Jump to content
jeff-sh

Report: Millepied Will Quit Paris Ballet

Recommended Posts

He knew what he was getting himself into. But, in his arrogance, he thought he could jettison 300+ years of history and everyone would just acquiesce to it.

Sounds like Parisians were going to hate him no matter what.

Share this post


Link to post

Sounds like Parisians were going to hate him no matter what.

No, I don't think so. I think people were waiting for changes but his manners and his proposals were not up to par.

Share this post


Link to post

We don't know what Lissner told him when he recruited him.

Lissner also knew what he was getting into, and he's paid to know what he's getting into.

Share this post


Link to post

It is obvious that Mr.Millepied got frustrated by his inability to bring the changes he wanted. Maybe he was given false promises and got the wrong impression of the extent of his authority when he signed up for this job. But he chose to show his annoyance with the dancers and not at the managers/administrators who would be more directly related to the cause of his frustrations. It is also ironical that Mr.Millepied criticized the dancers for not being up to standard in classical ballets in which he himself had absolutely no experience.

Share this post


Link to post

A reminder: information that is substantiated by official sources (links, references to specific interviews/articles) can be posted here.

If your post has the word "rumor" in it, and it isn't a quote from an official source, that is often the reason it is no longer invisible.

Share this post


Link to post

In fact, Marie Agnès Gillot was one of the first dancers who alerted about the situation. In a December interview in Paris Match (December 5th, 2015), when she was asked about her absence on Paris stage, she said “Je l’ai subie plus que je ne l’ai choisie (rough translation: "I suffered more than I have chosen"

In 2014-2015 season in Paris she danced in the first bill which was still under Brigitte Lefevre casting. Afterwards, she only danced the McGregor Tree of code in Manchester and New York, but that’s all.

Share this post


Link to post

From the Jennings article:

Is this true? If it is true it's rather horrifying.

Well, Millepied cast a black Choryphee, Letizia Galloni, prominently in his season-opener ballet ("Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward")...best Millepied ballet that I've seen, by the way. I believe that she had already debuted as Lise in Ashton's FILLE. She is lovely. I would hope that her progression won't be halted with Millepied's departure.

Share this post


Link to post

Letizia Galloni was well cast even before Millepied but mostly in contemporary rep. But she was Amour in Pina Bausch Orpheus and Eurydice which is one of the three soloists role of this ballet. She also danced in Brown's Glacial Decoy or Ek's Appartment...

Share this post


Link to post

From Benjamin Millepied Opens Up on Leaving Paris Opera Ballet (NY Times):

'Raphaëlle Delaunay, a mixed-race dancer who went to the Paris Opera Ballet School and danced with the company from 1992 to 1997, said that Mr. Millepied was right to raise the issue.

“I have never wanted to add to the polemic about the lack of diversity in our institutions,” she wrote in an email, saying that she had been obliged to whiten her skin in certain roles, laughed at for having frizzy hair and been told she was paranoid when she objected. “I’m abandoning that stance today to do justice to the reforms led by Millepied.” She added: “Bravo! Of course it’s polemical; a polemic that many think is useless because the Opera has ‘welcomed’ diversity.” But to cite the few dancers who are of Vietnamese, Moroccan, Algerian or other ethnic heritage, she added, “is a bit like saying ‘I have a black friend’ against an accusation of racism.”'

The rest of the article pretty much says what everyone supposed - "They need someone better suited to run this company".

Share this post


Link to post

From Benjamin Millepied Opens Up on Leaving Paris Opera Ballet (NY Times):

'Raphaëlle Delaunay, a mixed-race dancer who went to the Paris Opera Ballet School and danced with the company from 1992 to 1997, said that Mr. Millepied was right to raise the issue.

...trimmed...

The rest of the article pretty much says what everyone supposed - "They need someone better suited to run this company".

On the most part but it was a good and interesting article and thank you for sharing it.

