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Report: Millepied Will Quit Paris Ballet

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It's definitely true; it was reported on the radio and by several news sources yesterday (here in English, http://www.france24.com/en/20160203-millepied-quit-paris-ballet-reports?ns_campaign=reseaux_sociaux&ns_source=twitter&ns_mchannel=social&ns_linkname=depeche&aef_campaign_ref=partage_user&aef_campaign_date=2016-02-03)

Today's rehearsals are canceled, and Stephane Lissner is giving a press conference this afternoon in Paris.

Etoiles Karl Paquette and Stephane Bullion came out scathingly in today's ediiton of Le Monde. http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2016/02/04/benjamin-millepied-va-t-il-quitter-l-opera-de-paris_4858949_3246.html

We learned just as everything else, from the press, that BM was going to leave the company, declared principal dancer, Karl Paquette. But we've already been feeling things for some time"....

..."I was shocked by this devastating article (referring to a December article in Le Figaro, in which BM criticized the company), by the lack of respect of Benjamin Millepied, vis-a-vis the company that he is completely denigrating. I have danced for 30 years in this company, I adore the Opera of Paris, and I never felt as bad as I have felt in the last 6 months. For that matter, I read the end of this article as a possible announcement of his departure."

The article continues, "In fact, Millepied said, 'If I can't get it done here, I'll go elsewhere.'"

Bullion " The ambiance was stormy in December, and things haven't gotten better"

En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2016/02/04/benjamin-millepied-va-t-il-quitter-l-opera-de-paris_4858949_3246.html#404KpAKZY8sVZiFh.99

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This Millepied comment stood out for me in the Le Monde article:

"[L]a compagnie n'est pas la meilleure troupe classique mais la meilleure en danse contemporaine."

Which translates to:

"The company is not the best classical troupe but the best in contemporary dance."

I actually happen to think there's some truth to the second part of his statement. When the Paris Opera Ballet is getting better reviews for Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring rather than La Bayadere, then maybe they've become too contemporary for their own good. But if Millepied is expressing that as a negative, then his programming for 2015-16 really hasn't done anything to reverse the trend.

Karl Paquette really let if fly with his comments and with good reason. He has been a stalwart classicist and for an outsider from the New York City Ballet to come in and trash the company has got to be infuriating.

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The New York Times has weighed in:

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/41092-report-millepied-will-quit-paris-ballet/

William Forsythe is quoted as saying that he's definitely not staying.

That documentary sounds like it was quite the paint peeler. I don't understand what Millepied thought he would gain from criticizing the School and, by extension, Elisabeth Platel.

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It's hard to believe he would be satisfied with just the LA Dance Project after leading one of the world's major companies. Would he be a candidate to return to NYCB as artistic director after Martins? That sounds like a good fit because of the constant infusion of new choreographers.

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I hope Millepied doesn't return to NYCB as a candidate to direct the company after Martins retires. Although Martins certainly has his weaknesses, I think Millipied would be far worse. (My hopes for leadership of NYCB include Damian Woetzel as the first choice or Ethan Steifel as second choice).

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Lissner just annouced during the Press conference that Aurélie Dupont will take over in September

Oui!!!!

Maybe La Scala can save itself some heartache & money by retracting the recent appointment of Mauro Bigonzetti (another anti-classicist) as its new AD. Mr. Bolle, please.

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Didn't he know about the hierarchy of the Paris Opera going in? One would assume he did. Maybe just too many apple carts were upset. Change comes slowly and with finesse. Doubtful Mr. Millepied had either the time or the finesse! He denied this in his interview, but perhaps the current political situation (vis a vis terrorism, etc.) wasn't to Miss Portman's liking when it came to living in Paris. Add this into a messy situation at the Opera and maybe it was decided it was best to leave. And for what it's worth, I would agree about not possibly bringing him to NYCB when Martins eventually retires . My vote would go to Woetzel.

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Mimsyb, re your "perhaps the current political situation ( vis a vis terrorism, etc.) wasn't to Miss Portman's liking when it came to living in Paris..."

I can imagine that Mr. Millepied might not find it to his liking either since Paris Opera Ballet, like any well-known Parisian institution, must be considered a potential terrorist target. One doesn't have to be a foreigner in Paris to feel that way. Having had a home and livelihood in another country, and the chance to return to it, Mr. Millepied might be easily swayed. Perhaps that, along with the ballet political issues he feels he is up against, is enough for him personally to decide to leave.

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I would add to the above two comments that I was in Paris several weeks after this very sad occurrence and the city seemed as relaxed and normal as I've ever seen it. There were tiny French flags hanging from the windows of many apartment buildings. I thought this to be a heart touching response along with the feeling that life goes on and so much beauty exists as well.

