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"The great malaise of the Paris Opera Ballet" !!

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The French website "Danses avec la Plume" has posted an extract of a comprehensive article by Le Figaro which it posted online last evening (Sunday 15th April). I don't speak French so did a Google translation, as follows. Links to DalP and Figaro posts below.

"This is how Le Figaro stirred up a banal Sunday night, with an article titled The great malaise of the Ballet Opera Paris. The content reveals that the CEA, the commission of artistic expression, this week communicated to the artists of the troupe the results of a survey on "the life of the company". And the result is not flattering for Aurélie Dupont: "Nearly 77% of dancers believe they have been victims of moral harassment or have witnessed scenes of moral harassment and 26% of sexual harassment." 87% consider that recourse mechanisms are not efficient, effective and reliable, "explains Le Figaro.

The article attacks Aurélie Dupont quite hard, both on her artistic choices and her way of managing. Two issues that can indeed cause debate, given what has been scheduled for a few months and the internal atmosphere at the lowest level of the troupe. The article does not disclose, however, on how these results were provided to the press without the consent of the dancers. Will the management of the Paris Opera discredit Aurélie Dupont? Stéphane Lissner would never have wanted to be the Director of Dance. It also seems unlikely that Le Figaro would post an article that would also blame him with the d
irection of the institution"

https://www.dansesaveclaplume.com/hors-scene/584214-revue-de-presse-dansee-s17-18-ep24/

http://www.lefigaro.fr/culture/2018/04/15/03004-20180415ARTFIG00150-le-grand-malaise-du-ballet-de-l-opera-de-paris.php

French speaking members : now it's your turn !!

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Well, nothing really new unfortunately, necessary changes after the departure of Brigitte Lefevre were done in a complete amateurism and the dancers are paying a high price. Personally, I don’t read Le Figaro which by the way seems to have become a gossips newspaper. Anyway, it is fairly well known that Madame Bavelier has something against the current management and the past few years has already seen smaller outbursts like that while when Le Figaro was the official sponsor of the opera, she was scarcely reviewing the shows, having only promotional articles before the beginning of any series. Does she miss something?

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59 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

Yes, I posted it last night.

When Millepied took over in 2014 I was shocked as I thought he would dump classical in favour of contemporary, but was pleasantly surprised when he scheduled more classical than under the tenure of Lefevre :  Bayadere had a run of more that two weeks if I remember correctly. I don't really care what goes on at POB any more since I discovered Russian classical ballet - did not renew my longtime membership of AROP this season and won't.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't read the article but I may give if a try if I can. I'm somewhat sorry to hear about discontent with Aurélie Dupont although I know very little about her. What I did like was that she seemed to like (?) Myriam Ould-Braham, whom I consider to be one of the most underused jewels of the ballet world, and her somewhat severe view of the 'not necessarily pleasant' ballet school, which has been voiced by others.

I haven't had a chance to see much of the POB in my fifteen years or so of ballet watching, but for that entire period I've always hoped for much more of the classics. They've always been my favorites there. There's been discussion here recently about the interest of European companies in the classics, their value and worth.  All I can really say is that the companies in Russia, quite possibly the best in the world, thrive with them.

Edited by Buddy
spelling corrections

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A more comprehensive resumé gleaned from Culturebox, the cultural website of France Telévisions (Google translation) - link to original post below :

"Paris Opera: big malaise in the ballet led by Aurélie Dupont
In office for two years, ballet director Aurélie Dupont is facing a crisis of confidence in the ballet of the Paris Opera. This is revealed by an unpublished survey of the dancers of the prestigious company, already shaken two years ago by the sudden departure of Benjamin Millepied.
The poll, which was obtained by AFP, was prepared by the Artistic Expression Commission, an internal body elected by the dancers. They asked more than one hundred questions, of which 108 out of 154 dancers responded, on condition of anonymity. In responding, they hoped that pinpointing the problems would help move forward.
In the document, 89.8% believe that they are "not the subject of good management", 76.8% say they have been the victim of psychological harassment or have seen a colleague undergoing such treatment and 25, 9% even say they have been or have witnessed sexual harassment.
Amazement on both sides about the diffusion of this document - the Director of the Paris Opera, Stéphane Lissner, has told AFP he has "total confidence in Aurélie Dupont", saying she was "an excellent director of dance". Highlighting his "astonishment" at the press release of this internal document, he promised that a dialogue will be established to "calmly think and understand what the dancers mean" when they demand listening.
A hundred dancers, including many stars, expressed their "amazement" after the release of the document. "The disclosure of this questionnaire was done without the consent of the dancers and at no time did the interviewed artists conceive that this document would be used for purposes contrary to their interests," the statement said.

