I can’t remember the last time I went on this stage…. at least a year and a half ago. After the confinements, the renovation work, the strike…….. the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet regained the mythical stage of the Palais Garnier yesterday afternoon, for a rehearsal of the traditional “Défilé“.
This will be, however, an unusual Défilé……. Firstly, because this parade will gather the entire company of 154 dancers on the same stage, we are asked to do a Covid test before, and everyone will have a mask during the entire Défilé. Secondly, instead of walking down from the “Foyer de la Danse” (a small but beautiful studio behind the stage), the Corps de Ballet will be entering the stage from the wings, while the students of the Paris Opera Ballet School and the Étoiles (principal dancers) will walk down from the Foyer de la Danse as usual. This is to avoid as many as 260 people, dancers + students, being packed in the Foyer before the défilé begins, and thus adds another level of precaution.
As the numbers are still high and unstable in France, with new cases of the UK and African variants, very unfortunately the theatres and cinemas here are very unlikely to reopen before…… March. As a consequence, this Défilé will be filmed and the entire gala of the “opening of the season” will be available on Paris Opera’s official digital platform: https://chezsoi.operadeparis.fr
The program of this filmed performance will be as follow:
– Défilé du Ballet (Music: Hector Berlioz)
– Grand Pas Classique (Chor.: Victor Gsovsky, Music: Daniel-François E. Auber, Costumes: Chanel)
– In the Night (Chor.: Jerome Robbins, Music: Frédéric Chopin)
– Vertiginous of the Exactitude (Chor.: William Forsythe, Music: Franz Schubert)
As for me, I will only be doing the Défilé, and am understudy of Forsythe’s Vertiginous. It is disappointing that I probably will miss the chance to perform this incredible ballet properly on stage, but having learned it and worked on it with the wonderful ballet master Noah D. Gelber is already a blessing!