Six years in the past Benjamin Millepied shocked many in the ballet world by resigning as director of dance on the august Paris Opera Ballet, simply over a 12 months into the position.
Now, in one other stunning transfer — and with unusually quick discover — Aurélie Dupont, his successor, has additionally resigned. On Thursday, Dupont mentioned in a news release that she could be leaving the 353-year-old firm on July 31. She “wishes to devote herself to personal projects,” the discharge mentioned. Those initiatives included a e-book and documentary movie. She additionally needed to spend extra time together with her household, it mentioned.
“I am leaving this magnificent institution with a feeling of accomplishment,” Dupont mentioned in the discharge. “My greatest pride is having contributed to the emergence of talented artists, dancers and choreographers,” she added.
The Paris Opera will arrange a range committee to decide on her successor, the discharge mentioned.
When Dupont was named the pinnacle of Paris Opera Ballet, in February 2016, she had solely lately retired as an étoile, or star dancer, on the firm. She was meant to deliver stability to the establishment after Millepied had spent a 12 months struggling to modernize it, together with making an attempt to make its ranks extra numerous.
Dupont’s creative imaginative and prescient was very completely different than Millepied’s. She leaned towards commissions from choreographers of latest dance moderately than these targeted on classical method; and he or she didn’t attempt to retain an affiliation with the choreographer William Forsythe that Millepied had initiated.
Yet her time in cost was additionally turbulent. In April 2018, the corporate was plunged into disaster when the outcomes of an nameless questionnaire about dancers’ views on the corporate have been leaked to the French media.
In that 179-page doc, 77 % of dancers who responded to the survey mentioned that they had skilled or witnessed verbal harassment, whereas 26 % mentioned that they had skilled or witnessed sexual harassment. Almost 90 % answered no to the query, “Do you feel you benefit from high quality management?” The doc featured a number of reducing nameless feedback seemingly geared toward Dupont, together with: “The current director seems to have no management competence, and no desire to acquire any.”
There was one other storm in 2019 when the Paris Opera Ballet introduced that Sergei Polunin would carry out as a visitor in “Swan Lake,” regardless of a string of homophobic social media feedback and posts trumpeting his then love of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Within days, Dupont canceled his look.
Some in the French press on Thursday praised her time on the establishment. Ariane Bavelier, writing in Le Figaro, mentioned Dupont was leaving the corporate “with her head high.” The firm “was serene again,” Bavelier added, saying its program struck an honest steadiness between basic and up to date works.
Philippe Noisette, a dance journalist for Paris Match and Les Echos, mentioned in a phone interview that “everybody was surprised” by Dupont’s departure, particularly at such quick discover.
Dupont had success artistically, Noisette mentioned, particularly in nurturing younger stars. Some of the corporate’s loyal viewers blamed her for not selling François Alu, a fan favourite, to étoile. This April there have been shouts of “Aurélie, resign!” after Alu carried out in “La Bayadère,” Noisette mentioned, however Alu achieved the rank in the following efficiency.
Neef, wishing her success in her subsequent transfer, mentioned in the information launch that Dupont would at all times be “one of the most eminent figures of the Paris Opera” and that he would help in the seek for her successor.
Roslyn Sulcas contributed reporting