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mnacenani

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

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Just now, nanushka said:

Isn't it possibly quite similar? Grad school can feel like a calling and a passion, even if one in fact hates it. The same, I imagine, could be true of being a dancer.

If that is what the poster meant. Some people go to grad school to meet job requirements. Some  go to delay work. Some go b/c of parental pressure. Some go because they love learning but hate the school room or process. Some go to learn because they need the skills.   Some go because they don't have to work if they get scholarships.  Some go because they don't know what else to do.    Maybe, for some, it is a calling.  But for a dancer who had no "calling or passion" and did something requiring incredible sacrifice, discipline, time, and work in school, who is still doing it after retirement, I have a bit of a hard time comprehending the meaning still.  Could a dancer have pressure or financial or other type of desperation? Is that passion?

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

Maybe, for some, it is a calling.  But for a dancer who had no "calling or passion" and did something requiring incredible sacrifice, discipline, time, and work in school, who is still doing it after retirement, I have a bit of a hard time comprehending the meaning still. 

I can tell you from personal experience (and from knowing many others with a similar experience) that, for some, it is.

And my point was precisely that for her it may indeed have been a "calling or passion" (though before you posted, but apparently after you quoted me, I changed "passion" to "commitment," which was more precisely what I meant), but that she could still in fact hate it. And I believe that's along the lines of what the original poster was suggesting as well — though I may be wrong about that, of course.

All that said, I have no particular thought as to whether Dupont does indeed hate ballet. I just think it's not at all impossible that she could.

Edited by nanushka

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17 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

What kind of counseling? Training in how to behave when in power? Good luck.   Heel? Be nice?

Talking to a dr?  Depends on the type of harassment and your belief in the dsm or pharmacology.

"Luck" would have absolutely nothing to do with it. There's no time like the present for POB to implement a much improved human resources department and create rules and procedures and actually enforce them. In the part of the world that I live in, these things have existed for decades, both in civil service, union jobs, and in private industry. But private industry is notorious for cutting corners and not providing adequate assistance to employees and management. That's when everything comes down to people "doing the right thing", and guess what? People don't always do the right thing. That's why companies with real human resources departments that offer seminars and training for employees and management, (some of those trainings being mandatory), tend to be the best places to work, by far. I'm well aware that there are cultures in which 'employees' are little better than slaves in terms of their rights at work, and the work environment is often unhealthy or even lethal. POB is not located in one of those cultures - they don't have any excuses, and neither does NYCB.

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2 hours ago, pherank said:

"Luck" would have absolutely nothing to do with it. There's no time like the present for POB to implement a much improved human resources department and create rules and procedures and actually enforce them. In the part of the world that I live in, these things have existed for decades, both in civil service, union jobs, and in private industry. But private industry is notorious for cutting corners and not providing adequate assistance to employees and management. That's when everything comes down to people "doing the right thing", and guess what? People don't always do the right thing. That's why companies with real human resources departments that offer seminars and training for employees and management, (some of those trainings being mandatory), tend to be the best places to work, by far. I'm well aware that there are cultures in which 'employees' are little better than slaves in terms of their rights at work, and the work environment is often unhealthy or even lethal. POB is not located in one of those cultures - they don't have any excuses, and neither does NYCB.

You mean those big companies that hire people for training at no pay, and then pay two dollars an hour, make you work on call with no ability to get a second job, force you to get food stamps, and you work until your earnings eat into the next level boss's bonus, so you get fired and lose your book of business?  Which are unlike and better than small family owned businesses that cause one to suffer through nepotism?

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Goodness, this thread has strayed from the original topic!  

If not Dupont, then who?  And who would want it???

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11 hours ago, Vs1 said:

But for a dancer who had no "calling or passion" and did something requiring incredible sacrifice, discipline, time, and work in school, who is still doing it after retirement, I have a bit of a hard time comprehending the meaning still.

It can also be inertia, particularly if offers and incentives keep coming your way. Is it so hard to believe that an innately talented person, who sails through POBS exams, then a POB audition, then the promotion competitions, may assume that she has found her calling and not stop to consider an alternative? And then reach her mid-40s and realize that she doesn't know how to do anything else?

