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International Petipa Colloquium Bordeaux October 2015

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Does anyone know if it will all be translated? I would imagine so if there will be many international participants or perhaps there will be a wired translator? The website has an English button but much of it remains in French.

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From what I can see, some of the sessions will be presented in English and some in French (notation at end of session listing) -- no idea if there will be on-the-ground translation. Of if there will be a translated proceedings involved. Doug, can you shed some light here?

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well, I suspect the majority of the symposium will be in French, seeing as it's held in France. Why wouldn't it be?

But here's your answer (from the French page):

Les débats se dérouleront dans trois langues officielles, le français, le russe et l'anglais et seront intégralement traduits.

ie. they will be interpreted in full.

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Katherine, thank you so much. I only know a little French, of the ballet class and menu variety, and so hesitate to translate anything that isn't about the barre or the bar.

plus I imagine there will be wine, it being in Bordeaux, and that always "improves" one's second-language skills ;-)

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Indeed it does! OK, the site works now! Question - is it really only 45 euro for the whole thing? Thoughts?

Pretty amazing but apparently true!

« Full registration fee » (for 3 days)

 Includes all oral sessions, round table discussion, all paper documentation (including the conference and the Bordeaux national opera programme), morning and afternoon break refreshments, opening reception, guided tour of the Grand Théâtre, screening, Ballet performance.

  •  Registration before 8th September: 45 €
  •  Registration between 8th Septembrer and 10th October: 60 €

I suspect heavy government subsidy. wish I could go myself!

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The French are still very much attached to projects that reflect the glory of the country's arts. Petipa is famous for the work that he did in Russia but he was born and trained in France. I expect that the Colloquium is seen as restating his significance as a great if not the greatest French choreographer of the nineteenth century and as such will almost certainly receive significant state subsidy. France may be reviewing the amount of money that the state contributes to the arts but it has not abandoned the idea that it should make contributions. It is definitely not the UK or the US when it comes to such things.

I do not expect that anyone will have required the organisers to cover their costs by sponsorship or other means.The cost of the colloquium will no doubt encourage people to attend who might not otherwise be able to do so and those who attend will,no doubt, continue to speak about it for a long time to come.So the standing of France and French arts will receive a boost and its soft power will be enhanced. It sounds like a great offer if you can go and on top of that Bordeaux is well worth seeing.

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Here's the program, and it will be available online after the colloquium (just the presentations, I think, not the gala):

Les intervenants du colloque Petipa :

