Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wading Back In

I'm green with envy after reading about Mia's tirp to France...

I had my own summer adventure in Paris several years ago, and hearing about Mia's experiences is bringing back a lot of wonderful memories. I went with a fellow ballet dancer friend, and through another dancer friend of ours (who is French) we enjoyed some neat plug-ins with the Paris Opera Ballet community. We saw the company perform (Serenade and Pina Bausch's Rite of Spring, danced on a stage covered with dirt-- real dirt, like from outside) and stayed a few nights at the apartment of one of the company dancers, who was able to get permission for us to take company class one morning. I was petrified and almost didn't want to go---- little old ME in class with the Paris Opera Ballet???--- but my friend was wiser than to let insecurity override the chance of a lifetime. We went (and this was also after at least a couple of weeks of no class, travelling around, totally out of shape), our magnificent hostess (who was a sujet with the company) gave us the insider's tour of the Palais Garnier backstage, and I will never forget it. Class was hard, hard, hard, but the dancers were wonderfully nice and so was the person who taught (I have no idea who he was). Since the company is so large there are two or three different classes given each morning to accomodate all the dancers, so there were only about 30 in the studio where we took, each stunningly gorgeous in their lines and technique. Afterwards we were shown around the building, which is just a maze of corridors, studios, offices, dressing rooms, all surrounding the stage itself. There must be dozens of studios, all different shapes and sizes, tucked away in various corners of that building. One that we saw was practically on the roof-- it was circular, with a domed ceiling, and the windows looked out over the rooftops of Paris. And I loved our guide's dressing room, which she shared with another sujet dancer--- since they train, rehearse and perform in that building pretty much year round, their dressing rooms become like second homes to them. Hers had a bathtub in the bathroom, a couple of couches, more of a Paris rooftop view, and was as cozy as a living room. I wouldn't want to leave it to go to rehearsal!

Anyway.... as Mia said, back to reality. Here in Portland, the company dancers are slowly trickling back from their various travels and adventures, and the apprentices and professional division students are officially back to work for this year's choreograhic workshop. Guest choreographer David Justin arrived today to look at the dancers and start trying out some of his ideas before working in full view of the public next week in the South Park Blocks. Class will be every day at 11:30, followed by rehearsals all afternoon, Monday through Saturday, so stop by and give us a wave.

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