After the first performance of the season in which Crystal Pite's creation "The seaons' Canon" was a huge success, all the dancers were invited to an "After-party and cocktail" in the public area of the Palais Garnier. I didn't attend this sumptuous event this year because we were leaving early the next morning to Arcachon for a gala performance. However, I took pictures of the decorated Palais Garnier before the show started.
Palais Garnier decorated this like is absolutely breathtaking. As you can see in the photos, the famous golden "Grand Foyer" is transformed into a big dining hall where the Etoiles and important guests/celebrities would have dinner after the show.
I just came back to Paris from a gala in Arcachon. I will write about that later on. Now I'd like to write about something more exciting: the Opening of the season 2016/2017 at the Paris Opera Ballet.
Like every year, the Paris Opera Ballet opened the season with a Defile du Corps de Ballet (Parade) at the beginning of its first performance. I found a video of the entire Defile on Youtube:
I appeared from the back of the stage at 9:40. I am the one all the way to the left of the line. (on the right in the video) I have always loved this Defile and find it particularly classy and touching although others don't appreciate the military side of it.
Below is another video taken from the point of view of the dancers in the famous and beautiful "Foyer de la Danse" during a rehearsal:
Below are two photos showing the beautiful Foyer de la Danse, where all the dancers and students from the Paris Opera Ballet School get ready before the Defile.
And at last a photo of all the dancers putting together the final pose of the Defile.
There are more posts to come about this opening of the season.
It has been strange since last night. While I was preparing my dinner, chopping some vegetables, I slightly cut my finger... This morning just before I wanted to comb my hair, my comb dropped and was broken. My cut finger was not helpful with my wash up, neither. Just 5 minutes before class I found out I had forgotten my soft shoes in my changing room. In a hurry seeking for my abandoned soft shoes, I ran into someone, a dancer, on the way to my changing room. The class went quite well but while I was saying hi to a dancer, I bumped into another dancer, an Etoile, a principal dancer, I hurried to say sorry and of course I flushed. After class I enjoyed a 20 minutes massage, finally something good, and watched the video from last Sunday's gala. I had a terrible moment, I always feel terrible watching myself dance, well, sometimes more than others! Ok, no more rehearsals, time for some practicing. I practiced my Sleeping Beauty variation for my Concours de Promotion as usual. I like practicing a ballet variation and seeing myself improve from day to day. "Enjoy it now that we're not yet in the intense preparation period!", I told myself. But today I didn't do quite well, and it is harder and harder in finding a free studio because everyone starts to prepare for Concours too. I also came up with an offer for a gala in November dancing Blue Bird and another piece. I should feel happy but what I felt at first was frustration, feeling difficult to decide whether to accept the offer or not. How strange I am!
Okay, now I hope this serie of bad luck ends here. Nothing too bad, isn't it? Everyone experiences this kind of bad luck periods in life.
This is my second year in the Paris Opera, I always feel extremely nervous talking to people. New dancers from the school arrived in the company and they all seem to have new friends here and talk to other dancers casually. Why do I feel such inner-struggle and nervousness talking to others? Maybe this is just me, the complicated Chun-wing Lam, as sophisticated as his name!
Tomorrow we are donig the Generale (final dress rehearsal) of the opening of the season. So there will be the famous "Defile du Corps de Ballet" (parade of the dancers) that I love. I am very excited to that! Sunday I am going to perform in Arcachon, gala again. Below two private videos of my practicing from yesterday and today.
It is finally here! I discovered the video in which I participated for promoting tourism in Paris by the Mairie de Paris. Here it is:
I am not disappointed by my short appearance in the video, I knew it would be only a few seconds. On the contrary, I am very happy that they chose a proper ballet step to fill in those seconds instead of some non-ballet body/head/face expressions... movements. A Grand Jete! So is my contribution to the tourism in Paris!! A nice surprise to end my day.
Here I am, in the train for Luxembourg. I had a terrible night, I went to bed at 10 pm and couldn't fall asleep until 3am. Maybe it was because of the heat? The fatigue? The stress? I have no idea. The thought of a difficult gala tonight and an early train back to Paris tomorrow morning frustrates me. It is going to be tough! The weather this morning is very cold suddenly, yet I felt a bit hot yesterday night.