  1. Michaela BÖHMIG, Italie, Professeur de Langue et littérature russes à l’université de Naples, L’Orientale : The Ballets Created by Marius Petipa in Russia (1847-1898): Themes, Genres and Styles.
  1. Natalia BRAGINSKAYA, Russie, Professeur de musicologie au Conservatoire d’État Rimski-Korsakov, Saint-Pétersbourg : L’interprétation par Igor Stravinsky de l’héritage de Marius Petipa.
  1. Emmanuelle DELATTRE DESTEMBERG, France, Doctorante en histoire à l’université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines : S’emparer de la mémoire de Marius Petipa: revendication politique et identité des Écoles de danse française et russe.
  1. Olga FEDORCHENKO, Russie, Chercheur à l’Institut d’histoire de l’art, critique de ballet : Marius Petipa interprète des ballets de Jules Perrot.
  1. Romain FEIST, France, Musicologue, Conservateur à la Bibliothèque-musée de l’Opéra de Paris (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) : Lucien, l’autre Petipa.
  1. Doug FULLINGTON, États-Unis, Directeur artistique adjoint du Pacific Northwest Ballet, Professeur associé d’histoire de la danse à l’université Washington, Seattle : Reconstructing Petipa: “Giselle” and “Paquita’” (avec Marian Smith).
  1. Jean-Marie JACONO, France, Maître de conférences de musicologie à l’université d’Aix-Marseille : Petipa et les ballets de Tchaïkovski dans la société russe : de la narrativité musicale à la danse.
  1. Sylvie JACQ-MIOCHE, France, Professeur d’histoire de la danse à l’École de danse de l’Opéra de Paris : Ombres et flamboiements du ballet romantique parisien.
  1. Bénédicte JARRASSE, France, Professeur agrégé de lettres modernes, Docteur en littérature comparée : Le statut du danseur dans le ballet impérial de Russie.
  1. Claudia JESCHKE, Autriche, Professeur d’histoire de la musique et de la danse à l’université de Salzbourg : Choreo-Graphing Spectacularity.
  1. Sergey KONAEV, Russie, Chercheur Senior en Études théâtrales à l’Institut national des arts, Moscou : Marius Petipa et le droit d’auteur.
  1. Nathalie LECOMTE, France, Historienne de la danse, chercheuse indépendante : Le ballet ” Le Corsaire ” : de Joseph Mazilier à Marius Petipa.
  1. Nadine MEISNER, Grande-Bretagne, Docteur en études slaves de l’université de Cambridge : Le ballet “La Vestale” de Marius Petipa.
  1. Pascale MELANI, France, Professeur en études slaves à l’université Bordeaux-Montaigne : Marius Petipa et le directeur des Théâtres impériaux Vladimir Teliakovski.
  1. Natalie MOREL-BOROTRA, France, Maître de conférences de musicologie à l’université Bordeaux-Montaigne : Marius Petipa danseur au Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux.
  1. Marie-Lise PAOLI, France, Maître de conférences en études anglophones, Bordeaux : Ces chorégraphes qui font encore cygnes (danser les legs Petipa/Ivanov).
  1. Olga POLUBNEVA, Russie, Bibliothécaire, responsable du fonds iconographique Petipa à la RGBI (Bibliothèque d’État des Arts de Russie), Moscou : La collection photographique Petipa à la Bibliothèque des arts de Moscou (RGBI).
  1. Florence POUDRU, France, Professeur d’histoire de la danse au Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon : Quelques ballets de Petipa en France.
  1. Tim SCHOLL, États-Unis, Professeur de littérature russe et comparée à Oberlin College : Among Empires, Petipa’s Response to Late Nineteenth-Century Russian Nationalism.
  1. Marian SMITH, États-Unis, Professeur de musique à l’université de l’Oregon : Reconstructing Petipa: ‘Giselle’ and ‘Paquita’ (avec Doug Fullington).
  1. Anne SWARTZ, États-Unis, Professeur de musicologie, Baruch College, New York : Petipa, Patronage, and Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.
  1. Irina VAGANOVA, Russie, Bibliothèque nationale de Russie, Saint-Pétersbourg : L’héritage chorégraphique de Marius Petipa dans la création de Natalia Doudinskaïa et Konstantin Serguéïev (avec Marina Vaganova).
  1. Marina VAGANOVA, Bibliothèque d’État de Russie, Moscou : L’héritage chorégraphique de Marius Petipa dans la création de Natalia Doudinskaïa et Konstantin Serguéïev (avec Irina Vaganova).
  1. Jean-Philippe VAN AELBROUCK, Belgique, Directeur général adjoint du Service général des arts de la scène au Ministère de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles : Marius Petipa, une enfance bruxelloise.
  1. Kara YOO LEAMAN, États-Unis, enseignante et chercheuse à Yale University, New Haven : Petipa’s musical legacy in Balanchine.
  1. Walter ZIDARIC, France, Professeur en études italiennes à l’université de Nantes : Riccardo Drigo, compositeur de ballets de Marius Petipa (titre provisoire).
  1. Tetiana ZOLOZOVA, Ukraine, Professeur honoraire à l’Académie musicale de Kiev : Marius Petipa dans l’œuvre artistique de Serge Lifar.

Télécharger (PDF, 902KB)

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I feel that I must thank Katherine Barber for telling us about this colloquium. I don't think that I would have known about it if it hadn't been for her.The colloquium was held inside Le Grand Theatre de Bordeaux and although the French word "grand"only indicates that it is a big theatre it is extremely grand in the English sense of the word.It was worth the fee to be able to walk up and down the main staircase several times a day.Bordeaux was chosen for the initial conference because the Petipa family lived in Bordeaux for several years after Petipa's father lost his job in Brussels after the 1830 Revolution.

