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2016-2017 Season

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Valentine Colasante's backstage video of that celebrated kiss.

https://twitter.com/v_colasante/status/701177398251941889

I saw Pech on stage only a few times, in Artifact Suite, the adage in Suite en blanc and in L'Arlésienne, but I'm very glad I did. He was an interesting and very human presence. We'll always have the film of his wonderful Bluebird. All the best to him in his future endeavors. :flowers:

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. Cranko's Onegin, MacMillan's Manon and Neumeier's La Dame aux camellias were some of the first things to get the boot from Millepied even though they're all popular in Paris.

How can it be said that Millepied gave these ballets "the boot"? They did Manon just last year. It would be quite normal for it to go out of the rep for a couple of years before coming back. Same for Onegin, which they did not long ago.

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Well in fact, his last dance of his farewell evening was the third pas de deux of Preljocaj's Le Parc with long time friend Eleonora Abbagnato

I was wondering about that costume -- doesn't really look like the Dowell designs for the Robbins.

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I was wondering about that costume -- doesn't really look like the Dowell designs for the Robbins.

Well they did In the Night earlier, but the last bit of the evening was from The Parc.

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I saw Benjamin Pech's first Prodigal Son at the Palais Garnier, sitting in the front row strapontin (center seat that folds up to allow people to pass) and he was so wonderful and unforgettable.

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Three more days untill the premiere of Iolanta/Casse-Noisette

Very curious to know what that looks like as a program -- Nut is programmed so specifically here I'm having trouble imagining this.

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I find the strapontin seats fascinating...they seem like they would surely violate the firecodes here in the US. Are they less expensive than the regular seats? Where do the ushers keep the strapontin patrons until the last minute seating?

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I find the strapontin seats fascinating...they seem like they would surely violate the firecodes here in the US. Are they less expensive than the regular seats? Where do the ushers keep the strapontin patrons until the last minute seating?

Absolutely, about the fire code.

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The strapontin seats were less expensive than the other orchestra seats. If you had one, you had to stand during intermissions so other patrons could pass through.

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The new issue of Dancing Times has a lot of content about Millepied's departure and the present state of French dance more generally. One thing that caught my eye was contained in a short news item about the 2016-17 season:

"The company acquires three works by George Balanchine: A Midsummer Night's Dream, with new designs by Christian Lacroix, . . ."

I don't think I've seen this reported anywhere else. I loved his designs for Jewels and Palais de Cristal!

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How interesting. I remember when Pacific Northwest Ballet got permission to create new sets and costumes for Midsummer it was considered quite a coup.

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The new issue of Dancing Times has a lot of content about Millepied's departure and the present state of French dance more generally. One thing that caught my eye was contained in a short news item about the 2016-17 season:

"The company acquires three works by George Balanchine: A Midsummer Night's Dream, with new designs by Christian Lacroix, . . ."

I don't think I've seen this reported anywhere else. I loved his designs for Jewels and Palais de Cristal!

It's on POB www since the announcement of the season https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-16-17/ballet/le-songe-dune-nuit-dete

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Will it be replaced with something else? It seems strange simply to leave an empty spot, especially if subscribers have already bought tickets.

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The Millepied/Parreno creation programmed in July 2017 has disappeared from POB website and withdrawn from annual subscription which may well mean it's not going to happen

Interesting. I was wondering if the announced schedule would hold in its entirety.

Edited to add: It's not too late to bring back Schlagobers!

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Interesting. I was wondering if the announced schedule would hold in its entirety.

Edited to add: It's not to late to bring back Schlagobers!

The people demand Chartreuse!

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The people demand Chartreuse!

Now that I think about it, it's a pity that Alwin Nikolais isn't still with us . . . Schlagobers sounds like it would have been right up his alley.

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Laura Capelle tweeted this

https://twitter.com/bellafigural/status/712979145127542784

Just in: Millepied/Parreno creation planned for July 2017 @BalletOParis replaced by the company premiere of Keersmaeker's Drumming.

https://twitter.com/bellafigural/status/712980166969057280

Reason given for the cancellation: Millepied in L.A. from this summer, Parreno lives in Paris, too difficult time-wise. @BalletOParis
(administrators, Laura Capelle writes for Financial Times and Dance Magazine and could be considered as official source)

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Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker has had a great run at the Opera over the past few seasons. Her works have featured in the last season (2014-15) programmed by Madame Lefevre, and now in both seasons programmed by Benjamin Millepied. I'm not sure, though, how adding Drumming to the 2016-17 lessens the perception (voiced by Millepied) that the Paris Opera Ballet is the world's best contemporary dance company and only a middling classical company.