Some years ago there was discussion on the board about a report which found that most ex-dancers ended up teaching dance, not because they wanted to do it, but because it was the only marketable skill they had.

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Florimond Lorieux has announced on his Instagram feed that he's returning to the Paris Opera Ballet after two years as a soloist at Boston Ballet. He can't be too worried about the malaise!

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16 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

Dupont must want him but  I can't understand why he would leave Boston where he dances principal roles to go back to POB where he doesn't, so, either Aurelie promised something or he is home-sick of the contemporary repertoire that no other company in the world has........or simply realized Boston is not enough for him to give up a lifetime contract. 

A great job in Boston or a not bad job (with lifetime contract) in Paris? I know which I'd pick. (Of course, I'm not a dancer.)

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Yes, lifetime contract + POB lacks male soloists and plenty of needs next year (Cinderella and Lady of the Camellias, both  in December, Swan Lake (2 Etoile roles), Robbins bill, etc. ) Lorieux  comes back with  experience so he may be needed…

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10 hours ago, Gnossie said:

 I can't understand why he would leave Boston where he dances principal roles to go back to POB where he doesn't, so, either Aurelie promised something or he is home-sick of the contemporary repertoire

Might he just simply be homesick?

I'm off to Paris in a couple of weeks and have actually booked a ticket for a very unpromising programme, partly out of nostalgia for a company I used to love and partly to catch sight of the younger dancers whose careers I've completely missed, I fear there will be little point in reporting back.

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7 hours ago, Mashinka said:

Might he just simply be homesick?

I'm off to Paris in a couple of weeks and have actually booked a ticket for a very unpromising programme, partly out of nostalgia for a company I used to love and partly to catch sight of the younger dancers whose careers I've completely missed, I fear there will be little point in reporting back.

Oh, there's always something to say about a trip to Paris!

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Seems like a lot of movement in Boston too

does that really seem unusual

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I've followed Florimond Lorieux's Instagram feed since he decamped from the Paris Opera Ballet to the Boston Ballet. My general takeway from his postings has been that he has had some 'up' moments in Boston and some 'down' moments there. Curiously, some of his most enthusiastic postings about life in the US were were in regard to his visits to NYC (i.e. taking class with Willy Burman). That being said, his return to POB may be nothing more than homesickness for Paris and sensing a bit of opportunity within the current ranks of male dancers.

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Boston can be a tough place if you don’t ready have a social network. 

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These terrorist incidents are rife in London too sadly and we've been told by our mayor that we must learn to live with them.  I'm away primarily for some opera (Jarousky in Gluck's Orfeo) and then on to Naples for a performance at San Carlo. 

Perhaps the POB should have heeded RB audience reaction to Shechter,  because when they unwisely revived the piece he did for the company it was programmed last and the audience walked out in droves.  I'm afraid I'm not a fan of Crystal Pite either, the fact she's using Vivaldi's Four Seasons brings to mind memories of Caligula - and being put on hold when calling UK utilities companies.  On the other hand the casting is now up and there is a good spread of performers, on this occasion I'm definitely there for the dancers and not the ballets.

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I saw the modern quad bill this afternoon, very mixed feelings about what I saw.  On a rather prosaic level I have to say that unlike the Royal Ballet, the Paris Opera does give you value for money.  With two intervals of twenty minutes, the programme started at about two twenty five and finished around twenty five to six.  At Covent garden the interminable intervals are frequently longer than the ballets.

The opener, Frolons by James Thierree, took place in the public spaces of the Opera, primarily the grand staircase.  What is was about I haven't a clue because although there was a narrator, the acoustic in the area used was such that it was difficult to understand against the barrage of sounds, at one point a song was sung in English and I could barely catch any words so trying to understand the French was doubly difficult.  The dancers descended the stairs, sometimes walking, sometimes crawling, dressed in sequinned body suits and mostly carrying orbs of light that they peered into, whilst others peered into the faces of the spectators.  They wore masks over their entire faces lit from within, there were also a couple of spectacular lizard type creatures that I really liked.  You couldn't fault the designs they were superb, but it was not about dance.  After we were eventually allowed into the auditorium, the performers made their way through the stalls onto the stage.  fini

After the pause came the Schechter, The Art of not Looking Back, again this was narrated but in English.  A man tells how his mother walked out when he was two and the ballet was punctuated by "I hate her", presumably referring to the absconding mother.  Awful soundtrack at times breaking into Bach, broken up by sounds of retching.  The low point of the afternoon.

