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Paris opera ballet gala, Hollywood bowl, July 20 and 21.

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It was a magical evening at the Hollywood Bowl last night. The weather was perfect, the music was fantastic, and the dancing was sublime!

It was a pleasant surprise to arrive early and be graced with the dancers taking class on stage for all to see. The first pas de deus was Grand Pas Classique danced by Valentina Colasante and Marc Moreau. It was beautifully performed. While Colasante had a couple of bobbles, unnoticeable by the untrained eye, she presented the regal technique that the French are known for. In her variation, especially, she shown. Moreau's variation was textbook perfect and elegant. Second was Le Parc with Laura Hecquet and Germain Louvet. This seems to be a better ballet performed in a smaller venue, but the crowd was very appreciative. The "flying kiss", my favorite part, was breathtaking. Jean-Yves Thibaudet deserves mention as he played the piano beautifully throughout the evening.

Up next was Swan Lake Act II Pas with See Eun Park and Paul Marque. Park absolutely deserves her etoile title and made a lovely, vulnerable swan. Her swan arms were so smooth making full use of her arms during the bouree entrance facing upstage. While I am used to a higher arabesque and extension from watching so much Russian Ballet, it did not bother me that her legs did not reach her ear. She used what she had with the dreamy unfurling of her legs. It was another demonstration of the clean, elegant Parisian style of Ballet.

Faunes, to Debussy and choreographed by Sharon Eyal, also would have been better in a different venue. Paris Opera Ballet always has cutting edge contemporary works and this was one of them. A group of nine dancers, both male and female, gyrated and contorted their bodies to embody that of a faun.

After Intermission was Dorothee Gilbert in The Dying Swan. This is not a favorite ballet of mine, but Dorothee is and she was so mesmerizing that I have a new outlook on this ballet.

Perhaps my favorite of the evening was Trois Gnossiennes by Hans van Manen with the lovely Ludmilla Pagliero and her handsome partner Florian Magnenet. Pagliero is another favorite of mine. This choreography to this haunting music was a beautiful feast for my eyes, as well as those who were with me. 

Nest to last was Clair de lune danced by Germain Louvet. It was a solo variation showing off Louvet's gracefulness and technique. It was a little repetitive, but enjoyable.

Last, but absolutely not least was my second favorite, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude with the colorful flat tutus and purple costumes for the men. GP Classique and this were the perfect bookends.  This is a really fun, high energy ballet showing off 5 dancers. Colasante was back in the lead role. She is a great technician but I could not keep my eyes off of Hannah O'Neill. Her legs, her feet, her pretty face, oh my! 

All in all, it was a satisfying evening of ballet and I'd love to hear from anyone who attends tonight.

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I attended the performance as well.  It was a beautiful evening with these superb dancers.  For much of the audience, this would be the first time they had seen ballet.   I was especially taken with Germain Louvet in Clair de Lune, as this work was new to me.  I was aware that it was Magnenet's last performance with the company and he and the exquisite Pagliero were perfection. 

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