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Subject: "POB film at NFT3 tomorrow" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2267
Reading Topic #2267
Alison

12-11-01, 03:23 PM (GMT)
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"POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
 
   A friend of mine went to see a film, ostensibly about the students of the
Paris Opera Ballet School, at the French Institute on Saturday as part of
the London Film Festival, and was very surprised to see that there wasn't
very much about the students, but plenty about the étoiles of POB, including
footage of Platel's retirement performance in La Sylphide, plus POB dancers
dancing Forsythe, Kylian, Béjart and much more. She said it was very
interesting, and as it's being repeated at the National Film Theatre, NFT3,
at 4.15 this Tuesday I thought I'd post something about it in case anyone is
free. It's called "Tout près des étoiles", and this link should, I hope,
take you right to it:

http://www.rlff.com/db_world/cinema.cgi/films/view_36.htm

Also, possibly worth looking out for elsewhere in the country if you have a
suitable arts cinema.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Naoko S 12-11-01 1
     RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 13-11-01 2
     RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 13-11-01 3
         RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Naoko S 14-11-01 4
             RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 14-11-01 5
                 RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Ann Williams 14-11-01 6
                     RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 14-11-01 7
                         RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Naoko S 15-11-01 8
                             RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 15-11-01 9
                             Monique Loudières Viviane 15-11-01 10
                             RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Naoko S 16-11-01 11
                             RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 16-11-01 12
                             RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow Estelle 16-11-01 13

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Naoko S

12-11-01, 11:35 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #0
 
   I saw the film earlier this year in Paris. Indeed plenty of interviews/rehearsal scenes with Etoiles/Premier Danseureses/Soujets were featured. To me one of the most memorable/beautiful part was Carole Arbo & Jose Martinez rehearsing for La Sylphide. Having seen a glimpse of her in the role, how I wished I had had an opportunity to see her in the entire ballet; now that she had gone chances are so slim if not nil .... Oh and seeing Laurent Hilaire up close on the screen was a big bonus!


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Estelle

13-11-01, 09:58 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #1
 
   I saw this film in Paris too, and yes, it's a very enjoyable work- not at all about the POB school, but about the company. Naoko, I agree with you about Arbo: I think she didn't had the career she deserved, being promoted a bit late, and that she was wonderful in many roles- what a shame that she didn't even have a real farewell performance, and won't be invited again as a guest...

Also an interesting aspect of the film is that it shows not only the principals and soloists, but also the dancers of the corps de ballet (for example one understands how difficult it is to be an understudy for many roles...) And most of the interviews are quite interesting (not just the usual cliches), I especially liked Wilfried Romoli's sensible comments.


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Estelle

13-11-01, 10:00 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #1
 
   I saw this film in Paris too, and yes, it's a very enjoyable work- not at all about the POB school, but about the company. Naoko, I agree with you about Arbo: I think she didn't had the career she deserved, being promoted a bit late, and that she was wonderful in many roles- what a shame that she didn't even have a real farewell performance, and won't be invited again as a guest...

Also an interesting aspect of the film is that it shows not only the principals and soloists, but also the dancers of the corps de ballet (for example one understands how difficult it is to be an understudy for many roles...) And most of the interviews are quite interesting (not just the usual cliches), I especially liked Wilfried Romoli's sensible comments.


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Naoko S

14-11-01, 01:01 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #3
 
   Hi Estelle

>Naoko, I agree with you about
>Arbo: I think she didn't
>had the career she deserved,
>being promoted a bit late,
>and that she was wonderful
>in many roles- what a
>shame that she didn't even
>have a real farewell performance,
>and won't be invited again
>as a guest...

So that's the final decision by POB - they'll never welcome her back at the old nest? It's been a mystery to me for years how this guest system works; is there any specific criteria on who among retired etoiles should be invited - perhaps you could tell us a bit about this?


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Estelle

14-11-01, 02:28 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #4
 
   Sorry for the duplicate post...

Naoko, I don't know how the system works for guest dancers.
I think everything depends on the director's wishes...
For example, among the recently retired principals, Monique Loudieres retired in 1996 and was invited to premiere the main role of Neumeier's "Sylvia" in 1997 but never again, Elisabeth Platel retired in 1999 and was invited several times (including Neumeier's "A midsummer night's dream" last summer), Marie-Claude Pietragalla left the company to lead the Ballet de Marseille and was invited for Nureyev's "Cinderella" and Carlson's "Signes".
Isabelle Guerin couldn't have her farewell performance in July, and was invited as a guest in October to dance in "Notre-Dame de Paris". Sylvie Guillem has been invited many times since she left the company, especially in recent years.

