Tuesday, 4 June 2013
New Exhibition at the Palais Garnier!
On the occasion of the Tercentenary of the École Française de Danse, the Opéra National de Paris and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France are retracing the history of the Ballet de l’Opéra, from Louis XIV to the present day. Concerned with bringing a noble style to the performing arts and laying the foundations for the dancers to turn professional, the king created the Académie Royale de Danse in 1661. In 1669, the king also granted the poet Pierre Perrin the privilege of founding an Académie d’Opéra, which was acquired by Lully in 1672. Thus the Opéra de Paris and its Ballet were created. At the end of his reign in 1713, Louis XIV decided to found a dance school within the Opéra: it was responsible for ensuring the quality of the performers. Initially reserved for adults, the school then opened to children in 1784 and remained faithful thereafter to its vocation of making the repertoire accessible and being open to creativity.
The history being recounted here is both that of the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris and its school. From Pierre Beauchamp to Brigitte Lefèvre, the first directors of the École de Danse, Maximilien Gardel and Jean Dauberval to Élisabeth Platel, the exhibition explores the major institutional and aesthetic rifts. It also covers the appeal the Opéra’s dancers held for painters such as Edgar Degas, the social aspect of ballet performances, important figures and the evolution of the company’s repertoire: the introduction of ballet d’action and the role of Noverre in the 18th century, the birth and advent of Romantic ballet, the invention of Neoclassicism with Lifar, the part played by Balanchine, Robbins, Petit, Béjart, Cunningham, Carolyn Carlson, Forsythe and Nureyev, and the policy of encouraging creativity and openness towards important international choreographers, from Pina Bausch to Angelin Preljocaj.