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Paris Ballet Scene

Guest Pixie

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Guest Pixie

We are taking a family vacation to France in August. Is there a ballet scene in Paris at that time? I would think not, but maybe there's a little something left for us tourists. Even a museum would be nice. Included in our little entourage will be our 14 year old ballet dancer. It would be a thrill if there were open classes available to her...at least to observe. She's had four years of middle school French which we hope will at least get food on the table!

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There are no serious ballet performances until October when the Maryinski people get here, unless one counts a couple of modern-dance thinggies with people writhing all over one another, at dire but well-subsidised venues...

On the other hand, the Opera Garnier has an absolutely beautiful museum, with paintings, sets, costumes and rare books. The books can, under certain conditions, be consulted. It should be open six or seven days a week year round.

The Opera Garnier also has a little bookshop, with the European dance magazines, postcards, some lovely picture books, as well as pretty souvenirs, mainly suitable for adolescents. One can also shop there little pots of honey from the beehives on top of the Opera House (yes !). You can also sign up for a tour of the Opera Garnier, and perhaps visit the studios were people like Spessivtseva rehearsed (!!!). Opera Bastille is very modern, and only worth touring to see the stage machinery, and the costume workshop if they'll let you in. They might.

The main open class centre in Paris is the Centre de Danse du Marais, located at 41 rue du Temple. This is a vast centre, where all sorts of dance including classical ballet, is taught. There are at least three professors teaching advanced to professional level classical ballet throughout the summer. Those will tend to be at about noon.

One of the most renowned private schools is that of Monique Arabian, located at number 6 (?) rue Chaptal in the 9th arrondissement. Many of her students are now in top companies, including the POB. I am not sure whether she teaches in summer. There are also open classes at the Salle Pleyel, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, at the centre directed by Jennifer Goubé.

A professor with a high reputation amongst professionals, who sometimes teaches at the Centre de danse du Marais, and sometimes at another centre the name of which I've temporarily forgotten, is Wayne BYARS. I cannot recall the place, but it will come back to me.

There are other well-known private teachers, but they are getting on in years, and I am not quite sure whether they are still teaching, notably Max Bozzoni.

Otherwise, much of the teaching activity in France in the summer, takes place at summer schools out in the provinces.

The Centre Beaubourg museum has a library, with a large dance section, including both books and some rare film. Although I do not believe the collection compares in any way with that of the New York Public Library, there may be some French film you might want to catch up on.

One might also suggest a visit to the reputed shoemakers, the largest being Repetto, located at 21 rue de la Paix near the Opera. Their selection of pointe shoes is, to put it mildly, vast.

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Hi! I just went to Paris in December. While there I took two ballet classes at a studio specializing in adult students, although I know there are other studios which accept drop-ins. I loved the studio--a cat lived in the lobby--and the 2nd class I took there was a master class with one of the ballet masters from the Ballet Russe (can't recall his name just now). I also saw two performances--one a full length "La Bayadere" at the Garnier, and one a mixed program at the Paris Opera. I bought a book entitled _Danser a Paris_ at the tourist office to find the information about the classes. It's in French, though, so you'll need some fluency in order to decipher it! Let me know if you're interested and I can try to give you more information.


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Guest Pixie

Thanks for all the suggestions. We will try to follow up on as many as we can. My 14 year old may be a little intimidated by actually taking a class, but I'm sure she would love to watch.

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