Creation of the Paris Opera Junior Ballet

Creation of the Paris Opera Junior Ballet

The Paris Opera announces the creation of a Junior Ballet comprising 18 dancers aged 17 to 23 from September 2024.

Creation of the Paris Opera Junior Ballet

The creation of the Junior Ballet reflects the Paris Opera's desire to be constantly evolving, offering innovative forms of creation, training and transmission, while preserving the institution's heritage.

The Junior Ballet aims to foster a close relationship with the public
through tours in France and abroad. Alexander Neef, General Director of the Paris Opera

Conceived as an incubator for young talent, the Paris Opera Junior Ballet meets a number of challenges: diversifying the dancers' profiles, encouraging their professional integration, and strengthening its openness to the public through tours and mediation activities, while perpetuating the Paris Opera's tercentenary expertise.

The Junior Ballet is open to young dancers from all backgrounds and to students of the Paris Opera Ballet School who wish to complete their initial training.

Following the Ballet's external competition on July 2nd and 3rd, 2024, 9 young female dancers and 9 young male dancers will be recruited to join the Junior Ballet as of the 2024/2025 season on a two-year professionalization contract. A further 6 new dancers will join in September 2025.

Throughout their training, they will deepen their mastery of the Paris Opera's classical and contemporary repertoires, and gain experience of the stage in live performances and on tour.

Under the direction of José Martinez, Director of Dance at the Paris Opera, the Junior Ballet will be supported by a dedicated artistic, teaching and administrative team.

The Junior Ballet program will alternate between training and performing on stage alongside the Ballet company. In its first season, it will perform The Sleeping Beauty at the Opéra Bastille, and on tour in France from May 2025.

The creation of the Junior Ballet has been made possible thanks to the commitment of corporate sponsors, private foundations and major donors, to whom the Opéra would like to express its gratitude, first and foremost CHANEL, Founding Patron of the Junior Ballet.

PROFESSIONAL INTEGRATION

The Junior Ballet project meets the Paris Opera's ambitions in terms of attractiveness and professional training. Conceived as a nursery for young talent, entry to the Junior Ballet offers dancers two years' qualifying training, financed and supervised by Afdas, enabling them to achieve a level equivalent to that of Quadrille and contributing to their employability. A genuine pathway to professional integration, the young talents will have the opportunity to join the Paris Opera Ballet on the basis of a competitive examination, or to pursue their careers in other national and international companies on completion of their training.

DIVERSIFICATION OF DANCER PROFILES AND CONTINUITY OF TRAINING AFTER DANCE SCHOOL

By giving a chance to talented dancers from all over the world, the Junior Ballet aims to diversify the profile of the dancers who perform on the stages of the Paris Opera, in line with the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Junior Ballet also represents an opportunity to confirm the links between the Ecole de Danse and the Ballet, and will provide additional training for Ecole de Danse students who are unable to join the Ballet at the end of their studies due to the highly selective internal and external entrance competitions.

PASSING ON OUR HERITAGE AND STIMULATING CONTEMPORARY CREATIVITY

The Junior Ballet's ambition is to train a generation of dancers in the Paris Opera's choreographic heritage through dedicated programming. The works on the Junior Ballet's program, drawn from a varied repertoire, will enable young dancers to strengthen their technique and the quality of their interpretation.

This special program enriches the Paris Opera's choreographic season by offering the public a technically lighter program, made up of repertory entries and contemporary creations specially devised by established artists or young creators. To encourage the virtuous circle of transmission and creation, retired dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet will be invited to create each year for the Junior Ballet.  

DISTRIBUTION AND REGIONAL OUTREACH

The Junior Ballet's vocation is to contribute to the reputation of the Paris Opera through collaborations with cultural institutions in France and abroad. With its light, flexible structure, the Junior Ballet provides an opportunity to tour theaters and festivals.

Conceived as a tool for opening up to new audiences, Junior Ballet actively responds to the challenges of disseminating and mediating choreographic offerings. Thanks to its nationwide presence, attractive pricing policy and tailored programming, Junior Ballet aims to bring artists closer to a wider audience. In addition to its touring activities, Junior Ballet will offer artistic and cultural mediation initiatives throughout France (meetings, workshops, on-stage classes).

These encounters with young audiences in local areas will help to encourage vocations, enhance the School's appeal and diversify its recruitment pool.   

For the start of the 24/25 season, the Junior Ballet will comprise 18 dancers aged 17 to 23, recruited following the Ballet's external competition on July 2 and 3, 2024.

They benefit from a two-year professionalization contract. From September 2025 onwards, a further 6 dancers will be recruited under the same conditions and for the same length of time. Eventually, the Junior Ballet will comprise 24 dancers. 

THE JUNIOR BALLET PROGRAM ALTERNATES BETWEEN TRAINING AND PRACTICE PERIODS

  • The period from August to December 2024 will be a period of intensive training, with daily dance classes, learning sessions on works from the Junior Ballet repertoire, artistic workshops led by various dedicated contributors (pointe work, adage classes, choreographic workshops, improvisation workshops, various contemporary dance techniques, etc.) as well as themed training sessions.

  • This first quarter will be followed, from January to April 2025, by a period of immersion in the Ballet during rehearsals and performances of The Sleeping Beauty. From mid-March 2025, the young dancers will begin work on the tour program, which will start in May 2025.   