The scenery was fascinating this morning when I left home. At 7am on a sunday morning, Paris was still asleep. I could hardly hear any noise but the birds' singing. The street lights were still on and the dimmed daylight turned the scenery to a grey-blue tone. It was beautiful.
Fortunately, the gala went very well, I am happy with my performance. Curiously I didn't feel tired during the show probably thanks to my stage-fright! Upon our arrival, we went right away to the theatre by a nice modern green van. The 15 minutes ride was too short for us to sight-see Luxembourg. From what I saw, Luxembourg seems to be a very clean city.
The theatre where we performed is called Kinneksbond. I didn't have time to take good photos of the theatre but its modern architecture is pretty nice. The staffs inside offered us a very warm welcome and I found out that we speak both French and German in Luxembourg.The food was provided by the theatre and it was delicious yet not enough!! Some other dancers ordered big burgers from outside after the show!
However, the hotel where we stayed was soooo nice! What a shame that we only stayed there for no more than 7 hours: we arrived at aronud mid night and we left for Paris at 7 on Monday morning because we have rehearsals in the Opera in the afternoon.
I have no rehearsal today and I decide to skip today's class and let myself rest for a day. I slept for 13 hours last night and oh, it was so good! I have not been sleeping enough during the past week.
During the past week, there were a lot of moments where I wanted/needed to write. However, before I realized, I am already back into the busy dancer routine with the Paris Opera. For now, I think this season is going to be an interesting one, full of new adventures (I mean it, and not only in ballet!!), and surprises. I hesitated long to write here about the holy Concours de Promotion (promotion competition) in this company, afraid that this would give me extra pressure. But I finally decided to write about it for the valuable memory. I think this would be an important detail of my experience at the Paris Opera Ballet. And then I really shouldn’t focus on the results that much.
I am now in the metro going back home. Today supposed to be a day off in the Opera, but I rehearsed for coming Sunday’s gala in Luxembourg where I will be performing always the same program, and I got coached for my Concours de Promotion. I am now exhausted after one whole day of dancing, but no hope for a day off in the coming three weeks!!! I was very worried yesterday about the Concours because I found out that I have to be unexpectedly active in my preparation, no one would be there to ask me to do this and that yet there are important things to be done/ practiced/ prepared. I just didn’t know how nor used to playing this kind of game. But this afternoon’s coaching has been most enriching. There were more talking than dancing, I really appreciated the mental relieve that my coach gave me.
Yesterday was Mid-Autumn Festival in China. I don’t have any mooncakes with me this time although I really miss them. I didn’t even look at the beautiful full moon on this occasion. I think I am getting further and further away from Chinese Festivals because I am often alone in Paris on those dates and don’t feel it celebrating on my own.
Another good news would be I became second cast in Violin Concerto (Balanchine), which will be in October. This would be much easier than being just an understudy. At least I will be dancing during the rehearsals instead of trying to learn every spot from the back of the studio.
Oh, it feels good writing, I really should keep this up. I should write more about the Concours in the next posts.
Since my last post I have been reserving almost all my free time to myself. And yes, this year would probably be quite free for me comparing to last year where I had the holy Bac S to prepare. I had never read a story book of my choice (not part of the to-be-read lists in school!), and now I am reading a book that I am really addicted to! I never knew that reading could be that enjoyable! So finished all the lessons to be read while in the metro! I now can enjoy my book, or some music while I am taking the metro to and from the Opera! I only have to work as I see fit in dancing and I can now enjoy my free time, at least for the time being, perhaps I would pursue something else later? I decide to give myself a short break and to focus in ballet.
20 years old, oh my…. Did I just turn 20 today? It’s a symbolic bye-bye to my teenage and a step-in in my adulthood. I feel excited and scared at the same time. I would definitely miss the safe and protected teenage. Also, I may just have passed one-fourth of my life. I feel grown-up, or a bit….. old. Well I still feel like being a kid.
I also went to see the dress rehearsal of ABT’s sleeping beauty. The Paris Opera invited the ABT to perform in Opera Bastille. ABT’s Swan Lake was my very FIRST ballet DVD I’ve watched and it became my favorite company! Gillian Murphy the female principal in that DVD became my idol at that time. And guess what, I met her in the backstage! I can’t help to reserve a seat to see her perform in Sleeping Beauty tomorrow night! It’s so amazing to meet the dancers that I have been watching on Youtube or in DVDs. Once again I realized that I am actually living my dream.