Auguste Vestris


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Emmanuel Thibault appointed premier danseur
24 December 2004

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On the evening of December 23rd 2004, following the Internal Promotion Concours of the Paris Opera, M. Emmanuel Thibault was appointed premier danseur.

For the last three hundred or so years, the Paris Opera Ballet has been the epicentre of classical dance.

The technique, outlook and ideas of a premier danseur are thus standard-setting for the rest of the profession, and the position, one of influence world wide, not only in the ballet, but in the cultural life of nations.

So what has the seven-year clash of arms over M. Emmanuel Thibault been about ?

The question to be decided, was whether the classical dance will be allowed to dwindle into nothingness, its practitioners broken under the rod of sterile formalism and baroque excess ? Or whether it be a kind of Homeric poetry, that has become, over the centuries, as indispensable a vehicle for man’s thoughts as any other art form ?

Whether the classical dance be a sport, or a subject of the mind, that will remain forever ?

Reason has prevailed. It has prevailed, because the man has tremendous guts. Deaf to the sirens of discouragement, he has won over to the ballet thousands of people, not by doing anything outrageous or outlandish, but by doing what is right.

Had he not, and were he not, the real question might never have come up before the Jury to be decided.