But beyond the figures of the survey, it is the comments collected from the dancers who are hard on Aurélie Dupont, the replacement of Benjamin Millepied in February 2016.
"The current director does not seem to have any management skills, and no desire to acquire such skill," says a dancer. Others denounce a "glaring absence of accompaniment", a "lack of knowledge or refusal to listen to the aspirations of many dancers" and especially a "lack of dialogue". "We are human beings, not pawns that we move as they see fit," one of them is still indignant.

In January 2017, however, we remember that Aurélie Dupont said: "When I arrived, I found the dancers disappointed, disappointed, not supportive enough ... A year later, they are again full of ambition, they Once again, this is a group spirit, a feeling of being happy together ".

Regarding cases of sexual harassment, Mr. Lissner said there was a "zero tolerance" and called on the dancers concerned to talk to management about it.

"Outside, the legitimacy of Aurélie Dupont is undeniable. (...) Inside, the legitimacy is more difficult to install," said Le Figaro. "First of all, if she is from the seraglio, she must impose herself against dancers who were with her in the ballet", analyzes the journalist Ariane Bavelier. "Men are angry at him for bidding farewell with Roberto Bolle, star playmaker at La Scala, rather than a star or a young girl in the company, with the girls, who were stars at the same time , the climate remains tense. " Finally, says the newspaper, she was not a ballet master.
The predecessor of Aurélie Dupont, Benjamin Millepied, had created the surprise in 2016 by announcing his resignation after a little over a year at the head of the ballet, one of the most famous in the world.
 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, mnacenani said:

When Millepied took over in 2014 I was shocked as I thought he would dump classical in favour of contemporary, but was pleasantly surprised when he scheduled more classical than under the tenure of Lefevre :  Bayadere had a run of more that two weeks if I remember correctly. I don't really care what goes on at POB any more since I discovered Russian classical ballet - did not renew my longtime membership of AROP this season and won't.

Millepied built his career at a company (New York City Ballet) that was committed to the renewal of ballet--that is, classical tradition, and was quite explicit about that being part of his vision for POB. He wanted to bring in new work, of course, but new work based in the classical idiom. And that meant that he cared also about the classical idiom. His failings have been much discussed, but I could wish the POB would find a leader -- let it be Dupont -- who values ballet traditions and new work building on those traditions. (I thought the Ratmansky Psyche during Lefebvre's tenure was a step in that direction.)...Most ballet companies in the world do not have the resources to be great ballet companies (ie consistently offering major productions danced at the level classical ballet ideally requires)--their dancers don't have the training, their theaters don't have the financing etc. etc.--POB does.

P.S. Mnacenani and I were posting at same time, so I hadn't read his latest post.

Edited by Drew

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On 4/16/2018 at 1:23 PM, mnacenani said:

A more comprehensive resumé gleaned from Culturebox, the cultural website of France Telévisions (Google translation) - link to original post below :

Unfortunately the English translation is not so good, and must distort the original intended meaning. This line could be complete conjecture on the part of the writer: "In responding, they hoped that pinpointing the problems would help move forward". But if the "answers" to the survey are as general as "I have been the victim of psychological harassment or have seen a colleague undergoing such treatment" there is no actual attempt to pinpoint anything. The survey is simply asking some 'leading questions' (as they are known in the legal trade). All the specifics are missing:
What were the circumstances of the incident? Who exactly was involved? Fellow students? fellow dancers? guest dancers? building maintenance staff? strangers entering the buildings from the street?
Stéphane Lissner? the artistic director? And which one: Lefèvre, Millepied or Dupont? Were their repeated incidents with the same person instigating the harassment? Were their incidents that likely broke French law? Were they previously reported to staff or the police? And on, and on.

As for Dupont not having any management skills - the response that comes to mind is: "Well, duh!"
She was an
étoile, a dancer for most of her life, and schooled and trained by the POB ballet school. That's what she knows. If POB management wants to send their new A.D. to management seminars, they should do that, if it's going to make her job go more smoothly for everyone involved. But expecting Dupont to magically become something she is not is rather dumb. Lissner had to know that his new A.D. would be going about things in the manner of an étoile who knows the POB repertoire well, and has some of her own ideas about how it can be shaped, and that's it. The rest either comes with time and effort, or it goes badly and she leaves after a short period. What management experience did Violette Verdy have? Rudolf Nureyev - was he good in staff meetings, and dealing with the politics of a bureaucracy?