On the other hand, as far as I know, (among the people who retired after I started being interested in the company) the former principals Claude de Vulpian, Charles Jude, Jean-Yves Lormeau, Patrick Dupond, Francoise Legree were never invited as guests.

I really wish Carole Arbo could be invited as a guest. What I wrote only was a guess: rumors say that the present direction doesn't like her much, and it seems to be confirmed by the poor
conditions of her farewell performance. Usually, the dancers have their farewell performance in a full-length ballet like "Giselle", "La Sylphide", "Romeo and Juliet"... Arbo had her farewell performance in Robbins' "Other dances", which is a pas de deux, and it was not even at the end of the program: it was the third work of the program! I couldn't attend that performance, but was quite shocked to hear about it (and I was told the atmosphere was pretty sad). Arbo turned 40 only in october, but she was refused any role between March and October (while she really was in good shape for many roles). I really don't know why the direction doesn't like her: I wouldn't consider her as great as Platel, for example, but she is a very good dancer with a large repertory and a great personality on stage, and she would have deserved to be treated better.

More generally, the present policy of the direction eludes me, as
there are only three female principals now: Maurin, who will retire in at the beginning of 2003, Letestu and Dupont. A few years ago, there were 8 female principals (Arbo, Gaida, Guerin,
Legree, Loudieres, Pietragalla, Platel). Three really is too small a number for such a large company with a long season.
Actually, some premieres danseuses already dance as much as principals (especially Moussin and Gillot) and have already shown their worth in many important roles. But, for some unkonwn reason, the direction doesn't promote them- they do all the hard work, but without getting the recognition (and sometimes have to dance demi-soloist roles plus principal roles). Gillot is likely to get promoted sooner or later, but Moussin (who is about 32) seems to be considered as "too old" now- in my opinion, it is a pity that she hasn't been promoted earlier. Also, I think that it will be hard to find suitable dancers for some roles of the repertory after the departure of many experienced principals.


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Ann Williams

14-11-01, 03:44 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #5
 
   I saw the film yesterday and loved it; I think however that it was slightly too long at 96 mins and could have been more tightly edited. However, it was fascinating seeing some favourite dancers (Platel, Belarbi in particular) 'up close and personal'. I wish we could have seen more of Platel's final performance in 'La Sylphide' - to be honest, if the entire 96 minutes had been devoted to her I would not have complained!

Estelle, your comments about the POB's inexplicable attitude to some of the senior dancers has a familiar ring to some of us Royal Ballet followers (and I imagine to followers of most major ballet companies). There have been times over the past few years when I have felt like storming one of their press conferences, stamping my feet and demanding an explanation as to why xxxxx has not been given a role in months. After all, as I am the one who actually buys the tickets I feel I am owed an explanation.

It's good to be able to let off steam here!



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Estelle

14-11-01, 04:21 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #6
 
   Ann, I agree about Platel's "Sylphide": I had attended that wonderful farewell performance, and regret that there's no film about it. In general, I think that there are not enough videos
of POB performances: for example, no "video" of Taglioni's "Sylphide" (and now it might be a bit too late, after the retirement of great interprets like Loudieres, Platel and Gaida),
no "Giselle" (same comment)... And their choice of "Swan Lake" was a bit odd (Bourmeister's version filmed around 1992- wonderful corps de ballet, but Pietragalla and Dupond were not the best cast in my opinion). Of course videos can't replace live performances, but after a dancer retires that's almost all that remains, and I regret that so many great dancers are almost absent from videos.

I did not find the movie too long- but well, I'm always interedting to learn more and more things about my favorite company... I only regret it didn't include enough performance excerpts: sometimes it's a bit frustrating to see many
rehearsal scenes, and nothing from the "result".

An interesting aspect was hearing some dancers talk about parenthood: Laurent Hilaire explaining that having children
gave him more weight (in a positive sense), more strength ion stage, and the enthusiasm of the corps de ballet dancer Amelie Lamoureux talking about her pregnancy (by the way, if I remember correctly, she gave birth to a baby daughter since then. So did Miteki Kudo (her husband is the sujet Gil Isoart) and Laure
Muret (Mrs Kader Belarbi)).