It was good to reminded of this:

"Mr. Millepied isn’t the first Paris Opera Ballet director to run into trouble quickly. Roland Petit’s tenure lasted less than six months. John Taras and Claude Bessy made it a year; Violette Verdy and Rosella Hightower three years; Rudolf Nureyev a stormy six years. Ariane Dollfus, a journalist who has written a biography of Nureyev, said Millepied wanted similar changes to the rules as Nureyev. “These dancers are protected and cocooned since they are children, and Millepied and Nureyev are people who have taken care of themselves. A Paris Opera dancer can’t grasp the idea of being a self-starter.”"

It does make one think that POB does have an exceptionally difficult culture to manage (even leaving aside the opinion voiced at the end).

Share this post


Link to post
One thing that Millepied never learned from his old boss Peter Martins is that you never, ever say anything negative about your dancers. Peter Martins has given numerous interviews over the years, and you will never see him say anything negative about the NYCB dancers or the company.

True, but then their situations are somewhat different. When Martins took over NYCB, his remit was mainly to keep a great company going, preserving an inheritance while maintaining the company as a vibrant institution, not to be an agent of major change. Over the years his interviews have mainly involved playing defense against observers critical of the direction of the company and its dancing. Not defending everything Millepied said, but as noted above he's not the first to run into trouble fast trying to run POB.

Share this post


Link to post

original quote: "One thing that Millepied never learned from his old boss Peter Martins is that you never, ever say anything negative about your dancers. Peter Martins has given numerous interviews over the years, and you will never see him say anything negative about the NYCB dancers or the company."

True, but then their situations are somewhat different. When Martins took over NYCB, his remit was mainly to keep a great company going, preserving an inheritance while maintaining the company as a vibrant institution, not to be an agent of major change. Over the years his interviews have mainly involved playing defense against observers critical of the direction of the company and its dancing. Not defending everything Millepied said, but as noted above he's not the first to run into trouble fast trying to run POB.

This reminds me a bit of what people are calling Ronald Regan's 11th commandment -- do not speak ill of a fellow Republican. Dirac, you put a finger on an important point -- these are two different situations, two different times, and two different challenges. But I think it is a bad idea, no matter the context, to speak slightingly of the people you are supposed to be leading, even if you see yourself as already out the door. Wait until you leave for that part of the discussion.

Share this post


Link to post

But I think it is a bad idea, no matter the context, to speak slightingly of the people you are supposed to be leading, even if you see yourself as already out the door.

I am curious, though, if criticizing a dancer in public is so taboo. In hockey, for example, coaches often criticize their own players in public. Yes, I know, hockey is a sport while ballet is an art. I get that. However, people are people. Dancers are expected to perform at a certain level. If they fail, then they are open to criticism.

Is the situation really that black and white? Directors never criticize their dancers in a public setting?

A director should consider the dancer first. Some dancers might be determined to dance even better if they have singled out in a public setting for performing poorly. Others would wilt under the increased pressure. A director's main goal should be to create great performances, not sheltering or protecting his or her dancers from deserved criticisms.

Share this post


Link to post

I suppose to put it in perspective, imagine if Aurelie DuPont was hired to run NYCB and she introduced all sorts of Petit, Lacotte, and other POB repertoire, but stopped all but a few Balanchine and Robbins works. There would be a revolt at NYCB for sure!

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think criticizing dancers is taboo...it's just that ADs are so powerful from the dancer's perspective (often complete hire/fire/promote power in a competitive industry) that there would be absolutely no NEED for them to call out folks publicly. They say "jump," a dancer jumps.

The only scenario where a dancer might have a (slight and still ill-advised) ability to ignore an AD would be if he were an internationally-renowned star. Even the POB concours is largely shaped by the AD. And union activity is invariably focused around protecting the larger group than saving an individual.

Share this post


Link to post

A few years ago, I attended a performance of NYCB's smaller touring group at the performing arts center in Northridge, California, and its artistic director was sitting directly behind me in an aisle seat. At intermission, he and his wife came back to the seats behind me and I heard them discussing in detail some of the dancers' performances In less than compassionate or kind terms, including more critical clucking during the second half of the show while the dancing was going on. It was shocking to me. I wish they could have refrained from this type of discussion at and during the performance itself. I and my friend beside me knew one of the dancers on stage who was a beloved NYCB principal, though fortunately Martins and Kistler didn't mention her.