And what exactly does this mean?
"Men are angry at him for bidding farewell with Roberto Bolle, star playmaker at La Scala, rather than a star or a young girl in the company, with the girls, who were stars at the same time , the climate remains tense."

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26 minutes ago, pherank said:

And what exactly does this mean?
"Men are angry at him for bidding farewell with Roberto Bolle, star playmaker at La Scala, rather than a star or a young girl in the company, with the girls, who were stars at the same time , the climate remains tense."

and what does it have to do with her management skills? Madame Dupont was fairly known for choosing her partners even before her retirement show.

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1 hour ago, silvermash said:

and what does it have to do with her management skills? Madame Dupont was fairly known for choosing her partners even before her retirement show.

At the time it was written that Aurélie was scheduled to dance her farewell Manon with one of the French étoiles but he got injured and Bolle was brought in as a last-minute replacement.

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1 hour ago, pherank said:

And what exactly does this mean?
"Men are angry at him for bidding farewell with Roberto Bolle, star playmaker at La Scala, rather than a star or a young girl in the company,

Regrettably Google Translate has difficulty sorting out personal pronouns and mixes up he/she/it !  Re Bolle please see post above. "with the girls who were stars ....." should obviously be a separate sentence referring to some other issue.

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13 hours ago, Gnossie said:

Ha! Yeah, sure she likes La Mimi and then doesn't give her the chance to dance Tatiana, thank god she likes her..... 

Unless things have radically changed recently, the casting of Cranko's ballets has nothing to do with the companies performing them.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, mnacenani said:

At the time it was written that Aurélie was scheduled to dance her farewell Manon with one of the French étoiles but he got injured and Bolle was brought in as a last-minute replacement.

mnacenani beat me to it.

Dupont was supposed to dance Manon with Herve Moreau. But, when he had to drop out, she had management bring in Bolle as her partner rather than rely on one of the other etoiles or premiere danseurs. This must be a lingering bone of contention but has nothing whatsoever to do with Dupont's management abilities.

 

2 hours ago, Mashinka said:

Unless things have radically changed recently, the casting of Cranko's ballets has nothing to do with the companies performing them.

Yes, the Cranko estate maintains strict control over who is cast in his ballets. Of course, this brings into sharp relief the whole nature of the hierarchy. If an estate or trust (like the Cranko estate) or a living choreographer like William Forsythe can cast as they please regardless of rank, the value of the hierarchy diminishes.

 

Edited by miliosr

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Posted (edited)

At the time I thought that importing Bolle for Dupont's farewell performance was a disgrace, especially since it was televised to the nation. In effect it was Dupont's repudiation of her male colleagues, and I can understand why they would still resent her. If I recall correctly, she had previously danced the ballet with Josua Hoffalt. Imagine how he felt when Dupont elected to dance her last performance with Bolle rather than him. (It's not as though the Dupont-Bolle partnership was one of long standing and popular repute!)

Obviously she wasn't director at the time, but this lingering resentment is a handicap now that she is boss. Perhaps there is an element of impolitic self-absorption in her character that makes her a poor candidate to manage the careers of others.

Edited by volcanohunter

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3 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

At the time I thought that importing Bolle for Dupont's farewell performance was a disgrace, especially since it was televised to the nation. In effect it was Dupont's repudiation of her male colleagues

Dear Volcano :  let's not forget that Millepied invited Kimin Kim to dance Solor when he staged Bayadere during his first (and only ?) season. When you get used to Rodkin and Lantratov and Chudin and Kim and at least a dozen other names in Russia the male leads in Paris and London really don't cut it (unless they are expat or guesting Russians !)  :wink::wink:

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Posted (edited)

I didn't realize Roberto Bolle was Russian. I was also unaware of the Russian origins of Millepied's other guest Solor, Isaac Hernandez. Additionally, I didn't realize that Seoul was in Russia

Edited by volcanohunter

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1 hour ago, mnacenani said:

Dear Volcano :  let's not forget that Millepied invited Kimin Kim to dance Solor when he staged Bayadere during his first (and only ?) season. When you get used to Rodkin and Lantratov and Chudin and Kim and at least a dozen other names in Russia the male leads in Paris and London really don't cut it (unless they are expat or guesting Russians !)  :wink::wink:

