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Le Figaro published an article on 15 April 2018 containing the results of the a survey carried out among the POB company.  The article is behind a pay-wall, but it has been summarised in an on-line ballet press round-up in France:

 

https://www.dansesaveclaplume.com/hors-scene/584214-revue-de-presse-dansee-s17-18-ep24/

 

It appears that almost 77% of dancers who participated considered they had either been the victims of or had witnessed  episodes of moral harassment (I think this is probably "bullying") and 26% considered that they had been the victims of sexual harassment. 87% considered that the complaints process at the POB was inadequate.

 

The article apparently makes uncomfortable reading for Aurelie Dupont, the director of the company, whose choice of repertoire has already been heavily criticised for its emphasis on modern dance at the expense of the company's classical heritage. Indeed, there is an on-line petition against the 2018-19 repertoire.

 

Interestingly, on the same day the Figaro also published an article about the Paris Opera Ballet School, in which complaints were made by students about the focus on  teaching only classical technique which leaves dancers ill-equipt - they believe - to then make the transition to the company's modern repertoire, and also renders them unable to perform for 3 months or more  as they try to acquire the necessary skills to dance the company's modern works.   The publication of this article has coincided with  Elisabeth Platel, the director of the School, being on medical leave.  

 

It would be interesting to have the opportunity to read both articles in full, but it seems - at first blush - that these may be the precursors of a larger battle to come.

 

 

 

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I have read that the dancers were unhappy that the media were presented with the results of the survey before the dancers, and without their permission.

 

Re the school, I attended a performance last week at the Opera Garnier which consisted of three works. Although the first ballet was classical (Ivan Clustine's Suite de Danses, 1913, very influenced by Les Sylphides, but in turn being a perceptible influence on Lifar's Suite en blanc), the second and third were more contemporary, Kylian (Un ballo) and Neumeier (Spring and Fall).

 

It is true that the repertory for next season is very disappointing.The programme for the school next year ( Two Pigeons, the version of Merante and Aveline, Bournonville's Konservatoriet and a contemporary piece to Rameau) is once again more interesting than most of the company's rep, apart from the Robbins triple.

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2 hours ago, BeauxArts said:

It appears that almost 77% of dancers who participated considered they had either been the victims of or had witnessed  episodes of moral harassment (I think this is probably "bullying")

 

Cross-referencing the French term on Wikipedia ( often a useful indication :) ) leads to an article on "mobbing", but I suspect that's wrong (a friend working in Germany some years ago was subjected to racist "Mobbing", which is when I came across the term, so I guess it's a false friend) - the page links to a main article on workplace bullying, which I suspect is closer to the truth, although I don't claim to be any sort of expert in the area.  It does occur to me that a single episode of someone being bullied in class or a company rehearsal might be just as sufficient to account for that very high percentage as 77 individual instances of bullying, which is why statistics need to be treated with a degree of caution, but regardless, it doesn't look good.

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Posted (edited)

Assuming the reference is to 'harcèlement moral', this is 'psychological harassment' (degradation of working environment, abuse, career obstruction etc) and is actually defined as a crime under French law carrying a large fine or even to 2 years prison. 

Edited by Quintus

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22 hours ago, SheilaC said:

I have read that the dancers were unhappy that the media were presented with the results of the survey before the dancers, and without their permission.

 

If this refers to the petition, I'd take it with a large pinch of salt: it sounds like an attempt by management to muddy the waters which it would be tricky for a POB dancer to refuse  to sign.

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7 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

If this refers to the petition, I'd take it with a large pinch of salt: it sounds like an attempt by management to muddy the waters which it would be tricky for a POB dancer to refuse  to sign.

 

And I believe that one of the dancers is quoted as saying exactly that.

The British press has got its teeth into the POB story today, I see.

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