On 28th and 31st December last year, following performances of Swan Lake, Germain Louvet and Leonore Baulac were appointed Etoiles. Consecration or continuation, they look back on their careers so far and give us their impressions.
How did you come to be a dancer?
Germain Louvet: I began dancing at the age of four, it was already very natural and instinctive for me. When I was seven I entered the National Regional Conservatoire of Chalon-sur-Saône where I learnt classical ballet, then, at the age of 12, I was admitted to the Paris Opera Ballet School under the direction of Elisabeth Platel. I joined the Corps de Ballet when I was 18.Léonore Baulac : I studied dance for two years at the Paris Conservatoire before being admitted to the Ballet School at the age of 15. Then, when I was 18, I joined the Corps de Ballet.
How do you perceive the role of an Etoile?
With Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile, you took on new roles, how did you tackle them?
L.B.: We both worked on those roles with Clotilde Vayer (Ballet Mistress at the Paris Opera Ballet). I was an understudy before being officially cast in the role, but I was determined to work on it as if I were going to dance it. I was apprehensive of my first rehearsals. Unlike the role of Juliet, (Léonore Baulac danced Juliet in Romeo and Juliet for the first time in 2016) which was fairly instinctive, the role of Odette/Odile did not come so easily. There was a lot of technical work and the coaching I had helped me a lot to progress. Today, I’m proud of the work I accomplished, as I didn’t start out with it all cut and dried. I had been studying the role of Juliet since I was very young and I knew the character perfectly, whereas it took me much longer to get into the character of the Swan. We’ve seen so many dancers interpret it that it takes a lot of assurance to perform it on stage. The passing on and learning of this role were crucial moments. We create bonds with our partners and coaches and accomplish work of fundamental importance on a personal level.
Being nominated by Aurélie Dupont, the new Director of Dance must mean a lot to you?
Are there roles that you dream of doing, choreographers that you would like to work with?
G.L: Suddenly a range of possibilities opens up before us. The roles of Lenski or Onegin in Onegin would be lovely. I would also hope for choreographic encounters rich in ideas for us. Sasha Waltz’s Romeo and Juliet is also a contemporary ballet that I really appreciate and, of course, all the Pina Bausch repertoire.
also really like Onegin – Tatiana and
Olga are really interesting roles – because I like narrative and dramatic
ballets in which the story is important. In Onegin,
there is a progression, a magnificent quest. But last September, Crystal Pite’s
new work, The Season’s Canon, was
also a magnificent revelation. It’s a stunning piece. I love the energy of this
Interviewed by Aliénor de Foucaud