Next came The Male Dancer by Ivan Perez and this I really liked.  The only work with a decent soundtrack, it was danced to a recording of Stabat Mater by Arvo Part.  This blended classical steps with modern and the all male cast wore bright eclectic costumes suggesting different eras, some wore frocks.  Mostly ensemble with a few solos, there were also duets where they made the lifts look easy.  This was the only work of the afternoon that I would happily see again.

Crystal Pite's The Season's Canon had a massive cast that moved across the stage in an undulating block for a lot of the time and it did indeed look impressive though it reminded me of Akram Khan's work and even of Busby Berkeley, so for me a bit less original than it appeared.  The soloists were led by Gillot who gets the most out of these modern works and for me a great treat to see her one more time before the POB's ageist policy puts her out to grass.  The music was a version of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi and it does strike me that baroque music can work better with modern dance than to ballet.  The audience really loved this one and they particularly loved seeing Gillot, as did I.

 

There, I have reported back, can I add the Garnier was like a furnace today, after last night's storm, the temperature here has soared.  The Gluck last night was superb and now looking forward to Puccini and Ravel tomorrow

 

 

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Thanks for this detailed report.

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Yes, thank you, Mashinka. The name  Thiérrée rang a bell - James is the grandson of Charles Chaplin (and the great-grandson of Eugene O'Neill). I remember reading that Chaplin had high hopes for Victoria, James' mother,  wanted to make a movie with her, and was disappointed when she literally ran off to join the circus.  But I digress.

If you would like to write about the Orfeo in the Other Arts forum, hint, hint.....

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2 hours ago, dirac said:

If you would like to write about the Orfeo in the Other Arts forum, hint, hint.....

Certainly, I saw more opera at the Bastille today and am going to San Carlo in Naples on Tuesday.

On a sour note, poster Gnossie was concerned about my safety in Paris after a recent terror attack, I'm fine but this morning my travelling companion was attacked by a gang of women outside the Opera Garnier and although unhurt was robbed of a substantial sum of money.  The most troubling aspect was that the police are aware of these people and say that they operate from the same spot everyday, but as the justice system is overloaded, they let them off with a caution.  I keep valuables in a concealed body belt when abroad and in over forty years of travelling to Paris haven't had a problem, but as it seems these robbers are a a constant threat in that location,  take care my fellow travelling ballet watchers.

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On 5/26/2018 at 3:20 PM, Mashinka said:

Crystal Pite's The Season's Canon had a massive cast that moved across the stage in an undulating block for a lot of the time and it did indeed look impressive though it reminded me of Akram Khan's work and even of Busby Berkeley, so for me a bit less original than it appeared.  The soloists were led by Gillot who gets the most out of these modern works and for me a great treat to see her one more time before the POB's ageist policy puts her out to grass.  The music was a version of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi and it does strike me that baroque music can work better with modern dance than to ballet.  The audience really loved this one and they particularly loved seeing Gillot, as did I.

Pite is certainly having her moment right now, and is taking advantage of these opportunities to work with really large casts, something that is hard to do when you have a small contemporary ensemble.  Her recent work for the Royal, and a big group work for Julliard (last year?) sound like they're incorporating some of the lessons she learned with Emergence, and the work with a massed corps.  PNB will be performing Emergence in Paris this summer, if you have the chance to see it I'd be curious to know what you think.

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A portion of the company was just in Novosibirsk, Russia to perform. They took Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Faun, Hans van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes, Hofesh Schecter's The Art of Not Looking Back and Crystal Pite's The Seasons' Canon with them. If you knew nothing about the company, you would think it was a contemporary company from this repertory.

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Yes but it has been organised in emergency after the cancellation of the US tour... These pieces are easy to travel with little or no stage set...

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well in fact, the reason mentioned for POB administrative action is the usurpation of unionist position. It should be easy to dismiss if it's wrong.

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