 'academic' staples in their rep they can get to grips with. I don't think we'll see that under Millepied though, or whoever succeeds him.
  12. Which of the dancers could be considered part of the 'Millepied generation' though? There is Leonora Boulac, who isn't receiving great reviews from balletomones lately, her Paquita in particular. Dancers like Park, Alu, O'Neill, Bourdon and Marchand were already on their way to more regular casting, which should be credited to Laurent Hilaire, who pushed for a shake up of distributions when he succeeded Patrice Bart - Myriam Ould-Braham being his biggest success here. I haven't heard much of Juliette Hilaire, Aubane Philbert and Charline Giezendanner? Maybe not suited for principal roles but they've shone in soloist roles in the past. Eve Grinsztajn's widely regarded as the company's finest dancer-actor today and had some success under Brigitte Lefevre, but doesn't seem to be getting much luck under Millepied. I'm not surprised there is some discussion amongst balletomones or critics about the lack of dancers in the upper ranks being cast though. The revival of Forsythe's In The Middle was met with the same heavy criticism for casting a young generation. Perhaps the same pricing cast to cast doesn't help, or the most popular nights with balletomones going to so-called 'unknowns', but would there not be more value in pairing the younger dancers with etoiles and premiers anyway? You'd learn a lot more, surely? With regards to Neumeier, do we know if he did the casting beforehand with Lefevre? She had a habit of casting too many etoiles in new works.
  13. Regarding Homans, Mark Franko's (Professor of Dance, University of California, if you're unfamiliar - edit: not sure he is still there actually...) review of Apollo's Angels and his criticism of her views on ballet (issues of morality, for example) is well worth the read. http://nybaroquedance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Apollos-Angels-review.pdf
  14. I'll try saving up for Mur-Mur - would have liked to have seen 'La Reine mort' but I didn't get chance to.
  15. Sure, but I'm not sure why, when there is increasing pressure on all subsidised mixed rep majort arts orgs to support as wide a circle of artists as possible, both amongst critics, the public and the Governments, ballet gets a get of jail free card because of its history. Funding is drying up and there are ethics now which weren't there then.
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