Sergei Polunin, whose recent homophobic and sexist Instagram posts have sparked international outrage, will not be appearing with the Paris Opéra Ballet as previously announced.
POB artistic director Aurélie Dupont sent an internal email to company staff and dancers on Sunday, explaining that she did not share Polunin's values and that the Russian-based dancer would not be guesting with the company during the upcoming run of Rudolf Nureyev's Swan Lake in February.
Though Polunin has long had a reputation for behaving inappropriately, in the last month his posts have been somewhat unhinged. In one, Polunin, who is Ukrainian, shows off his new tattoo of Vladimir Putin:
We might have gotten a little bit carried away with this year's "Season Preview"—but with the 2018–19 season packing so many buzzy shows, how could we not? Here are over two dozen tours, premieres and revivals that have us drooling.
In late March, The Joyce Theater's annual gala performance included a last-minute substitution: Blueprint, by choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The trio took the place of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Faun, after two Paris Opéra Ballet dancers were unable to secure visas to appear onstage in the U.S.
"It was a shock," says Linda Shelton, executive director at The Joyce Theater. "In all 25 of my years here, I think we'd only been turned down once before. That was ages ago and we already had a feeling that dancer wouldn't be approved anyway, because of an issue with their passport. This was just a big, big surprise."
You'd think the Paris Opéra Ballet would be in damage-control mode after a leaked dancers' survey, in April, brought up worrying reports of harassment and mismanagement. But instead of addressing these issues internally, the French company is suing one of its own dancers in order to strip him of his union representative status and subsequently be free to fire him.
Dalloz Actualité, a French online magazine specializing in legal matters, elaborated on the lawsuit in an article published last week. The corps de ballet dancer taken to court, whom we'll call "S." to protect his identity, wasn't actually a member of the Commission for Artistic Expression, the elected group of dancers who put together the survey. He is described as a "geek" who provided technical support to ensure the validity of the results.
New York City Center just announced programming for the 2018-19 season, and we're frantically marking our calendars for all the must-see dance. This year is the venue's 75th anniversary, and they're pulling out all the stops—from the reliable fan favorite Fall for Dance to the most epic Balanchine celebration and more:
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Once in a while, a prince will soar onto the stage fully formed and ready to take the repertoire by storm. The preternaturally elegant Hugo Marchand has done just that at the Paris Opéra Ballet. In Pierre Lacotte's La Sylphide, the ballet that earned him a promotion to étoile at just 23, Marchand articulated the steps with a polish and dramatic presence beyond his years. French ballet has found a bona fide leading man.
Crystal Pite is a busy woman.
While her company, Kidd Pivot, toured the globe recently performing Betroffenheit—its acclaimed collaboration with Jonathon Young and fellow Canadians Electric Company Theatre—Pite herself launched three productions at three of the world's foremost dance companies: Nederlands Dans Theater (The Statement, February 2016), the Paris Opéra Ballet (The Seasons' Canon, fall 2016), and London's Royal Ballet (Flight Pattern, spring 2017).
The #MeToo movement has made its way to France's biggest ballet company.
An anonymous survey recently leaked to the French press revealed major turbulence at the Paris Opéra Ballet. The Straits Times reports that the survey was conducted by an internal group representing POB's dancers. In it, there are numerous claims of bullying, sexual harassment and management issues.
Nearly all of the dancers (132 out of 154) answered the questionnaire, but they didn't know it would be made public. (Around 100 of them later signed a statement saying they didn't consent to its release.)
Oh, Hollywood. In any given year, Tinseltown's use of dance in film veers from the woefully disappointing to the surprisingly delightful, but one thing's for certain: It's rarely boring. Here's our not-at-all-comprehensive and completely-subject-to-change list of the new dance-related movies coming soon to a theater (or laptop screen) near you.
From the over-the-top antics of Fancy Free to the stylized realism of West Side Story, the discomfiting world of The Cage to the poignant humanity of Dances at a Gathering, the work of Jerome Robbins redefined what American dance could be. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, ballet companies across the country are performing his iconic works throughout the year. Here are a few of our favorites, but keep your eyes peeled for more Robbins tributes in 2018.
"What does it mean to play as an adult?" This is the question driving Alexander Ekman's Play, a new work for Paris Opéra Ballet that marks Aurélie Dupont's first big commission as ballet director. Though his witty, irreverent work has found a home with ballet companies worldwide, Ekman's choreography has never before appeared on the hallowed Palais Garnier stage. With POB's extraordinary dancers and massive theater at his disposal, one thing is certain: This is going to be fun. Dec. 4–31. operadeparis.fr.
It's time! You submitted your nominations for the most memorable dance you saw this year. We narrowed down our favorites, and now it's up to you to decide what will make it into our December issue.
Voting will be open until September 25th. Only one submission per person will be counted.
Throughout the summer, we've been noticing beachside views and scenic waterfalls sprinkled in with all of the usual rehearsal and performance posts we see from ballet's biggest stars. But even while enjoying some sun and relaxation, dancers like Sara Mearns and Michaela DePrince prove that they never really take a break from ballet. Ahead, check out some of the cutest vacay pictures and videos our favorite dancers have been sharing this summer. Not only will they give you some future vacation inspo, they'll also have you itching to get back in the studio.