The colloquium brought a large number of experts on Petipa, the man, dancer and choreographer together as well as people expert on early systems of dance notation and the revival of nineteenth century ballets in period appropriate form and style. It was fascinating for all sorts of reasons some of which the organisers could not possibly have envisaged.It all began extremely well with everything being translated into the various official languages as and when necessary.On the second and third days there were no English translators available and no copies of the papers to be delivered in French. However all the papers to be delivered in Russian were available to delegates in French translations. I understand that in due course delegates will receive copies of all the papers delivered at the conference.I am not at all clear as to whether they will be made available to the general public in due course.I suppose that the organisers may wait until the bicentenary of Petipa's birth and then gather all the papers delivered at the two conferences and publish them then when they can be certain of considerably more interest and a wider circulation than might be the case at present.

What lasting impression did I bring away from the colloquium? I recognise that I may be doing many of the delegates a disservice by saying this, but I thought that a significant number of those present at the conference were more interested in the idea of Petipa than the reality of what his ballets might look like if serious efforts were undertaken to perform his ballets with appropriate technical style and musicality and restore them to a state that he might recognise as his work.I suppose the thing is that while the argument as to whether performance style in music should be informed by knowledge of period practice and performance style has been won, with the result that no one who wants to be taken seriously as a musician would try to argue that Bach should be re-orchestrated and played by a post Wagnerian symphony orchestra because he would have used those orchestral resources if they had been available to him, a significant proportion of those involved in the world of dance don't even recognise the need for a debate about performance style.It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty and next year's Swan Lake have on the collective dance aesthetic and performance practice both in the West and in Russia.The recent announcement of the new Bolshoi appointment raises the possibility that things might change a bit more than seemed possible even a few months ago. After all Grigorovitch is not immortal is he?.

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Thank you for reporting about this event. I would have loved to attend.

I think, too, Ashtonfan put it precisely when s/he referred to "the argument as to whether performance style in music should be informed by knowledge of period practice and performance style." I added the italics because I think "informed by" allows some flexibility (though I can't claim to know what Ashtonfan intended). Put a little differently: few orchestras now play Bach with Wagnerian style orchestration nor do their audiences want them to...but people--even what I would call hard core music afficianados--DO flock to hear Angela Hewitt play Bach on the piano, an instrument unknown to him.

There are orchestras and soloists that specialize, say, in playing mid-nineteenth-century music in a "mid-nineteenth-century style" or even on mid-nineteenth-century instruments (or facsimilies) but the New York Philharmonic hasn't, therefore, given up on playing Schubert or Schumann in their way etc. etc. It's a performing art--and when Petipa staged Giselle, he himself doesn't seem to have been hung up on producing Perrot's or Coralli's choreography and style exactly as it once was done. And Perrot, for example, was not a "nobody."

I liked Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty a lot; I'm eager to see his Swan Lake (where presumably--I know there is debate about this--the difference between Petipa and Ivanov comes into play too)...but to see ballets that look exactly the way they looked in 1890 is scarcely possible nor, in my opinion, desirable except as a historical exercise. The bodies, the pointe shoes, the technique are all different. Which is not the same thing as saying that Petipa should be danced the way one dances McGregor ... so, yes..."informed by..." knowledge of past traditions/styles. (I hate the wholesale rechoreographing of Swan Lake etc.) But, for my taste, still not absolutely determined by them.

It will be very interesting to see what Vaziev does with the Bolshoi and what they do with him. Apparently he found the Mariinsky dancers recalcitrant when it came to reconstructions--years later, will he find the Bolshoi dancers any different? It's a genuine question not a rhetorical one...I don't find it easy to speculate.

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I feel that I must thank Katherine Barber for telling us about this colloquium. I don't think that I would have known about it if it hadn't been for her.

Very glad to have been of service, AshtonFan! And yes, the Grand Theatre is very grand indeed, isn't it?

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As you surmised Drew I said "informed by" knowledge of past performance practice for the very reasons that you outlined. We can not alter dancers physically but perhaps recruiting a wider range of physical types into training would assist as would attempting to cast dancers who are suited to the type of variation to be danced rather than the one size fits all casting that we so often see.It can be very difficult to understand why Ashton should have referred to watching the Prologue Fairy variations as taking private lessons with Petipa as today they often seem dull and uninteresting.If we can not recapture all of Petipa's style there are elements that are within our grasp such as his musicality which is capable of being restored to the stage .It seems to me that a good starting point is to assume when it comes to a work like the Sleeping Beauty that Petipa knew what he was doing with the structure of the ballet and the tempo at which the various sections of it should be danced. He spent a lot of time on that aspect of his new ballet as can be seen from the detailed minutage that he provided for Tchaikovsky.

