16:00 – (in the studio Petipa) Just finished the rehearsal with Pontus Lidberg, a Swedish choreographer who is creating a new piece for us. The “research” and the working process is fun and much enriching. But hey, don’t overtire yourself, remember that you’ve a performance tonight. Do a little bit of stretching now.
16:15 – (back in the changing room) You should start to get prepared at 17:30, so you have a little bit more than an hour now, lie down and have a nap.
16:43 – (lying down in the changing room) “Mais non! C’est pas ça! Regarde, attends ‘ttends, regarde moi ça,” “Hahahahha! Wa le bâtard!”, “Hé oh! Vous vous calmez maintenant! Il y a des gens qui dorment”
17:20 – (changing room) On my phone reads “17:21” Okay, time to get out from your nap. Get down now. Oh I feel the nerves coming, What if I don’t succeed the difficult lift in the Red Ball? Will I be doing my spot or will I replace in the Golden Ball like the last time? I should really try things out in the Foyer before the show….. and what if I have a new partner? And what if it’s……. Chun, stop thinking go down and eat!
17:25 – (Canteen Garnier) I am not really hungry, and the food in the evening really looks and tastes like leftovers. But you have to eat otherwise when could you have dinner?
17:53 – (Plateau, make-up) The make-up artists are always smiling and kind. They really soothe my nerves. Oh, don’t forget to sign that paper later!
18:12 – (1er entresol, hairdresser) “I am sorry, my hair is a bit too long now….. must be difficult for you haha!”, “No! If you want to look like a bourgeois of the 18th century, it is perfect like this!”, “Well, maybe I’d like to have some volume in the front, but anyway I will wear a hat later in the Red Ball and hopefully it will not ruin it haha!”
18:24 – (2e Etage) Now you sign for your presence, done. Oh, okay, so you’re replacing in the Golden Ball tonight, dancing with her.
18:50 – (Changing room) Show in 40 minutes, certain dancers are already in full dress and all ready, don’t be ready too soon Chun, you’ll only have more time to get nervous before the show! Do a bit of foam rolling now.
19:15 – (Changing room) time to get dressed, I have just enough time to.
19:35 – (on stage) The ballet starts with a mime scene. Maybe try to place your hands earlier tonight for the difficult lift in Red Ball. It should be helpful. Also, you should follow your partner’s rythme……. Hey Chun! You’re on stage! Stop thinking about the Red Ball!!!!!!
20:03 – (Quick change room) Red Ball went well!!! Yeah! Much relieved. Half of the performance done for you! Can’t wait to get back home and enjoy my pasta with cheese. What should you do now? Golden Ball is in 2 hours in Act 3….. Maybe you should go to the gym.
20:31 – (Classe D, in front of the piano) I couldn’t resist when I saw a piano while going to the gym. After a bit of cardio and core exercises, I went to the piano. Piano playing consoles my soul, I need it to calm my nerves. The music keeps coming out from my fingers, my mind thinking of Golden Ball.
21:33 – (Classe D) “Mesdames et messieurs, l’acte 3 a commencé” Act 3 started, you should go down.
21:47 – (Foyer de la Danse) “Chun, do you know with whom you will dance on Monday?”, “I have no idea, why?”, “because the company told me to look at your partner’s spot, your partner is injured”, “What? Then who’s my partner tonight?” Panic.
22:00 – (on stage) “Sh**! I lost my necklace!”, “Don’t worry, it will be just fine” This time Chun was the one who is calm.
23:15 – (Avenue Mozart, walking home) Another performance done. Pasta and cheese, and my favorite reading time before sleep!
Today is Chun’s day-off. He took the time to rest and to let his body recover, to prepare himself for tomorrow’s rehearsals and performance.
He was also invited to a soirée parisienne in the evening, which made him a little nervous at first, because he didn’t know anyone there.
Arriving at the venue, he tried to walk around, and recognize nobody that he would know. Too reserved to start talking to the other guests, he took a cocktail and started observing the event from the corner of the beautiful Rotonde.
There was a little mentalist/magic show in the middle of the event, which was great. Chun wondered whether there are dancers who would perform in a reception like this.
Eventually, he started talking to others. Even though he was very curious to meet other people, Chun preferred sticking to a small number of people with whom he would have quality conversations.
There was a man who fell down on the floor, I guess from feeling ill and tired, or maybe too much alcohol? And a staff who dropped and broke a glass while serving us, it must be embarrassing for him in such a chic palace.
Meeting different people, witnessing all these, listening to others’ stories is so enriching. In life, the lived experiences will always stay with and within us, no one could ever take them from us. Let’s don’t be afraid and go find the experiences.
This Première of La Dame aux Camélias is over. My replacement in the Bal Doré went quite well, even though it was not perfect, but I am satisfied, so is my new partner I guess.
This ballet is full of partnering, and changing partner requires some practice. The beautiful long dresses and my gloves also make it even more difficult.
Tomorrow, we will start rehearsing in the afternoon for a new contemporary ballet by P. Lidberg, then another La Dame performance in the evening. I still do not know whether I will do my usual spot in the Golden Ball or will I replace like I did tonight…
It is now 23:00, my body is tired and I am starving, I can’t want to get home and eat.
I took this photo while walking out from the backstage door of the Palais Garnier, heading towards the metro station Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette, and passing through the beautiful light decorations.
I am now in the quick change area at the backstage, just finished the Red Ball (the most difficult part for me in the ballet), waiting to do the Golden Ball in Act 3. There’s one difficult step in the Red Ball. Every time I get nervous about this step. Even though I worked on it for more than 3 months, I never feel perfectly confident with it.
Tonight was the first show, I was a little more nervous than usual, because no matter how well I used to do in the rehearsals during the past few months, the shows are what really matter. Much to my relieve, it went quite well.
Whenever there’s a difficult step like this, I tend to think about that day and night, worrying that I may not perfectly succeed. This makes the performances less enjoyable for me. There are 19 more performances to go. I should learn to be confident and to enjoy every moment on stage, with the live Chopin music, my all time favorite.
Yesterday, Chun was invited to an afternoon party in the 16th arr. of Paris. He met and talked to some other artists: a few musicians and a painter. That painter told him,
“In today’s fast-paced world, we artists are pushed to produce more and more artworks to attain the sales goals. Professional artists make a living with their art form. But this is wrong! This is not art! Since when do we artists have to work when we don’t necessarily have the inspiration?
I am one of the few painters who are very lucky to have this freedom, to only paint when I feel inspired, when I feel the desire to paint and to express myself through paintings. This is when we can truly and profoundly love what we do! And when we enjoy the process of creation, we produce extraordinary things. For me this is the secret and the essence of Art. It is Freedom. For me it is the exquisite joy to feel completely free to put whatever I want on a big blank canvas, regardless of what others’ tastes, for how much I will be able to sell this painting, the deadlines……..”
Chun was greatly inspired by these words, he couldn’t agree more. He started wondering what it would be like to dance only when the mind and the body want to.
While heading home after the gathering, the skies of Paris were full of black smoke. He saw the splendid monument of Arc de Triomphe being damaged by the gilets jaunes.