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Dance in Paris in 2003

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This is a great idea indeed! :)

First of all, I wish to say that the schedules at the Paris Opera Ballet these last seasons have not been what they ought to be: why Mrs Brigitte Lefêvre does not plan to restage our typical French repertoire as Serge Lifar for instance? Well this is another problem.

This year, I have appreciated the following dancers :

-Svetlana Zakharova and Jean-Guillaume Bart in Swan Lake. This ballerina had already impressed me when she had danced Nikiya at POB in 2001. She was a perfect Odette with very nice arms (we are not accustomed to see Swan Lake danced in this way here... :devil: ) Nevertheless, I did not like as much her Black Swan, as it seemed too artificial. Jean-Guillaume was still very elegant, very appropriate to Siegfried's part, with a very clean dance.

-Eléonora Abbagnato in Sylvia's Neumeier. Very different from the traditional version by Mérante, Sylvia is a huntress who awakes to sensuality. Eléonora Abbagnato, even though she doesn't have a great "technique", was a very moving Sylvia.

-The Nureyev's Gala Tribute. It's very unusual to see all the Etoiles together on stage. All "Nureyev's children" were there : Elisabeth Platel in Raymonda, Monique Loudières in Cinderella (my favourite ballerina :D ), Laurent Hilaire and Manuel Legris in Béjart's "Les Chants du compagnon errant", Isabelle Guérin in La Bayadère and Elisabeth Maurin in Romeo & Juliet. A very moving tribute, especially during the Grand Défilé.

-Dorothée Gilbert in Tchaïkovsky pas-de-deux (Balanchine). Every year, we are lucky to see special performances composed by famous pieces from the repertoire danced by the members of the Corps de Ballet. Miss Dorothée Gilbert (only Coryphée at that time) was simply amazing: vivacious, clean and precise with an appropriate Balanchine style. Since her performance, she got some soloist parts in other Balanchine's works : Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C and Liebeslieder Walzer. On December 23rd, she was promoted as Sujet (ranked first).

-Aurélie Dupont and Sylvie Guillem in Mac Millan's Manon. They were totally different but both were interesting. Aurélie Dupont came back on stage after on long period of injury. She was very simple and moving in Manon, despite her partner (Jean-Guillaume Bart not concerned by Des Grieux’s adventures!!). Miss Guillem was totally different; first of all, I think this part is a little special for her because she came back with it at Garnier after her blunt departure from POB. Secondly, she dances this ballet like no other dancer and she gives Manon an infinity of interesting details. In my opinion, Manon with Sylvie Guillem was obviously the best performance of this year.

-Elisabeth Maurin in Giselle : despite the fact that she is losing her technique, she is one of the great Giselle at the POB, maybe the best one right now. Year after year, she added the final touches to this part. Very moving indeed!

Well, the negative points now :) :

-La Petite Danseuse de Degas, choreographed by Patrice Bart. This production tells us the life of POB ballerinas in the 19th century: miserable life matched with prostitution and theft to survive. This is an uninteresting production with an insipid music. One could have made an interesting ballet out of this argument, but the choreography and the music are totally without interest.

-Diana Vichniova in Manon. What a difference between her and Miss Guillem or Miss Dupont. Miss Vichniova has nothing to tell in a such ballet, she was so foreseeable. No spontaneity at all. I have to admit her dance was beautiful, but that's all. No more comments…..

I wanted to add that I had the opportunity to see the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow this year. I very much enjoyed all their performances (Swan Lake, Anyuta, Don Quixote, La Sylphide…) and in my opinion , it is the best company around the world right now. But this is not the subject here :wink: !

Edited by Jean-Luc
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My "coups de coeur" are for

Hervé Moreau as Aminta in Sylvia by Neumeier, I knew the classical possibilities of this dancer but he is also a great neo-classical, contemporary ballet.

Nijinsky by Neumeier and particularly Alexandre Riabko smiling dancer who was a Nijinsky more insane than Bubenicek certainly due to his face more near to the Nijinsky's face. It was a ballet where the Strenght of the choreography is always showed

One night Delphine Moussin and José Martinez danced Diamonds and they were absolutey perfect, it was not cold as when he danced with Agnès, it was a couple very exceptionnal !

Delphine Moussin as Rubies Soloist

Dorothée Gilbert as Tchaïkovsky pas de deux, she was absolutely wonderful, I must say that now I have too many problem to see a good ballerina in this part after her, so she understood style and have the peps of this ballet. I must quote also Laura Hecquet who is a tall dancer, very beautiful who remains Platel by some points, she was not ranked in the last competition but she merits too many to be up in the hierarchy

Aurélie Dupont and Clairemarie Osta as Manon, the first for her back on stage was absolutely exceptionnal of lyrism, she is Manon as the second.

Laurent Hilaire in all the parts he had this year as Miraculous Mandarin, Des Grieux besides Sylvie Guillem, Chants du compagnon errant, this year in Four T or in Preljocaj's trait d'Union !

Monique Loudières who was absolutely amazing in Cinderella pas de deux, she is THE ballerina, and we don't have any dancer as her actually. In the tribute to Nureyev I love also Marguerite and Armand with Guillem, Swan Lake black Swan by Letestu, Martinez, also Bach Suite 2 by Kader Belarbi !

Other "coups de coeur" Benjamin Pech as Albrecht or in Prodigal son or against in Trait d'union he has an etoile potential.

Marie-Agnès Gillot as Siren in Prodigal Son

Liebesliederwalzer, a ballet unknown from Balanchine, but very enjoyable and what cast Letestu/Bart, Dupont/Hilaire, exceptionnal Moussin/Legris and Pujol/Pech alternating with Gillot, Gilbert/Paul, Ciaravola (new première danseuse)/Pech and Riqué/Duquenne

My dislike was as Jean-Luc :

Diana Vishneva in Manon, she is a perfect dancer if you speak about technic, but we have no interpretation, she dance with "bad taste" :shrug:

Glacial Decoy, a ballet in silence by Trisha Brown I found no interest in this ballet except if you want to make work your memory and remember all the "Rauschenberg pictures you see

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Well for me the highlights of the year were :

- The Nureev's tribute. It was very moving. When I saw the Defile, so many memories came to my mind. And it was a great joy to see Elisabeth Platel, Moniques Loudieres and Isabelle Guerin on stage again. Also Sylvie Guillem of course, although she wasn't featured in the Defile: I thought it was a great mistake. Both Laurent Hilaire and Manuel Legris in le Chant du compagnon errant, a very strong image.

- Mac Millan's Manon with both Clairemarie Osta and Sylvie Guillem. Each of them is unique but they have someting in common : Both of the two showed us in her very own way some very strong emotions.

-The School annual performance, especially Jean-Guillaume Bart's Péchés de Jeunesse and Claude Bessy's Mouvements. From Mouvement, I treasure one image : all the kids when they are running from the Foyer de la danse to go in front of the stage. From Peché de jeunesse, I keep on my mind the spirit of the performance : it is very appropriate for teenagers, full of light and freshness.

-Giselle with Elisabeth Marin: she's the best, simply amazing and stunning !!

Of course, her technical backgrounds are weaker now, but what an artist !

-La petite danseuse de Degas : yeah the music is a nightmare :shrug: but overall I liked it. You can find the choreo is a bit disorganized of course but so are some Dega's paintings after all. :P And Laetitia Pujol was a pleasant surprise of that production !

-Nijinski's by the Hamburg's Ballet : very typical Neumier's work, some very good dancers, a good story and tones of emotions !! Mrs Lefevre, if you ever read this, I would like to see the Magnificat again on the POb's stage !!!

Well, right now, that's all !

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