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 Post subject: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 7:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Wisconsin
I don't remember if this has been covered before...if it has been, please close the thread and redirect me.<P>I am not greatly familiar with the differences between the different syllabi (Italian, Russian, Balanchine, etc.) but I know enough to get me by. The one syllabus which I know virtually nothing about is the French syllabus (I've heard it described as the Paris Opera syllabus, but I'm not sure how accurate that is).<P>Can someone please outline the basic differences and unique qualities of the French syllabus?


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 7:44 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I am not personally familiar with the details of the French school. However, they do have a system of arabesques, port de bras, and body positions.<P>If you have the Gail Grant "Technical Manual and Dictionary of the Classical Ballet" you can see them at the back of the book.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 10:49 am 
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Bree- there was a site online that gave a description - as much as possible - of the different styles. But that site is "down"...<P>I was at the library this morning - I volunteer there two mornings a week - and I looked for a book while there and could find nothing.<P>I can pass along to you what was told to me by one of my teachers - but I can't vouch for its accuracy. She said that generally speaking the arms were very soft, the style was closer to that of the mid 1800's. She told me this many years ago, and it might not be true of the French schooled dancers of today.<P>As you know, however, dancers are beginning to join companies from all over the world no matter where they studied. It is becoming much more homogeneous as one finds dancers from all over the world in the same company.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 4:52 pm 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
I really hope that there is someone out there who has more authoritative information on the French school. What little I know is based on a visit that the Paris Opera Ballet made to NY many years ago. They brought a bunch of their kids along, and did some lecture-demonstrations, which I had the privilege of seeing.<P>The kids were gorgeous. There was some sense of them being steeped in history, but they were strong as could be, had elegant line, beautiful port de bras, and looked thoroughly "modern."


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2001 5:58 pm 
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Nancy - what a wonderful experience. <P>Was there anything that you could pinpoint as being "different" in style?<P>The dancers in the company certainly look modern - in the sense of strength and lines. I just saw the company very recently do La Bayadere - so of course the ballet itself was not modern - but the dancers certainly could have fit into any major company anywhere. I just loved them. Was the best corps de ballet I have ever seen do the Kingdom of the Shades act. There is a review posted in "Reviews" if anyone is interested.<P>For those of you who may not have the Gail Grant book - it shows two arabesques, eleven body positions, and six positions of the arms.<P>Let's hope someone more knowledgeable that I am comes along with some more information.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 12, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 5:04 am 
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This might be way out there...<P>Is the dancing in Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" any indication of the French style? I have seen the show three times and each time have noted with interest the style of the dancing. <P>For example, the port de bras for the simple rond de jamb combinations are very different, more of a circular cambre (without the bend from the waist) than what I am used to seeing and doing. Also, I noticed rounded shoulders, almost a hunched quality, with the shoulders rounded forward and the arms carried (usually crossed a la Giselle or extended) in front of the body. There was more emphasis on the legs than on the carriage of the body, but it all combined for a harmonious line.<P>Maybe I'm all washed up (probably am).


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 9:11 am 
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Bree - my friend, LOL, you are certainly NOT washed up!!<P>This is hard to believe - but - but - I have never seen Phantom of the Opera - so I can't comment at all on the dancing style.<P>I can say that the dancers I saw at the POB performance several weeks ago, were certainly NOT hunched up at all. Not one bit. They were totally beautiful ballet dancers in every sense of the word. First rate by any standard, in my opinion.<P>The teacher who told me that the French school has softer arms was a very old lady and she told me this many, many years ago, so her impression could be faulty or old news. <P>Have you seen any tapes of POB dancing? I just recently bought a tape of the company doing Romeo and Juliet. See if you can get a hold of the tape - buy it - or perhaps your library has it for borrowing. Then I think you will see and can compare to what you are seeing in the style of the Phantom of the Opera dancers.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 9:16 am 
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well phantom of the opera was choreographed by gillian lynne, who is english. she was mostly a jazz dancer. she also choreographed the opera 'faust' at the metropolitan opera in the early 90s. she also choreographed 'cats', as well as 'aspects of love'. her work isn't really connected to a particular classical syllabus.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 10:48 am 
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Gillian Lynne, if I'm not mistaken, also choregraphed CATS.<BR>She is now in her seventies and still going strong.<BR>In her bio it says she started with Madeleine Sharp, a renowned RAD teacher (I remember her) and with Olive Ripman, co-founder of the Cone-Ripman school, which later became the Arts Educational School.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 10:49 am 
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OOPS, misread previous message...sorry!