We have all become used to the edited highlights/ Olympic competition performance of Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake in which the choreographic text seems to be placed at the service of the dancers' technique rather than the dancers placing their technical skills at the service of the choreographer. We seem not only to have accepted that new tours de force should be incorporated into Petipa's works because of the "technical advances"that have taken place since they were created but that the music should be distorted in order to accommodate them. The last time Rojo performed Sleeping Beauty she held her balances in the Rose Adagio for so long that I was surprised that we had not been issued with stop watches in order to time her. Of course the problem then was that because the tempo is usually set by the the first night cast those who were not going for gold were put at something of a disadvantage at subsequent performances.Another more significant problem was that by doing this she destroyed the structure of the work and the grand pas de deux in act 3 fell decidedly flat.

There seem to be a lot of people about who seem to think that the only bits of Petipa's ballets that are worth showing are the sections which contain obvious dance,even if they then proceed to mangle them to suit current tastes and expectations. The stager has the ability to choose between edited highlights or staging the choreographic context in which Petipa intended them to appear. After all if the choreographer stages a procession or mime sequence that is as much his choreography as are the more obvious dance numbers. I, for one, find it very sad that the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty no longer contains much more than a truncated hunting scene because that scene is clearly intended to ease the transition from the prince's "real world" to a place in which the vision scene will take place. But as the management is no longer prepared to charge a bit extra for tickets because going past ten thirty means overtime payments for the orchestra or to start half an hour earlier the scene is cut drastically.Needless to say I have friends who would happily see it disappear altogether because "it is boring and contains no dancing".

Watching films of ballets that you know well can be illuminating as far as showing how much performance style has changed as a result of fashion.There is a film that crops up from time to time on the internet of the Royal Ballet's 1977 production of the Sleeping Beauty the performance style is so different from what we have become used to that it comes as a bit of a shock to the "informed " internet followers of ballet according to whom Merle Park does not do high arabesques because of her advanced age,while the prologue fairies don't know how to dance.The Prologue is particularly interesting as the fairies were drawn from the ranks of the company's principals and were cast to provide the sort of contrasts that the choreographer must have intended. Needless to say their performance style is somewhat different from what we see now as it is quick and light rather than slow and somewhat ponderous. The recording is of great historic significance, it seems to me,as it preserves de Valois' final restaging of the work which replaced two short lived productions by the two men who succeeded her as director. It is the work of a woman who was born in 1898, had worked in the Diaghilev company for a couple of years and had been in the company when the famous London production of the Sleeping Princess was performed.She said that in her production she was restoring the text that the company had previously danced with some modifications all of which were carefully recorded.

I should have loved to have had an opportunity to see Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty. I hope that it is retained in the repertory of both companies that were involved in its staging so that I get a chance to see it.One thing that struck me during the course of the three days during which the colloquium was held and that was the description of Marius Petipa as a performer which was mentioned a couple of times. It would appear that he lacked elevation but was a good actor.I wonder does his own lack of elevation explain his love of petite batterie ? Do we in the West have a rather lopsided view of the man and his work because of the choices that de Valois made about the ballets she wanted Sergeyev to stage for her company? She chose works of great historical significance both choreographically and musically but they are none of them typical of the narrative works that made Petipa's reputation.

I can't wait for 2018.In the meantime we would probably be well advised to brush up on our ability to read French if not speak it fluently.It could well come in handy at the 2018 Petipa Conference, if this year's colloquium is anything to go by, and if anyone is going to produce a work on Petipa comparable to the one on Ivanov there is no guarantee that it will be available in English initially. If it is published in Russian it may well find its way into French long before it does into English.

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it preserves de Valois' final restaging of the work which replaced two short lived productions by the two men who succeeded her.

I'm curious Ashton Fan as to which productions you refer to. There was one by Kenneth MacMillan which didn't last long, but the Dowell production seemed to be with us for an eternity. Can it be that you are thinking of Peter Wright's Victorian Gothic version? But he (Wright) was never a director of the company at Covent Garden, Ashton sadly was never responsible for a production of Beauty, although I know he would have welcomed the opportunity.

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