AD's need to be careful and tactful in the public or semi-public forum.

Share this post


Link to post

I am curious, though, if criticizing a dancer in public is so taboo. In hockey, for example, coaches often criticize their own players in public. Yes, I know, hockey is a sport while ballet is an art. I get that. However, people are people. Dancers are expected to perform at a certain level. If they fail, then they are open to criticism.

Is the situation really that black and white? Directors never criticize their dancers in a public setting?

A director should consider the dancer first. Some dancers might be determined to dance even better if they have singled out in a public setting for performing poorly. Others would wilt under the increased pressure. A director's main goal should be to create great performances, not sheltering or protecting his or her dancers from deserved criticisms.

I was just thinking about this in light of the comments on the new documentary about Merrill Ashley. Apparently she makes a number of comments about the work ethic of the current crop of dancers, and got a lot of pushback.

You have a point -- some people respond well to that kind of commentary. But in general, I think public humiliation is a poor tool. It's one thing to confront your employee inside the institution you run -- it's another to make statements to the general public.

Share this post


Link to post

This reminds me a bit of what people are calling Ronald Regan's 11th commandment -- do not speak ill of a fellow Republican. Dirac, you put a finger on an important point -- these are two different situations, two different times, and two different challenges. But I think it is a bad idea, no matter the context, to speak slightingly of the people you are supposed to be leading, even if you see yourself as already out the door. Wait until you leave for that part of the discussion.

That tends to be the custom in North America, but it hasn't been a commandment for Europe or Russia, where directors are on record for speaking their minds about dancers and the institution, before, during, and after.

I was just thinking about this in light of the comments on the new documentary about Merrill Ashley. Apparently she makes a number of comments about the work ethic of the current crop of dancers, and got a lot of pushback.

She made the same comments in "Never Far from Dancing," Barbara Newman's follow-up to "Striking a Balance."

Share this post


Link to post

I was just thinking about this in light of the comments on the new documentary about Merrill Ashley. Apparently she makes a number of comments about the work ethic of the current crop of dancers, and got a lot of pushback.

You have a point -- some people respond well to that kind of commentary. But in general, I think public humiliation is a poor tool. It's one thing to confront your employee inside the institution you run -- it's another to make statements to the general public.

In general, I agree. If I were a dancer (I am too old and don't have the proper body build), I wouldn't appreciate being identified for poor performance in a public setting either. A private conversation alone would more than suffice.

However, dancing is a public profession. So they should be aware that others, including the director, might make some public comments related to their performances. For the director, too, it is not so easy. If he is constantly making derogatory remarks about his dancers in public, the obvious question becomes: Is it the dancers or him?

Regarding Millipied, I wonder if his remarks--though they might seem unduly harsh to some--will be a catalyst for positive change? Had he kept his mouth shut, would the "problems" last longer? Has he caused others to look at the POB through a more critical lens? In other words, will there be some good resulting from his comments?

If I may analogize from Anna Karenina, all happy and content ballet companies are alike but each struggling ballet company is unhappy in its own way. Sometimes unorthodox measures are effective.

Share this post


Link to post

However, dancing is a public profession. So they should be aware that others, including the director, might make some public comments related to their performances. For the director, too, it is not so easy. If he is constantly making derogatory remarks about his dancers in public, the obvious question becomes: Is it the dancers or him?

Regarding Millipied, I wonder if his remarks--though they might seem unduly harsh to some--will be a catalyst for positive change? Had he kept his mouth shut, would the "problems" last longer? Has he caused others to look at the POB through a more critical lens? In other words, will there be some good resulting from his comments?

All good questions.

If I may analogize from Anna Karenina, all happy and content ballet companies are alike but each struggling ballet company is unhappy in its own way. Sometimes unorthodox measures are effective.

!!

Share this post


Link to post

That tends to be the custom in North America, but it hasn't been a commandment for Europe or Russia, where directors are on record for speaking their minds about dancers and the institution, before, during, and after.

She made the same comments in "Never Far from Dancing," Barbara Newman's follow-up to "Striking a Balance."

True and true.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...