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Paris Conservatory.

Almost ten years ago, The French government unveiled a plan to replace the aging Conservatory building on the Rue de Madrid with a new jewel in its diadem of arts buildings. The result is the Conservatoire de Paris, a complex at the Porte de la Villette. In addition to several theaters in the former marketplace building (Les Halles), the complex houses a "cite de la musique" containing a music museum, shops, a place for recitals and lectures, a "mediatheque" (the newest form of library), an audiovisual center, and an extraordinary training facility for music and dance.

Not only has the government built an eye-catching and spacious facility, it has committed the funding to ensure that training is free to dancers and musicians who pass the rigorous entrance standards of the Conservatory. Housing is provided on the premises for non-Parisian students, and dancewear is provided for dancers. Talented students are trained regardless of background--an egalitarian idea that sounds like a quote from the American Constitution, yet the United States still has no such facility. One percent of France's total budget is dedicated to support of the arts and culture.

Entrance to the Conservatory (open to all, including foreign students) is through a two-stage examination: a class in classical or contemporary dance and the performance of a classical variation on pointe, or a short dance and extended sequence, as well as an improvisation for contemporary dance candidates. All are interviewed by a jury of outside experts.

The second stage of the entrance examination requires applicants still in the running to attend an intensive weeklong workshop. Twelve girls and twelve boys are accepted into the classical program annually; twenty-four students enter the contemporary program, with one hundred forty students in the entire program.

These scholarship recipients, thirteen to eighteen years old, then attend the Conservatory for a half day of classical or contemporary dance training, and half in special high schools for academic courses. Twenty-four weekly hours of technique classes are enriched by study of repertory, historical and character dance, adagio, variations, improvisation, composition, jazz, music, dance history, and anatomy.

Two innovative postgraduate programs are offered to outstanding students who have finished the four-year cycle--a fifth year of perfectionnement, which concentrates on the transition from student to professional with special fellowships for broadened study in dance, art history, video, kinesiology, stage technique and/or theater. These students give special performances and serve as apprentices to professional companies.

The second postgraduate program, open to candidates over twenty-one years old who have danced professionally for a minimum of two years, concentrates on movement analysis and notation. Its two-year objective aims to foster a better understanding and analysis of the mechanics of movement and its rapport with music and to train notators and reconstructors. A third perfectionnement year offers emphasis on independent projects.

The faculty consists of former dancers of the Paris Opera and Bejart Ballets. Of the four contemporary teachers, three are Americans. Official ballet mistress is Martine Clary; Jacqueline Challet-Haas, the notation specialist; and Odile Rouquet, the kinesiology teacher, who also teaches injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Although students perform in open classes and informal showings, fourth-year students give fully presented repertory programs--one in contemporary and one in classical dance. This year, current contemporary repertory works are by Dominique Bagouet, Jennifer Muller, and Donald Byrd. Classical repertory consists of standard works, Antony Tudor's Continuo, and a new work by Felix Blaska.

FOOTNOTES

* The College of the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD's new artistic director is Lynn Wallis) announces the United Kingdom's first B.A. degree for teachers of ballet. The University of Durham, a leader in teacher education, has endorsed the quality, organization, and assessment procedures for the undergraduate degree program which began last September. Twenty applicants, chosen by audition, are following a program of performance, choreographic and teaching skills, with dance history, music, and notation added. Contact: Susan Danby, College of the Royal Academy of Dancing, 36 Battersea Square, London SW11 3RA, UK

* Workshop courses of a different kind are offered by Movement Research all year. May, June, and July classes include Logomotion, Introduction to the Psoas, Low-to-the-Ground Technique, Quantum Dancing, Improvising on the Edge, and several other innovative courses. Contact: Movement Research, P.O. Box 794, Village Station, New York, NY 10014; (212) 477-6635.

* In a recent case before Manhattan Federal District Count Judge Richard Owen, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) lost a major decision relating to the rights of an original composer. ASCAP represented subsequent users who modified the original song in what the law calls "a derivative work." This case does not relate to the ongoing dispute between ASCAP and dance teachers regarding license fees for clasroom use of copyrighted music that ASCAP tries to force upon teachers who use recorded music in their studios. According to Robert D. Stern, president of Dance Magazine: "The case does indicate, however, that ASCAP is far from invincible."
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Title Annotation:Paris, France arts center that offers facilities for dance
Author:Topaz, Muriel
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Apr 1, 1994
Words:818
Previous Article:Val Caniparoli: extending his reach.
Next Article:Group Motion Dance Company, Group Motion Theatre, Philadelphia, December 9-12, 1993.
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