My main reason for going to Paris was to see MyrIam Ould-Braham for the very first time. I was determined to go. The Paris Opera Ballet was opened the next day, I believe, perhaps with the same desire that beauty and the arts continue to flourish and represent the highest aspirations of mankind.

It seems that Aurelie Dupont will be the next Director. I don’t follow the POB closely, but I do have some personal feelings. I’ve always appreciated its aura and history of classical fineness. The few performances that I’ve attended there, living part of the year in Switzerland, have mostly been the classical ones. The artist that I’ve come to adore in this style is Myriam Ould-Braham. Aurelie Dupont is her coach. Hopefully this will be a good sign for Myriam Ould-Braham in the six or seven years that she has left before her mandatory retirement.

Also I’ve read at least one interview with Aurelie Dupont, but quite awhile ago. I did appreciate what seemed to be her intelligence, sensitivity for the art and desire for change for the good at the POB. I remember one comment that many dancers count when they dance, while she always related directly to the entirety of the music.

I do wish Benjamin Millepied much success wherever he goes. I spoke to him very briefly in Saint Petersburg last year and thought him to be quite nice and sincere. One thing that I noticed is that the somewhat difficult system for getting tickets seemed to be improving (as it is at another hallowed institution, the Bolshoi). Interestingly, he seemed very excited about having closer ties with the Mariinsky in his public comments at the reception.

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I found this rather shocking when I read about in the NY Times this morning. That was fast! He knew what he was getting himself into. The awful things he said about the company and the dancers are disrespectful to say the least. Me thinks he won't be asked to commission any new ballets for them anytime....ever...(and I wonder if his two new ballets that are already scheduled for the 2016/2017 season will get canceled).

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Aren't Sebastien Marcovici and possibly Janie Taylor too, employed at the POB as coaches? If so, I guess they'll be going back to LA Dance Project or was it the Colburn Academy with Jenifer Ringer?

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Aren't Sebastien Marcovici and possibly Janie Taylor too, employed at the POB as coaches? If so, I guess they'll be going back to LA Dance Project or was it the Colburn Academy with Jenifer Ringer?

They're both at the LA Dance project. Wonder if they'll still be needed there now.

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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

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From the New York Times article, Benjamin Millepied to Step Down From Paris Opera Ballet:

In interviews with Le Figaro and in a documentary, “Relève,” broadcast on the French television channel Canal +, he spoke of his dislike for the rigid hierarchical system of grading and promotion at the Opera, his dissatisfaction with the training at the Paris Opera Ballet School — the near-exclusive source of dancers for the company — and the need for the company to be more racially diverse.

I found these comments interesting in that there is some parallelism with Filin's actions from the Bolshoi. Both wanted to introduce more variety.

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I think that Benjamin Millepied would have attempted to bring the highest standard of contemporary dance to the POB that he could. Before his arrival I attended mainly to see the classics. I do think that the continuation of the classical tradition at the POB is extremely valuable. Hopefully Aurelie Dupont can succeed at both along with some 'modernising' of the workings of the company, which Benjamin Millepied seemed to be attempting. An added comment is that Benjamin Millepied seemed quite interested in having closer ties with the Mariinsky which, once again, hopefully Aurelie Dupont will continue.

Added thought: Because she has been at the company much longer and seems quite capable, she may have a much better chance at succeeding.

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Whatever you think of Millepied's aesthetics, he has brought a level of international attention to the POB that has translated into increased support for the organization.

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Very bizarre, and the whole situation unfortunately reminds me of the Bolshoi and its collection of issues, which is not a place the POB really wants to be compared to, organizationally speaking.

I don't see the point to Millepied 'up and quitting' when he's really just getting started (and he has managed to focus a lot of attention on the POB ina a short amount of time). Is there something generational at work here? "It's been a hard few months, and I don't like how people are talking to me, so - Boom! - I'm gone". For my generation, taking on this type of job is assumed to be a hard slog, but there are obvious benefits to trying to stick with things.

Dupont is certainly well-liked by many at POB, but no one has had to deal with her in this type of position - nor does she have any experience in this type of management. Best of luck to her - I hope it doesn't make a mess of her home life/marriage.

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I don't see the point to Millepied 'up and quitting' when he's really just getting started (and he has managed to focus a lot of attention on the POB ina a short amount of time). Is there something generational at work here? "It's been a hard few months, and I don't like how people are talking to me, so - Boom! - I'm gone". For my generation, taking on this type of job is assumed to be a hard slog, but there are obvious benefits to trying to stick with things.

the question being, of course, did he jump or was he pushed.

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