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is something which we can safely say (although Among the lovers it was Alessio Carbone (the Les Grands

Ballets Canadiens de
many say and write this mostly so as to give public’s darling on account of his lively inter-
themselves an air of expertise, and not because pretation) and Laëtitia Pujol who shone.
they are actually aware of it). But this is not Theseus, Duke of Athens, had the command-
something we cannot wholly pretend from an ing authoritativeness of Florian Magnenet, along-
excellent troupe of dancers trained in a technique/ side Alice Renavand as the assured Hippolyta. The maiden who resists
musicality of French-Italian-Russian derivation
and to whom, therefore, the new Balanchine clas-
In the final act the central role was danced by
Karl Paquette with his usual brilliance and en-
sical style – with its speed, attacks, accents – ergy. La Jeune Fille et la Mort – chor. and scenery
is naturally foreign; they can learn it, and learn The scenery and costumes of French fash- Stephan Thoss, mus. Philip Glass, Rachel
it well for that matter, but in the same way as ion designer Christian Lacroix, inspired (so he Portman, Franz Schubert and other
one learns a foreign language. says) by Karinska’s originals, were supposed Paris, Théâtre de Chaillot
On the evening I attended, the beautiful and to be one of the attractions of the Opéra’s new
capricious Titania was danced by Eleonora production of Dream. The result was pleas- The repertoire of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens
Abbagnato (who continues to fill her role as ing to the eye, colourful and creative; but the de Montréal has grown considerably under the
étoile at the Opéra despite also being the di- point is that this baroqueness – which here and leadership of Gradimir Pankov who has been its
rector of the Rome Opera Ballet). Her Oberon there verges on the gauche, as in the ungainly artistic director since 1999 (and will be succeeded
was the young Paul Marque whilst in the more men’s skirts – is in no way a revamp or mod- by Ivan Cavallari as from the next season). Along-
significant pas de deux she was partnered by ernisation but, on the contrary, a step back- side works by more famous choreographers such
Stéphane Bullion who has for several years been wards vis-à-vis Balanchine’s aesthetics. as Mats Ek, Jirí Kylián, Ohad Naharin, in time
one of the best male étoiles of the Opéra, es- Alfio Agostini other works by younger creators came to be added:
pecially when it comes to stage presence. Christian Spuck, Stijn Celis, Didy Veldman or

45th Prix de Lausanne: the return of the
The Europeans returned in all their glory at this recent edition of the Prix de Lausanne
(the famous competition for young dancers held in Lausanne, Switzerland, Editor’s
note): Italians, Spaniards, French, Germans, Portuguese, Norwegians, Poles, Romani-
ans and Serbs too… But the path to victory was a long one. Only three Italians, one
Pole and one Romanian made it into the last round and in the end the winners were
Michele Esposito and Diana Georgia Ionescu, both students at the Tanzakademie in
Zurich, and Stanislaw Wegrzyn who is about to graduate in Munich. Michele Esposito,
17 and a half years old, actually received three awards: a scholarship, the Contempo-
rary Dance Prize for his solo and (having trained in Switzerland) the Best Swiss Can-
didate Prize too. Out of all the twenty finalists, he was the most impressive.
Michele Esposito was outstanding both as Solor, in the fiery and airborne variation
from La Bayadère, and in his solemn and profound interpretation of Neumeier’s Nijinsky. His Romanian companion from the Tanzakademie,
17-year-old Diana Georgia Ionescu, tackled the difficult variation from Paquita with ease and also demonstrated her intense musicality in a
Chopin Nocturne choreographed by John Neumeier. 17-year-old Brazilian Marina Fernandes da Costa Duarte took the “Audience Favour-
ite” Prize. It was well-deserved. Her Kitri (Don Quixote) was a treat: she has sparkle, technique, poise and expressiveness. And by contrast,
she also danced to perfection Prelude by John Neumeier (who choreographed all of this year’s contemporary solos).
The winners also included a Korean and two Japanese dancers. Lim Suni was impressive in Wrong Note Rag by Neumeier, a sort of parody
of musicals in which he pulled out all the stops. Nakao Taisuke and Koyo Yamamoto, were also extraordinary in their contemporary solos.
15-year-old American Lauren Hunter, returned home with a more-than-justified scholarship thanks to her variation from Corsaire in which
she demonstrated confidence and poise. 16-year-old Brazilian Denilson Almeida took the The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Artistic Award.
18-year-old Stanislaw Wegrzyn’s romantic physiognomy was well-suited to his interpretation of Prince Albrecht (Giselle): he was vibrant
with an elegant and noble bearing.
According to general opinion this 45th edition
of the Prix de Lausanne was of an excellent
standard. The initial videos submitted by the
participants and the lessons and coaching ses-
sions give a measure of the unique experience
the competition week in Lausanne means to
these young dancers from all over the world.
The Théâtre de Beaulieu was sold out for the
finals which were also watched over the Internet
on the social networks. They can be viewed
on the Prix website
Jean Pierre Pastori

Diana Georgia Ionescu (ph. G. Batardon),
Marina Fernandes da Costa Duarte
(ph. R. Buas), Michele Esposito
(ph. G. Batardon)