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Laurent Hilaire

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In the last 2 weeks London ballet fans had an unexpected and a delightful gift of having had Laurent Hilaire as De Grieux in Manon, replacing injured Jonathan Cope. (His Manon of course was Sylvie Guillem)

After rather anticlimactical first night, two dancers quickly regained usual selves and a great partnership on the second night - without doubt one of the most aesthetically gifted pairs in the ballet world, together they created a beautiful picture (too pretty perhaps for the nature of the story? But then to me it worked...). Hilaire was a true chevalier, a reliable partner and gave Guillem a much-needed (so I suppose) freedom... At the end of the performance I was so saddened to realise that it was the last one for Hilaire for this run of Manon.

So after the show I asked him about his schedule for the coming months at POB. Well it seemed that we don't stand a good chance.... endorsing my impressions that his appereance at POB has become less and less frequent these days (last season I managed to see him just once!), the next one he's due to appear in would be Bejart mix pro, he said. To my great dissapointment it looks almost certain that he would not dance in Giselle in July. (I had thought this could be possible as he's due to dance Albrecht in Tokyo in July; two performances are scheduled to be given as a part of Nureyev Celebration pro. And guess who'll be his Giselle - Svetlana Zakharova, now a regular guest to POB.... Why only in Japan?)

Anyway I've determined to go to Paris to catch him in Bejart pro. According to POB site works to be presented this time are: L'Oiseau de feu; Webern, opus V; Le Mandarin merveilleux and 'Création mondiale'.

I wonder in which of these Hilaire is most likely to appear? Also is it possible he would take part in the entire run (Bejart pro will last one month from mid May)? Would any one kindly advise me on these please - any info./comments gratefully received!

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Well, Naoko, I don't think Laurent Hilaire will take part in the entire run of the Bejard's pro. There always are several casts for each run. If you absolutely want to see him, to my mind, you'll have to wait until the cast is published on the POB's site, otherwise, I'm afraid you'll be disapointed

I think he may dance Manon with Sylvie Guillem at the POB in june (I read somewhere, but I don't remember where, that Melle Guillem is coming to dance Manon at the POB this year. Maybe on her official website ?)

We have to remember that Laurent Hilaire has been a principal for a long time, and he's not twenty years old anymore. The last years he has been injured several times so now he is restraining both his schedule and repertory, because he's concerned with his health.

Good luck!

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Actually, sometimes even waiting for the cast list to be published on the POB web site isn't enough, as there can be some last-minute changes (mostly because of injuries).

It seems to be (but it's just a personal hypothesis) that perhaps Hilaire wouldn't be young enough to dance the main role in Béjart's "L'Oiseau de Feu", as it generally is danced by younger dancers. I know too little about the other works to know if he's likely to perform it... Perhaps we'll know more about it later?

I saw him yesterday evening in the défilé (he was the last étoile in it, as he's the one who was promoted the earliest), but as you wrote, he hasn't been dancing that much in recent seasons, partly because of injuries. Also he seems to be more and more involved in coaching other dancers, his name often appears in the program sheets as one of the people who supervised the rehearsals- I wonder if he intends to become a ballet master later? It is a bit surprising that he won't appear in Manon if he's danced it recently in London (as it means it's not physically too hard for him), but perhaps it's because the performances of "Manon" will take place in the same period as some of the performances of the Béjart mixed bill?

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Well, Estelle,

you pointed something interesting when you wrote about Laurent Hilaire' supervising the rehearsals: we have to note that in the story " A l 'école des Etoiles " (At the School of The Principals") we saw on TV during the holidays, they only introducted him as a 'Chargé de répétition" (in charge of the rehearsals) and not as a principal, although he 's still a one, and all the others principals were introducted as principals !

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Thanks Cygnetblanc and Estelle for your thoughts!

Hmm...so he has spent more and more of his time on coaching these days... but surely he'll have a few years left before he reaches the age for a formal retirement? Let's hope we'll be given more opportunities to see him on stage. (IMO he's by far the best Albrecht of our times!)

Sorry not to have mentioned in the first thread (I thought you knew about this all along), but it seems that Hilaire will dance in Manon at POB in June with Guillem - that's what I heard from him. Good news, hopefully, more to come....

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