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Paris Opera Ballet


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 How can a foreign ballet dancer join Paris Opera Ballet? Also, I'd like to know whether the repertoire of Paris Opera Ballet is mostly affected by Classical, Neoclassical or Contemporary ballet(on average at least)?

Regarding the first question, I tried to search but got more confused so I thought it would be better if I asked here)


(Not a ballet dancer/connoisseur. Looking for basic info for a book I'm writing.

Thanks for readying)

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There is only one way to join: by audition. Every year the company has X places in the corps de ballet, some male, some female.


It first holds an audition solely for students of the POB school (the concours interne) at which the candidates are ranked and the top one/two/however many, male separately from female, are offered a contract. Some years all the available permanent contracts are offered at this audition.


The company then holds an open audition (concours externe) for dancers 16-26, who can have trained anywhere. Many of the unsuccessful POB school students also attend this audition. Applicants may be eliminated before the actual audition based on the file they send in application. The audition proper consists of a class, after which some candidates will be eliminated, followed by a classical variation selected from the company's repertoire (they say which one each year). At the end, again, candidates are ranked. If there are permanent contracts available, they are awarded in order of ranking, however it is rare for more than one male and one female dancer to get a permanent contract from this audition. 


Those who are not offered a permanent contract may, in order of audition ranking, be offered a temporary contract as a surnuméraire. These dancers are not guaranteed to dance on stage. They attend company class, learn all the corps roles, and may go on if someone is injured or ill.


Many people try this concours externe more than once.


For example, current étoile Ludmila Pagliero trained in her home country of Argentina, and danced for three years with Santiago Ballet of Chile before, at 20, winning a silver medal at the New York International Ballet Competition and being offered a year's contract at American Ballet Theatre. In the meantime (2003)  she went to Paris for the concours externe, was ranked 5th, and only two permanent contracts were given. Two months later she was offered a three-month temp contract, which was extended, but she wasn't on stage for six months. She finally won a permanent contract at the 2005 concours. 


Current premières danseuses Hannah O'Neill and Sae Eun Park had similar entry patterns: Park was already dancing with ABT II, and O'Neill was in her final year at the Australian Ballet School, both got temp contracts their first year, then Park got a permanent one. O'Neill had two years of temp contracts, then a permanent one. Both had a lot of competition experience, which has helped them in POB's promotion competitions. The POB school doesn't send many students to competitions so some of them struggle with the pressure of the promotion comps (the only way to get promoted).


As far as company rep goes, it's a complete mix. They love their Nureyev rep, they have some really new stuff and some recreated traditional stuff, but many French ballet fans would prefer them to be more classical as that is their tradition. That's a topic for another day.

Edited by Sophoife
Format and altered Park info.
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6 hours ago, alison said:

It's still relatively rare for non-French (or non-POB-trained?) dancers to enter the company, though, isn't it?  Or am I out of date here? 


Not at all out of date, Alison. 95% at least of the company was trained at their school. The not-French thing is a bit less rare though - there's even a small group that does summer tours under the name Les Italiens du Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris, and the étoile Eleonora Abbagnato is also the AD of the ballet company of the Rome Opera. 


I clearly spend far too much time reading French ballet blogs and news. I learned about the concours externe etc. because of Hannah O'Neill.


It is, however, almost unheard-of for a non-French child to enter the school at 11 and go all the way. Most foreign students enter for a year or two after the Prix de Lausanne, for example Bianca Scudamore, who is currently a coryphée with the company.


Yes, Hallberg was there, and yes I seem to remember he was miserable.

Edited by Sophoife
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