Paris: the must-see ballets this season

Paris is a city of many wonders and its inspiring artistic tradition is a big reason for its magic. A visit to Paris would not be complete without going to see a show at one of the wonderful stages the city has to offer, the most famed being that of the Palais Garnier, a majestic building and source of inspiration for The Phantom of the Opera. We are approaching the end of  ballet’s summer-spring season, but Opéra de Paris still has plenty of contemporary dance and classical ballets to suit your tastes:

À Bras-le-Corps – Dimitri Chamblas, Boris Charmatz

Palais Garnier, March 16 – May 2

Dimitri Chamblas and Boris Charmatz became friends during their studies at the Paris Opera Ballet School. They co-authored À Bras-le-Corps in 1993. Their work has been described as ground-breaking for French dance. With music by Niccolò Paganini, the ballet was first shown in a type of boxing-ring and is still performed by the two choreographers, who have let the ballet evolve with them.

Get tickets here.

Merce Cunningham / William Forsythe

Palais Garnier, April 14 – May 13

You will also have the chance to see a French take on the American style through three works: one choreographed by Merce Cunningham and two by William Forsythe, united as one representation lasting just under two hours. Merce Cunningham’s Walkaround Time (1968) is a modern ballet, set to David Behrman’s music. In Paris, the sets are inspired by the works of surrealist Marcel Duchamps. On his side, William Forsythe explores the limit of classical ballet with his two offerings created in the 1990s, while Trio contains Beethoven’s composition.

Get tickets here.

lpbps0wlo92kl3qmkx8u
Rehearsals for the varied performance (credit: Ann Ray / OnP)

Robbins / Balanchine/ Cherkaoui, Jalet

Palais Garnier, May 2 – May 27

These are three symphonic ballets set to the music of Maurice Ravel: inspired by  different music styles, namely valse, jazz and boléro. Le Boléro – the third ballet performed for this consecrated show, is considered one of his most famous works, which he composed on a recommendation from his friend Ida Rubinstein and then dedicated to her. An interesting fact about this piece is that Ravel was rather dissatisfied with the international success the ballet received and felt that the piece was « empty of music ».

Get tickets here.

La Sylphide – Pierre Lacotte

Palais Garnier, June 1 – June 16

La Sylphide was created in 1832 by Filippo Taglioni at the Opéra de Paris, with music by Jean Scheitzhoeffer. Filippo Taglioni created this ballet especially for his daughter, Marie Taglioni, who danced in the first representation of it with what some say was the first tutu! He took into account his daughter’s peculiar body with her long legs and arms, large hands and ill-formed toes of the same length, allowing her exceptional balance on her tips. The ballet received immediate praise in 1832, but was forgotten by the end of the century. Pierre Lacotte revived La Sylphide for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1972, and it is this version you can attend in June.

Get tickets here.

xetgxf8vr6wewxukevsx
A previous representation of La Sylphide in Paris (credit: Ann Ray / OnP)

Drumming Live – Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s

Opéra Bastille, July 1 – July 15

Head to a representation of Drumming Live this season at the Opéra Bastille to see what is considered to be the Belgian choreograph Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s best work. This contemporary dance piece’s musical score was created by the minimalist New York composer Steve Reich. Performed several times since its creation in 1998, this original and quite abstract ballet follows particular music with 12 dancers bathed in a fluorescent orange light.

Get tickets here.

By the way, if you can’t get tickets for your preferred date, try La Bourse aux Billets for additional sales: http://boursechange.operadeparis.fr/.

Bon ballet!