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Gala in Calais, France

The Paris Opera Ballet is now on vacation. As usual, after December’s intense period of performances, we would have a short break. This time was an exception though, because since 5th December, we have not be performing. I decided to prepare for a gala performance in Calais, France during this empty period.

Calais is a small city at the North of France, just at the opposite side of the sea to England. People say that we could see England from Calais, but we didn’t have much time to walk around so I didn’t get to try and see. The Grand Theatre of Calais is a small but cute Italian theatre. The audience hall is nicely preserved. We could feel the old wooden floor under the marley (the black covering on top of the wooden stage floor to prevent performers from slipping), which was irregular and sometimes difficult to dance on.

The two performances on 8th and 9th went very well, and after more than a month of strike, I was particularly happy to be on stage again. While the first night was open to the public, the second day was supposed to be reserved for the children. However, due to the national strike on 9th January, only a small number of children could come and attend the show.

This was quite a unique experience. I had never danced for such a small-sized audience in a theatre before. The atmosphere was very different, I would say, more stressful, because one has to try to put more effort into captivating the audience’s attention. And most of the spectators were kids, who were surprisingly quiet and disciplined during the show. Nevertheless, they would react and talk much more than their usual adult counterparts, it was really fun.

Today, 12th January, is the last day of POB’s vacation. We will go back to our rehearsal routine tomorrow at Opera Garnier. For me, I will start rehearsing in Balanchine’s Sérénade, for the moment understudying the role of the 4 dancers. Then, perhaps more performing opportunities, to be confirmed.

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