The best (wiseguy) comment I read about the substitution was, "et ATDK est nommee directrice." Hahaha -- if we didn't already know the truth about Aurelie Dupont's appointment, that crack would have made for a great April Fool's Day prank!

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If you're interested, Marc Moreau has a photo posted on his Instagram feed of him rehearsing Millepied's new piece for the 2016-17 season.

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I guess I'll point out the elephant in the room: WHAT French tradition in classical ballet? It started with Marie Taglioni but the POB performs a vague reconstruction by Lacotte. Their Giselle is heavily based on the standard Petipa version that ... pretty much every company performs. Their Coppelia ... do they even perform that anymore? Their Fille mal gardee is by Ashton. The rest of their "classics" are by Nureyev, who was hardly French in training, background, or aesthetics.

The works created on the POB in the 20th century include a lot by Bejart and Petit. They are hardly classical. In fact I wouldn't even call Bejart "ballet" in terms of the fifth position standard. George Balanchine created one notable work on the POB, which was the Palais de Cristal (later Symphony in C). Serge Lifar's ballets are certainly not what you'd consider 5th position classical, either.

The only thing about French ballet that's special is their training and their famous company hierarchy. Their upright backs and necks, their straight 90 degree arabesques, their aristocratic and slightly stiff port de bras. But that is their training, their school. Their company repertoire has no great founding father, it's a mishmash of different choreographers.

And that's why I can't help but feel this whole "uproar" against Millepied's vision is somewhat hysterical. Nureyev was certainly a far lesser choreographer than Balanchine. And some of the contemporary theatrical spectacles commissioned in recent years really didn't stand the test of time. So what's wrong with Millepied introducing some of the finest ballet choreography from the second half of the 20th century and some of the most thoughtful of the early 21st to POB? I don't see any "tradition" harmed by that.

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So what's wrong with Millepied introducing some of the finest ballet choreography from the second half of the 20th century and some of the most thoughtful of the early 21st to POB? I don't see any "tradition" harmed by that.

If I'm being fair to Millepied, I don't think there was anything wrong with his attempt to diversify the company's repertory by bringing it in line (within reason) with dance as he understands it, which would mean trends at the New York City Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet, aspects of the Royal Ballet repertory (i.e. Wayne McGregor) and aspects of his own LA Dance Project (i.e. Merce Cunningham). Where I think he went wrong was with the degree to which he implemented the changes. He may have had a mandate for change from Stephane Lissner but he need not have exercised the mandate to the degree that he did. If he had been 25% less ambitious, and programmed French heritage works as a good faith demonstration that he wasn't trying to obliterate what came before, he might have gotten more buy-in from the company (rather than a faction within it), and he might still be the troupe's director.

The other thing to point out is this: What kind of company does the Paris Opera Ballet want to be in the 21st century? Millepied stated that he thought the POB was world's foremost contemporary dance company and I'm inclined to agree with him. (In 2016, the POB probably dances Pina Bausch better than her legacy company does.) But what kind of classical company does the POB want to be? Millepied had a vision but that vision didn't necessarily square with the one Rudolf Nureyev laid out 30 years ago when he decided that the POB would go "all in" with the great classics. In effect, Nureyev was saying that the business of a classical company is to dance the great classics and to dance them frequently and to dance them at the highest possible level. (Whether the productions were the best is another discussion entirely.)

Based on the fact that Millepied only programmed two classics for 2016-17, the impression left is that the POB is hard-pressed to keep pace with its peers who also perform the great classics -- ABT in New York, the Royal in London and the three great Russian companies -- the Bolshoi, the Mariinsky and the Mikhailovsky. Even if Millepied had lasted as director, I think he would have come to great grief over this eventually. The POB's sense of itself as one of the greatest ballet companies in the world (if not the greatest) and one that can dance the classics as good as, or better than, any other company would have eventually come into conflict with Millepied's vision for the company.

In any event, all of this is like an autopsy now -- the patient rejected the transplant. It's Aurelie Dupont's company and we'll see in a year what she has in store. Based on her public comments so far, it would appear she wants to move the company back into the direction of Nureyev. But only time will tell.

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