The Lincoln Center Festival always includes a spectacular, if brief, display of international dance. This July, two programs involving the Bolshoi Ballet arrive at the Koch Theater.
The first one brings together three superb ballet companies to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Balanchine's Jewels. Paris Opera Ballet will do "Emeralds," the serene opening section, to the music of French composer Gabriel Fauré. The Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet will alternate in "Rubies" (Stravinsky) and "Diamonds" (Tchaikovsky). It makes sense that the Bolshoi and NYCB will switch off in these two sections because the Russians and Americans both know how to devour space and move fast. It could be pretty exciting.
We've been anxiously awaiting a first look at the Balmain designs for Paris Opéra Ballet since the iconic French fashion house was first announced to be collaborating with the equally iconic company last month. Commissioned by choreographer Sébastien Bertaud to design for his upcoming ballet, Renaissance, Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing designed costumes for the 22 dancers featured in Bertaud's 27-minute ballet.
Luckily for those of us who can't make it to the Palais Garnier for Renaissance's premiere on June 13, Rousteing and Bertaud shared a sneak peek of the dancers rehearsing in their couture costumes. Echoing his red carpet designs for It models like Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner, Rousteing's costumes include silver and gold sequin, pearl and crystal embellishments—this time covering beige-nude leotards and tights as opposed to gowns.
What made Benjamin Millepied leave the Paris Opéra Ballet after only two seasons as artistic director? A new documentary, Reset (Relève), offers some hints. Filmmakers Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai followed Millepied for 39 days while he was choreographing Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward on the company. The footage shows Millepied's frustrations over POB's hierarchy and meager health care—and his impatience for administrative duties. But it also highlights how much he loves creating new work on rising talent, something he'll have more opportunity to do now that he's back at L.A. Dance Project. Available on video on demand.
Yesterday, the Paris Opéra announced the death of Yvette Chauviré, a dazzling star of its ballet company in the 1940s through the 1960s. She was 99. Throughout her long career at the Paris Opéra Ballet, she was heralded as a muse of then director Serge Lifar, and his neoclassical Suite en Blanc was one of several works created on her.
Yvette Chauviré in 1937. Photo via Le Monde/AFP.
But Chauviré's fame wasn't limited to Europe. American audiences got to know her through an acting stint: At just 20 years old, she appeared in the movie La Mort du Cygne about the backstage life of ballet dancers. (The filmed was renamed Ballerina for its 1938 U.S. distribution.)
Even the great Rudolf Nureyev adored Chauviré, and the two danced together frequently in Paris and London. Though she formally retired from the Paris Opéra in 1956, she wasn't ready to hang up her pointe shoes. The venerable dancer appeared as a guest artist in France and other countries until 1972, when she gave her farewell at the Paris Opéra. When Nureyev became director in 1983, she returned for mime roles. Chauviré was also an esteemed coach for the likes of Sylvie Guillem. (Glimpse into one of their rehearsals here.)
Chauviré's style was described by critics as "velvet and steel" in this obituary from The New York Times. Thanks to YouTube, today's dancers are able to watch her in excerpts from her most well known role: Giselle.
Benjamin Millepied is a very trendy guy. From his movie star wife to his uber-chic L.A. Dance Project and his cameos in swanky ad campaigns, everything he does is coated in "hipness."
So it's no surprise that after taking over the Paris Opéra Ballet, he decided to give the very traditional company a very contemporary stage, as he calls it. (Others would probably just call it a website.)
3e Scène, translated as "Third Stage," premiered this week with a batch of 18 short films inspired by the Palais Garnier and the artists who work inside of it. As Millepied told Rebecca Milzoff in New York magazine's Vulture blog, "When I got here the doors were closed shut; you could not get in unless you were doing a project there.... The idea of having a third stage that’s a digital platform was really to invite artists to come to the opera and get a sense that they can really create something here: work with the dancers, the music, the architecture, something." He's also hoping to showcase the company to people all over the world who might not otherwise be interested in ballet.
A quirky film called "09/06/2015"
To that end, Millepied gave directors, animators, photographers and other artists open access to create completely original content—not promotions for upcoming productions, but pieces of work unto themselves. Interestingly, Millepied himself is the only choreographer yet to contribute a film. Hopefully that will change as the site grows, especially since the company has a new choreographic academy with mentorship from none other than POB's new associate choreographer William Forsythe.
Nonetheless, it's intriguing to see what came out of all the cross-genre collaborations. One film scrolls through illustrations of the dancers, set to the sounds of ballet classes and other goings-on inside the Palais Garnier. Another follows corps member Laura Bachman questioning her career (though unfortunately it doesn't offer English subtitles). My favorite is a pair of films splicing together archival and current footage of Apollo and Afternoon of a Faun: The effect shows how much has changed in the bodies and techniques—and how much has stayed the same.
And of course, there's one with Lil Buck.
The most intriguing thing about the project is how the notoriously closed-off company is now inviting the world in to see it through the eyes of all different kinds of artists. So many of the Paris Opéra dancers were next to impossible to get to know unless you could see the company in person. Here, we can catch glimpses of their artistry and personalities. It's all highly-produced—nothing feels unplanned or unedited—but it's far more than we ever had before. And it's very, very hip.
It definitely makes me want to plan a trip to Paris.