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 10:52 am 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've not seen Phantom, either, so I can't comment on the style.<P>I fell in love with the Paris Opera Ballet when I first saw them in NY. The next time they were coming, they announced these lecture dems with kids from the Opera Ballet School, and I had to go to see what kind of training produced such fabulous dancers.<P>Unfortunately, Basheva, it was a very long time ago. I don't know if I can pinpoint the style. What I remember was a lot of fast footwork, a la NYCB, but with a softer, more expressive upper body and port de bras. Soft, but not soupy. They were very strong, elegant and refined. I wish I could remember more.<P>We were treated to exercises and enchainements from various levels of their training. Also we got to observe bits of material from their modern dance, character dance and acting classes. These kids were "la creme" to begin with, and they were being given what appeared to be a comprehensive dance education.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 11:20 am 
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Location: Washington St.
I checked out a book from the library lately called _The Book of Ballet_, written by Genevieve Guillot (Director of the Paris Opera School of Dance)and Germaine Prudhommeau (professor of dance history and ballet studies at the Paris Opera). It was written in 1976. It talks in comprehensive detail about all the various parts of ballet technique, and even gives detailed lessons for both a beginning boy and girl, and for advanced boys and girls. It seems like a good way to see some of the characteristics of the French style. <p>[This message has been edited by katheryn (edited June 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 12:02 pm 
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Wow - thank you Katheryn!! I just checked into the San Diego Library catalog - it's online, and they have that book. I am going to order it immediately. Thank you very much.


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 12:25 pm 
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I remembered that Gillian Lynne had been mentioned here, and my mother just sent me a newspaper cutting about her, which might be of interest to some (It's a bit long, so I'll limit myself to the gist of the article):<P>Gillian Lynne was an only child, and her mother was killed in a car crash when Gillian was twelve, along with three other women. She was brought up by her father from then on. He remarried 7 years later.<P>At 74, she is a multi-millionairess, having opted for payment for her CATS choreography in the form of a share of all future revenue from performances. She owns homes in England, New York, the south of France, and in Knightsbridge (expensive part of London).<P>In her 20's she was filming in Hollywood and having an affair with Errol Flynn:"It was easier to have sex with him than not."<P>At 22 she was lead soloist with Sadler's Wells Ballet.<P>Her first marriage to a barrister, when she was quite young, lasted five years.<P>She met her second husband when she was 52 and he was 25. She was staging My Fair Lady and he was playing Freddie Eynsford-Hill.<P>They married in 1980, and were very happy for 17 years.<P>He announced that he was leaving her four years ago. Reading betwen the lines it seems he felt like he was always playing second fiddle, and, while proud of her achievements, was frustrated that he wasn't getting anywhere much under his own steam. There was no other party involved in the break-up.<P>He began a new life in the US, setting up a recording studio in Los Angeles. <P>They are still very much in touch, sending anniversary presents, speaking twice a day and holidaying together: neither has met anyone else.<P>They have no plans to divorce, and it is not unlikely that they will eventually get back together again.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: French Syllabus?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 12:37 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
This sounds like a soap opera....<P><BR>"and the next episode....will she or won't she? tune in tomorrow and find out...meanwhile, buy our "Expunge It" soap...just add water and watch it all wash away".<P>sorry couldn't resist.


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