THE JUNIOR BALLET IS SUPERVISED BY A DEDICATED ADMINISTRATIVE AND ARTISTIC TEAM ATTACHED TO THE DANCE DEPARTMENT, WHICH WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAY-TO-DAY RUNNING OF THE STRUCTURE.

  • Each Junior Ballet dancer is accompanied throughout his or her training by a pedagogical college made up of the Director of Dance, the Junior Ballet masters and a tutor. To monitor progress, each dancer is assessed three times during the season, in the presence of the Dance Director and Junior Ballet's Ballet Masters.

  • Junior Ballet dancers have access to personalized medical care provided by the Ballet's Medical Center team throughout their training. During their training, they have access to a daily care center, as well as physical preparation sessions several times a week before or after dance classes, to work on muscle strengthening, cardio-respiratory training, warm-ups and recovery.  
The Junior Ballet program is designed to provide progressive training for the dancers involved. Programming is by its very nature evolutionary, and will therefore be fine-tuned over the first few months to enable dancers to acquire the experience they need to take part in Ballet productions and go on tour in the second half of the season. Studying the Paris Opera repertoire is an essential step in familiarizing dancers with the choreographic know-how of the Paris Opera, and will enable them to learn to work as part of a collective as soon as they arrive. A number of excerpts from classical and contemporary works will be transmitted and may be programmed for tours:

  • The Grand Pas Classique from Raymonda by Rudolf Noureev
  • Pas de six from La Vivandière by Pierre Lacotte
  • Pas de six from Napoli by Auguste Bournonville
  • Pas de Quatre from Swan Lake by Vladimir Bourmeister
  • Variations by Serge Lifar
  • Mi Favorita by José Martinez
  • Aunis by Jacques Garnier  

The Junior Ballet will also study the works of great choreographers such as George Balanchine, William Forsythe and Uwe Scholz. Junior Ballet dancers will also have the opportunity to work with contemporary choreographers, with whom they will complete their training:

  • Requiem pour une Rose by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
  • Claroscuro by Altea Nunez
  • Travellous by Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich  

During the second season, the Junior Ballet repertoire will be enriched by specially conceived creations by young choreographers such as Juliano Nicosia and Simone Valastro. At the end of this first training period, the Junior Ballet repertoire will be presented on tours, the schedule for which is currently being drawn up.

The Junior Ballet is already attracting considerable interest from regional cultural institutions and numerous summer festivals, which are ready to welcome it. Such is the case of the Opéra Royal de Versailles, where the young dancers will perform on June 12, 13 and 14, 2025.

To give concrete expression to their training and prepare them for their future careers, the Dance Direction will also offer young dancers the opportunity of real professional immersion, during one or two major productions per season, on the Garnier or Bastille stages.

From January to April 2025, the young dancers will perform with the Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev, and learn in real-life conditions alongside their elders.

Recruitment auditions for the Paris Opera Junior Ballet for the 2024/2025 season

For the first season, the 18 dancers of the Junior Ballet will be recruited during the annual external competition of the Paris Opera Ballet, which will take place at the Palais Garnier on July 2 and 3, 2024.

They will be selected from among candidates who have not been selected to join the Ballet as permanent or CDD dancers, but whose potential has been noted, subject to availability.  

Admission requirements:

Admission to the Junior Ballet is reserved for candidates aged between 17 (on January 1, 2024) and 23 (on September 1, 2024).

Registration calendar:

Registration for the Ballet's external competition is open until June 9, 2024.

The application must include :

  • A portrait of the candidate
  • A curriculum vitae
  • A full-length photograph in piqué arabesque
  • A full-length photograph, knee-length, front view
  • A copy of an identity document
  • A YouTube or Vimeo link to a video presenting a variation (maximum 3 minutes)   
Audition schedule:

  • The audition of candidates who have been shortlisted on the basis of their applications will be held on Tuesday, July 2, 2024 for men's positions and on Wednesday, July 3, 2024 for women's positions.
  • Successful candidates will receive an invitation to attend.
  • The auditions will take place at the Palais Garnier and will not be open to the public.
  • The audition schedule will be announced one month before the audition begins. 

The 9 male and 9 female dancers who have accepted the offer to join the Junior Ballet will be hired under a 24-month professionalization contract starting on August 28, 2024. They will benefit from qualifying training supervised by Afdas, enabling them to obtain a level equivalent to that of Quadrille at the end of the two years.

As the curriculum is designed to provide pedagogical support for their professional integration, Junior Ballet dancers cannot be excluded on the basis of their level once they have been recruited. On the other hand, the training of certain dancers could be interrupted if they managed to join a national or international company before the end of the two-year period.

Finally, training with the Junior Ballet does not guarantee entry into the Ballet, nor is entry into the Ballet conditional on participation in the Junior Ballet.

The Junior Ballet would not have been possible without the support of generous patrons. The Association pour le Rayonnement de l'Opéra national de Paris (AROP) and the Paris Opera would like to extend their warmest thanks. Their contribution enables the institution to give life to a large-scale project, driven by the conviction, shared by these patrons, that everyone has a place at the Opera, and that it belongs to everyone.


THE JUNIOR BALLET RECEIVES EXCEPTIONAL SUPPORT FROM

  • MÉCÈNE FONDATEUR DU JUNIOR BALLET

AND THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF

Caroline et Alain Rauscher
Bertrand et Nathalie Ferrier

GRoW @ Annenberg
Yleana Arce Foundation
Fonds Haplotès

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