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Paris Opera Ballet.

Paris Opera Ballet's season was shifted this year from the Palais Garnier to the Bastille Opera House while the older structure undergoes renovations.

The opening program began with the Grand Defile ("Procession") of the entire ballet--the company's 162 dancers and 108 students from its school--usually given only on gala evenings or for the opening of the season. First the women, then the men, enter from the back of the stage and slowly advance toward the audience according to rank. When all the levels of the corps de ballet are onstage, the 6toiles enter in the order in which they were nominated.

When the Defile is performed at the Garnier the back of the stage is opened onto the famous Foyer de la Danse, with its impressive Napoleonic decor made famous by the paintings of Degas. For the modern architecture of the Bastille Opera, a new decor was created, the dancers entering upstage from a semicircular ramp with beams and columns resembling the older opera house.

The program continued with Balanchine's Palais de Cristal, created in 1947 for the company and later adapted for New York City Ballet under the title Symphony in C. The allstar cast, which included Elizabeth Maurin and Kader Belarbi in the first movement, Monique Loudibres and Charles Jude in the second, Fanny Gaida and Manuel Legris in the third, and Carole Arbo and Nicolas Le Riche in the fourth, was especially impressive on the large Bastille stage. Loudieres and Jude brought a rare sensibility and musicality to the second movement.

Balanchine's Four Temperaments followed, and finally Jerome Robbins's Glass Pieces. In this opening then, the Defile was the only really French work, perhaps signifying the company's growing international repertoire. On the other hand, the dancing retains its refined French style and has a technical level that would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.
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Title Annotation:Opera Bastille, Paris, France
Author:Merrill, Bruce
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Feb 1, 1995
Words:306
Previous Article:Coppelia.
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