Budding Stars of the Paris Opera Ballet (DVD / Digital Download)

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Budding Stars of the Paris Opera Ballet DVD
Product details
  • DVD
    Product Type:
  • 1
  • Genre:
  • 6 x 26 mins
    Running Time:
  • 16:9 Widescreen
    Aspect Ratio:
  • All
  • PAL
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • 5th June 2013
    Release Date:
  • Rating:
  • Digital Download
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The Paris Opera Ballet School, established 300 years ago, is a legendary place, with an international reputation. It is the most famous dance school in the world, where the greatest “étoiles” or principal dancers are trained. In September 2011 it was home to 130 students, aged from 8 to 18, all driven by the same desire – to dance one day at the Paris Opera.

Our camera was allowed to accompany them for a whole school year and this six-part series chronicles their busy training schedule and their day to day experiences. There is no assurance that all the students will return the following year to dance alongside the stars they dream of. As well as adjusting to living away from their families, to remain in the school they must also learn to deal with criticism, adhere to strict requirements and discipline, and learn personal responsibility.

Episode 1 - Back to School
A new year starts at the Paris Opera Ballet School. 130 students aged from 8 to 18. For some it’s their first day. For others it’s the pleasure of returning to a familiar world. Some come from far away: Italy, Finland, China... The students’ day begins at 8am when, in a specially dedicated building, they start their primary and secondary school lessons. In the afternoon they study ballet. No sooner has the school’s director and principal dancer Elisabeth Platel given her welcome speech, the students excitedly begin preparations for the start of year parade: every year since 1949 the corps de ballet and dance school parade together on the stage of the Salle Garnier to a military march by Berlioz. As they take their first steps on stage, the young ones have their first taste of paradise.

Episode 2 - To Work!
Having participated in the opening parade of the Paris Opera Ballet’s corps de ballet, the students had a feeling of belonging to a great institution. However, there is no assurance that they will return next year and dance alongside the stars they dream of. To remain in the school, they’ll need to accept criticism and adhere to strict requirements and timetables. For 300 years, the masters have passed on to their students the warm-up techniques, the exercises and the knowledge that has been handed down from generation to generation, from stars to budding stars, not to mention the discipline and all the physical details of technique that characterises, in the eyes of the whole world, the Paris Opera Ballet style.

Episode 3 - Progress
It’s autumn, and preparations are underway at the Paris Opera Dance School for a major event. In December, each division will perform, in public, on the Salle Garnier stage, a sample of its year’s work so far. These annual ballet school performances are highly prized events and the stakes are high: amateur and professional eyes will scrutinise in detail the progress and technique of the students. Among so many classes and lessons, this episode is devoted to some of the less familiar: for the older students, the first lessons in adage, requiring mastery of the pas de deux, and for the younger ones, classes in musical expression where they learn the importance of their first steps on stage, and try out exercises that will develop their creativity.

Episode 4 - A World Apart
The boys and girls of the school are provided with a rich and varied course ranging from folkloric to character dance as well as the study of choreography, and are nurtured through their adolescence in a warm and protective environment. Yet the path of star dancers is a narrow one: they must remain physically suited to their art form, and excel in dance as well as prepare for their baccalauréat, all of which leaves little room for the dreams and upheavals of adolescence. At times the students feel they live in a bubble, protected but occasionally shut in, experienced and yet removed from reality. Once a year, this bubble is burst by students from other schools, in the Démonstrations Jeune Public, which showcases the combined talents of different artistic schools, so that the worlds of these budding artists can come into contact.

Episode 5 - On Stage
Spring has arrived, and it’s time for the students to shine like professionals. The younger ones will perform alongside the stars in one of the season’s ballets, La Bayadère, at the Bastille Opera. The older ones will share roles in three ballets presented for the highly anticipated Opera Ballet School Show, which takes place each year at the Salle Garner: le Bal des Cadets: a lively work showcasing the students’ technical and acting skills; Symphony in three movements, choreographed by Nils Christe who was commissioned  by the school to produce this world premiere ballet; Variations, with music by Brahms, and choreographed by Violette Verdy, former dance director of the Paris Opera Ballet and star dancer of Balanchine. For these performances, the bar is raised high: the students will have to inhabit their roles and characters, in costume, in renowned choreography, and become artistes.

Episode 6 - Testing Times
At the Paris Opera Dance School, May is when exams take place, and students must pass before progressing to the next level. For final year students, it’s a question of passing the exam for entry into the corps de ballet. Candidates younger than 18 have the opportunity to remain at the school for another year, but for those who have turned 18, the exam is crucial. This year, the Paris Opera will only take on four dancers! As well as these exams and the baccalauréat, the older students must also, like every year, assist the young ones in the preparation of the end of year show. With the exam results posted, the students will find out if they will continue to study at the school next year, or if their lives will change forever…

Language: French
Subtitles: English
Barcode: 9322225192904

Product Reviews (1)

04 Apr 2016 21:02 AEST
neil Hunt
from: Wattle Glen

Truly marvellous incite into how great ballet stars are produced wonderfully entertaining

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