 

Oh come ON!! Mathieu Ganio? Mathias Heyman? etc etc.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mnacenani said:

Dear Volcano :  let's not forget that Millepied invited Kimin Kim to dance Solor when he staged Bayadere during his first (and only ?) season. When you get used to Rodkin and Lantratov and Chudin and Kim and at least a dozen other names in Russia the male leads in Paris and London really don't cut it (unless they are expat or guesting Russians !)  :wink::wink:

For me, Kim is the weak link in that list.  Will give him one thing though - stylistically he is CONSISTENTLY inconsistent.  You can count on that - and I've seen him any number of times.  I'd take Louvet or even young Ball as Solor over him any day of the week.  Can't wait to see Corrales in the role.  The Parisians went ape for his Ali.  Of that there can be no question ... though I realise that may not stand much truck with your good self, mnacenani - given your stated philosophy.  

 

Edited by meunier fan

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Madame Dupont was quite good to manage her career, one might have thought she would be good for others... It's partially true for her favorites. I think she should have a broader view on what is a manager of 154 people and if she could understand that, well maybe...

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There are few major ballet companies that, when run by former dancers, are not run by former top-ranked dancers, and top-ranked dancers don't have the experience of the large majority of the company or their point of view.  They generally have the luxury of choosing favorites, expecting 110% in class and rehearsal from older and experienced dancers, including the corps, when they are at their performance best by knowing when and when not to push, liking and rewarding the new, eager-to-please blood, etc.

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Just now, Buddy said:

I haven't read the article but I may give if a try if I can. I'm somewhat sorry to hear about discontent with Aurélie Dupont although I know very little about her. What I did like was that she seemed to like (?) Myriam Ould-Braham, whom I consider to be one of the most underused jewels of the ballet world, and her somewhat severe view of the 'not necessarily pleasant' ballet school, which has been voiced by others.

The films attribute this to Aurelie, and blame her for her statements and laziness given her talents. What is the source regarding Myriam?

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Posted (edited)
Just now, mnacenani said:

At the time I thought that importing Bolle for Dupont's farewell performance was a disgrace, especially since it was televised to the nation. In effect it was Dupont's repudiation of her male colleagues

I didn't realize Roberto Bolle was Russian.

Well we lost him at ABT for that, as well.  Yet again.

Her husband/bf was in the film, as were other etoile/ or p.d.

Whoever made that film, both as shot and edited, should be exiled. 

Edited by Vs1

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Posted (edited)
On 4/18/2018 at 9:52 AM, Vs1 said:

The films attribute this to Aurelie, and blame her for her statements and laziness given her talents. What is the source regarding Myriam?

I don’t really understand what this means, Vs1, after partially quoting my post. Maybe you could elaborate. Thanks.

When I wrote that Aurélie Dupont “seemed to like (?) Myriam Ould-Braham, whom I consider to be one of the most underused jewels of the ballet world” her liking was only based on my very sketchy feelings, nothing more and not intended to be a statement of certainty. Aurélie Dupont was listed as the ‘coach’ for a La Bayadere that featured Myriam Ould-Braham. Whether she had special involvement with her I don’t know, but she was at least overseeing what turned out to be a wonderful performance by Myriam Ould-Braham, in my opinion. Also last December Myriam Ould-Braham was given three or four appearances in the long Swan Lake series, but so, admittedly, were a couple other ballerinas. But this was the most that I’d ever seen Myriam Ould-Braham given. I’ll add that I would have gladly taken the six hour train ride to Paris to see her, as I did for her La Bayadere, but tickets at a reasonable price were not available, at least from the POB site.      

 

Edited by Buddy
word added for clarity

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Posted (edited)
On April 18, 2018 at 9:52 AM, volcanohunter said:

At the time I thought that importing Bolle for Dupont's farewell performance was a disgrace, especially since it was televised to the nation. In effect it was Dupont's repudiation of her male colleagues, and I can understand why they would still resent her. If I recall correctly, she had previously danced the ballet with Josua Hoffalt. Imagine how he felt when Dupont elected to dance her last performance with Bolle rather than him. (It's not as though the Dupont-Bolle partnership was one of long standing and popular 

Didn't she dance the five last with bolle?

she had danced galas with him

 

although I was shocked by how awful the DVDs was

Edited by Vs1

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