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Aurelie Dupont and Claude Bessy

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I bought the lavish new photo book about the Paris Opera Ballet, In Situ. The books contains several interviews, including an illuminating one (in French w/ an English translation) with Aurelie Dupont. She says the following:

"But you see, when I entered the corps de ballet, and remember that I was the top of my year, Claude Bessy, the head of the school at the time, dropped that little sentence that you [the interviewer] know about that sunk me for a certain number of years. I feel resentful towards her because it was due to her that I became a sort of machine encased in technical armour."

Does anyone know what the "little sentence" was (w/ link provided, hopefully)?

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I have no idea but Dupont said this in an interview once:

How was the school in the Paris Opera for you?

I am the only one to say that was very hard. Most of the dancers, etoiles or not etoiles, never say it. It’s like a secret. I think we have good teachers, the level is very high, you have good lessons and you work very hard, but I didn’t like a lot of things in the school. It was not human, we are children and sometimes they forget that we are children, they don’t see this part. I was fragile and very shy but I didn’t show it to become stronger. That was hard for me. I became a good soldier but I never forget that behind all this I had sensitivity. I think it is important for kids to keep the “inner child”, otherwise you do dance as robot. When I was in the school I wasn’t so sensitive as I am now, because you are not allow to show it. Then it is very hard to search in yourself what you had to hide, and to put all this back. Now it is in my personality and I am happy because I think I am more honest on stage: if I want to be strong I know how to be strong, and if I want to be fragile, like me, I will be fragile.

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I imagine the "little sentence" can be many things, depending on the person. Mathilde Froustey described POB school this way:

The Paris Opéra Ballet School initially rejected her, deeming her Achilles tendons too short, but when she was 14, her mother sent photos again. Froustey was accepted as a paying student (the school is tuition-free for students admitted at a younger age), and spent three unhappy years there: “I was coming from a fun, relaxed environment, and I didn’t understand why everyone was so mean. At 14, you shouldn’t be told that you’re fat and kicked out of class.”

And Maria Kochetkova, reminiscing about life at the Bolshoi:

The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s threw its institutions into chaos. They were forced to change, including the 200-year-old behemoth, the Bolshoi Ballet. Sofia Golovkina, the famed dragon who had ruled the Bolshoi Ballet School for over 20 years already, no longer had the luxury of focusing exclusively on students admitted for their talent. Families who could pay cash were able to catch and hold Golovkina’s all-important attention. An only child from a family of modest means, Kochetkova had considerable promise but no ballet training when she first appeared at the doors of the school where compatriot Rudolf Nureyev had spent his formative years several decades earlier.

Golovkina summarily rejected Maria and sent her back to her beloved rhythmic gymnastics competitions. Only two out of every hundred girls who auditioned during those years were accepted, regardless of talent or financial means. Kochetkova was then approached by her gymnastic coach’s husband. He said she was a natural ballet dancer and wanted to help her prepare to audition again the following year. She agreed to try and this time Golovkina admitted her. She progressed well and was soon in the full-time program that included a rigorous curriculum of ballet, character dance, music, languages, and other academic subjects.

Maria worked from early morning until well into the evening day after day, but the famously harsh Golovkina was not impressed with her potential. The fierce school director cornered her one day after class. “You will never be a dancer. You have no neck.”

Kochetkova’s eyes still betray her outrage at being discouraged in such a cruel manner. “I had spent my childhood walking on my hands. I had never thought about having a neck!” She pulled her shoulders down to demonstrate how she worked to lengthen the appearance of her spine. Asked if she carries Galovkina’s voice with her to this day and sees only her neck when she looks in the mirror, she was quick to respond. “I have never liked anything I see in the mirror.”

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Maybe this is it:

"You know the physical pain is normal. You know you have to work, you have to suffer. But the mental pain when you are little is hard to take, to cope with."

"What is the mental pain?"

"Mental pain is the remarks...the little comments that demoralize you and make you think: I don't think I'm cut out for this. It's brutal when you're a kid of 12 and you think, She's right, maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I'm never made to be an étoile. So you are young and you hear this kind of remark."

- Étoiles: the Dancers of Paris Opera Ballet (2001)

http://www.trilulilu.ro/video-cultura/etoiles-dancers-of-the-paris-opera-ballet-class-re (starting from 25:45 or so).

Also she was mentioned in an article of Bessy Claude's ruling method of the school:


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There is a Russian interview in Kommereant with Claude Bessy where she says Aurelie Dupont was lazy and resentful throughout her years at school. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&nv=1&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://kommersant.ru/doc/2271530&usg=ALkJrhjkChdjASadq6YwvXMwkqWdiU-b6A

I can't find the article but around the same time the review of Claude Bessy's era at the POB School, the writer said even one of the etoiles (anonymous) was unhappy with the way his daughter and her fellow students were being treated.

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Interesting photo from Vienna:


I didn't think Claude Bessy and Aurelie Dupont could coexist in the same city let alone stand so close to one another. Apparently, they let the bugles sing a truce on Manuel Legris' big night.

(l-r)Benjamin Pech, Isabelle Guerin, Claude Bessy, Agnes Letestu, Manuel Legris, Aurelie Dupont, Eleanora Abbagnato, unknown gentleman, Elisabeth Platel, unknown gentleman

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