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Naoko S

15-11-01, 00:23 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #7
 
   Thanks Estelle for sharing us with the insider info. - to this day I did not know even Loudiere was invited only once! (Incidentally does she still dance - either with some company or on freelance?) I trust many of POB followers would agree - this retirement system is too old-fashioned, totally illogical, simply ludicrous particularly if you believe in the thought that artistry comes with age! As you've pointed out, lack of principal dancers indeed is a serious problem - though I'm not such a keen watcher of POB to judge this - for instance, will they be able to stage Giselle in years to come? Personally I have a difficulty to think of convincing dancers for the role from the current young female troops whereas no problem at all with men (for Albrecht). I'd definitely go for Loudiere, Platel & Arbo if given choices!

(As to Arbo we should rather be thankful that there's a video; the one filmed in Moscow's Red Square more than a decade ago. Though it's rather brief - only Act II pdd - better than nothing!)


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Estelle

15-11-01, 11:00 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #8
 
   Naoko, Loudieres now is the director of the Cannes ballet school (replacing Rosella Hightower, who is quite elderly and has retired). But I've been told that before that, she still came almost every day for company class. I don't know if she still dances, probably not very much as her job as a director must take a lot of time. She's involved in coaching young dancers too, for example she worked with "Europa danse" (a program training young
dancers in Grasse every summer).

It makes years that the retirement system has been criticized. Actually, a female dancer even had a successful trial against the Paris Opera administration: she complained that it was sexist that women had to retire at 40 and men at 45 (I was told that the retirement age was decided in a period when there were only a few male dancers, and so the company preferred to keep them as soon as possible). However, even after that, the retirement age didn't change. Hugues Gall said in some interviews that he was considering changing the retirement age to 42 for everybody, but as far as I know there has been no decision.

Having the same retirement age for all dancers of the same gender is a bit absurd, as there are some dancers with many injuries as soon as 35, and other who are in an excellent shape at 40. Perhaps it is compulsory for some administrative reasons (all the dancers are paid by the state), but inviting some retired dancers as guests would be a good way to compensate for it. For example, it seems to me (I was too young then) that in the mid-80s, dancers such as Noella Pontois or Ghislaine Thesmar were invited quite often, even after the official age of retirement. Also, the retirement age might be a problem for some character roles or secondary roles like Don Quixote, Giselle's mother, etc. : it is useful to have slightly older, experienced dancers for such roles...

I agree with you that finding suitable Giselles might be a problem now, as it is a role which generally requires some maturity. I think that among the three remaining principals, Letestu and Maurin have danced the roles. It's a bit hard for me to imagine Letestu, who is such a tall, extremely slim dancer in the role of Giselle, however she received good reviews. I don't think that Dupont has danced it in Paris (she danced it as a guest with other companies), perhaps she would be good. Among the younger dancers, well... Gillot is good in all the contemporary repertory and in some classical roles, but I think that so far she doesn't have the silhouette nor the personality for Giselle (she'd be much better suited to Myrtha). Perhaps Osta? But as Moussin, she doesn't seem very appreciated by the direction. Also, among the sujets, I think Fanny Fiat is very interesting.

By the way, who would you see as Albrecht among the non-principals?

I've heard about that Arbo video, but have never seen it- pity there aren't more videos...


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Viviane

15-11-01, 12:46 PM (GMT)
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10. "Monique Loudières"
In response to message #9
 
   If I'm not mistaken, Monique Loudières danced a 'solo' at the 'Danses et équipements'-fair in Paris, beginning of October.


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Naoko S

16-11-01, 00:24 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #9
 
   >Naoko, Loudieres now is the director
>of the Cannes ballet school
>(replacing Rosella Hightower, who is
>quite elderly and has retired).

So she's based in Cannes now? Perhaps a good career move for her, but I hope she would never desert us audience at least for a few more years.... Japanese ballet-goers were extremely lucky to have a chance to see her Giselle exactly a year ago with Bordeaux Ballet, partnered by Charles Jude. Had I lived in Tokyo, I would definitely have made it...

