My first trip was in Madrid and it was very much relieved because it was a success. I have been worrying about whether I could have a place in the ballet world since the Concours. So I was very happy to know that I was appreciated by an artistic director of a ballet company but not only a ballet school director! It was a private audition so I was the only one who was auditioning. I took a company class with the other dancers in the morning and talked to the artistic director, who is Eduardo Lao, after the class. I felt very good during the class and I think I did quite well. Mr. Lao said that I had beautiful body lines and a strong French technique that they liked a lot. He also noticed that I was not a tall dancer but he told me that there were other small male dancers in the company and that they wouldn’t mind. He was also conscious that I was going to do the Concours d’entrée for the Paris Opera Ballet again in July 2015. “Keep in touch! And let us know if the Paris Opera Ballet doesn’t take you next year!”, he said.
A friend of mine was dancing professionally in Madrid so I contacted him before my trip. He so kindly let me stay at his flat during my stay. I also met his Japanese partner who seemed to be a very good dancer too. We had a very good time talking about ballet together! He took me to the theatre on the day of the audition and asked to watch our class. After the audition, he took me around the city for sight-seeing, which was very enjoyable after a successful audition!
The Victor Ullate Ballet seemed to be a quite small company with a small number of dancers but a very good atmosphere between them. The theatre was newly built and the studios were very nice. They also have a large variety of dancers. Some were very strong in classical technique, others were stronger in contemporary work. I also met a Chinese female dancer and one Tahitian dancer who spoke perfect French and who graduated from the Paris Opera Ballet School.
After this first audition comes a surprise: The Paris Opera Ballet called me for the production La Source, which has been the most precious experience I have ever had. My last performance with them was on the last day of the year, in a role of “Sujet”: Les Elfes. When I returned to school after 6 days of rest, it was time to prepare for the next audition which was in Montreal.
This second audition was a little more challenging than the previous one in Madrid because I had never been to North America. I was a little bit worried about the difference of culture and the weather. I have been to Montreal during their coldest moment of the year (-20 to -30 degrees Celcius!) Montreal was quite far from Paris too (7 – 8 hours by plane). Luckily, the audition was very successful too. I spent a whole week in Montreal and took 3 morning company classes. The classes were actually quite easy and I enjoyed them so much. Like the last time, the director (Gradimir Pankov) talked to me after my third and last class and told me that he liked me a lot. He was curious to know why I would choose to come to his company. I explained to him that I didn’t get into the Paris Opera Ballet last year so I was looking for a good company. He then looked a little bit shocked and asked me what the reason was. I told him that the Paris Opera often makes decisions without giving us any reasons. “I have never accepted a dancer just by watching him in class. The company is also full at the moment, we will renew the contracts in February and by then we will know who will go and who will stay. I will keep you posted about that.”, the director said.
I stayed with a very nice family during that week in Montreal. They have been very kind to me and took me around the city by car each day after the audition. I think they were very happy to listen to my story because they haven’t known any ballet dancers before.
Just one week after I returned to Paris from Montreal, I went to Berlin for only 2 days for an audition at the Berlin State Opera Ballet.
The night before the audition, I went to their website and took a look at the dancers of the Berlin State Opera Ballet. I noticed that they have got very few Asians and most of the dancers are not as young. So I guessed that my chance would be limited.
The audition was actually very strange. We were asked to fill in a form before entering the warm-up studio. In that form, except basic information like age, height, CV…etc. we also had to put whether we had a residence and working permit in Germany. There were a class for girls and another class for boys, which came after. We were more than 100 boys during the class! I wondered how the directors could look at each one of us. Anyways, I tried my best to be in the front line during the class so that I wouldn’t be hidden behind other candidates. Once again I enjoyed the class very much and I think I didn’t do too badly. However, unfortunately, only 6 boys were chosen for the next round and I was not one of the six.
Even so, I learnt a lot from this short trip to Berlin. It was the first time that I had the courage to stand in front of the others during a class. Apart from that, since it was an open audition, I had the opportunity to see other dancers from all around the world who are also looking for a contract like me. So now I have an idea of how I am comparing to the others on an international scale.
These experiences have been extremely precious to me. It seems to me that I have started entering the professional ballet world, which is very exciting. Following these three auditions, I will possibly try the Dresden Ballet (Semperoper Ballett), the Joffrey Ballet (audition in Paris), the Hong Kong Ballet (during my autumn break in Hong Kong) and the San Francisco Ballet. I promise to continue doing my very best in everything that my destiny brings to me. I believe this is the best and the only way to thank all those who helped and supported me so much and who made me become who I am today.