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Last Saturday there was a 'soiree' to celebrate France's most famous 20th century ballerina, Yvette Chauvire. The Palais Garnier was full of distinguished ballet dancers from the past but the event was a shambles. There was no introduction. It opened with a defile of all the current Opera dancers, as impressive as ever on the huge raked stage; but from then it went downhill. In all there were only 33 minutes of live dance, badly under-rehearsed. The orchestra played so badly they were booed at the end.

The Grand Pas Classique, which was created on her, was poorly danced, and brought back memories of how spectacular Sylvie Guillem was in it. There was a brief pas de deux from Lifar's Les Mirages, a pedestrian performance of The Dying Swan, a 2 minute excerpt from Two Pigeons (well performed by the POB School) and, best of all, two extracts from Lifar's Suite en Blanc. It is time that there was a revival of Lifar's ballets, he was a good choreographer.

Finally- and it was finally, as the first two attempts to start it failed- there was a film compiled of extracts of her dancing, including a moving Dying Swan and her final performance, in Giselle, her most famous role, plus shots of her teaching. The whole event was lack lustre and dishonoured a wonderful ballerina.

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I am sorry to say that but Sheila gave an accurate account of this missed opportunity to honour Yvette Chauviré. When for 20 years you treat with disdain the great ballet classic, this is what you get. Contrary to her pronouncements made a year ago, Aurélie Dupont is steadily continuing on the destructive path of Brigitte Lefèvre. École de danse is similarly a pale shadow of what it was under strong guidance of Claude Bessy.

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