>
>I agree with you that finding
>suitable Giselles might be a
>problem now, as it is
>a role which generally requires
>some maturity. I think that
>among the three remaining principals,
>Letestu and Maurin have danced
>the roles. It's a bit
>hard for me to imagine
>Letestu, who is such a
>tall, extremely slim dancer in
>the role of Giselle, however
>she received good reviews. I
>don't think that Dupont has
>danced it in Paris (she
>danced it as a guest
>with other companies), perhaps she
>would be good. Among the
>younger dancers, well... Gillot is
>good in all the contemporary
>repertory and in some classical
>roles, but I think that
>so far she doesn't have
>the silhouette nor the personality
>for Giselle (she'd be much
>better suited to Myrtha).

Agree with your comments on Gillot; I can't picture her Giselle either - but surely it should not eliminate a chance for her to get a promotion? To my eyes already she's a de-facto etoile... Should they have a public poll on 'Who would you nominate as the next POB etoile' - I'd cast a vote to her!


>By the way, who would you
>see as Albrecht among the
>non-principals?

To be honest when I said that I didn't have any one particular in mind from younger generation - the current male etoiles alone would certainly suffice the demands? ...Well who would you see?


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Estelle

16-11-01, 12:10 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #11
 
   Viviane, you're right about Monique Loudieres- I had forgotten that...

Naoko, the Japanese audiences are lucky to get to see quite a lof of French dancers (more than in other French cities than Paris, actually!) Jude was a lovely dancer, and he seems to be doing a good job in Bordeaux (but I hope he won't continue dancing for too long, as his mentor Nureyev: he still looks gorgeous on photographs, but is 48 now...)

For Gillot, I agree that not being a suitable "Giselle" surely shouldn't prevent her from being promoted. She's danced in nearly all the programs of the previous season, and is likely to do so this season (she just danced Esmeralda in Petit's "Notre Dame de Paris" and Myrtha/ Bathilde in Ek's "Giselle" and is going to dance the Siren in "The Prodigal Son", and also Nikiya and Gamzatti in "La Bayadere"). Actually it's even surprising that she hasn't been promoted yet (another aspect of the POB policy that I don't understand...)

Among the present premieres danseuses, Eleonora Abbagnato seems to be the favorite of the direction (she already got many roles when she was only a coryphee). She's not a favorite of mine, but
perhaps I haven't seen her enough in big roles. There even were rumors that she would be the next promoted principal, but it would seem a bit illogical to me, as Gillot has danced many more roles, and is more reliable in my opinion... Both will dance the main roles of "La Bayadere", so who knows what will happen then? I think the direction should also think about dancers more suited to the romantic repertory (like Osta and Moussin, in my opinion- but it seems that their chances of promotion are thin...
Actually Moussin often reminds me of Gaida, their repertories are close).


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Estelle

16-11-01, 12:21 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: POB film at NFT3 tomorrow"
In response to message #12
 
   About the men of the company: there still are 6 male principals (by order of promotion: Hilaire, Legris, Belarbi, Le Riche, Martinez, Bart) but last season most of the roles were danced by Legris, Martinez and Bart (Hilaire suffered from injuries, Le Riche danced much abroad as a guest and also had some injuries problems at the end of the season, and Belarbi dances mostly contemporary and character roles now). Legris is wonderful (and probably my favorite dancer), but he's 37 and will gradually stop some of his roles (for example, last summer he announced that it was his lasts Romeos). So there already are some periods with not enough principals to dance all the roles... The premiers danseurs
are Quillere, Romoli, Delanoe, Bridard, Pech, Paquette and Belingard. Romoli and Delanoe are quite active (and I think Romoli would probably have deserved a promotion) but close to 40,
and Quillere now almost only dances with the Miami City Ballet.
Pech is young (around 27) but has suffered from several injuries since his promotion. Bridard used to be cast a lot, but now dances mostly character roles (in which he usually is excellent-
I wish he would be given more roles). Paquette and Belingard have been promoted a few months ago, and I doubt they are principal material (especially Paquette). I don't see most of the present
premiers danseurs in "prince" roles (except perhaps Pech?).
Among the sujets, there's perhaps Saiz (but he sometimes is a bit sloppy in my opinion), or Moreau? Pity Vilanoba left for San Francisco (but the POB's loss was the SFB's gain!)


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