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Paris Opera to Act on Racist Stereotypes in Ballet

The bulletins might sound easy, however the dialog across the Paris Opera and variety has already brought on a stir in France this yr.

In December, an article within the journal of Le Monde, the every day newspaper, created a fuss when it appeared to recommend Neef was contemplating banning problematic works. The article at one level mentioned the “aesthetic decisions” of Rudolf Nureyev, the star Russian ballet dancer who led the Paris Opera Ballet for a lot of the 1980s. A few of his productions, which the corporate nonetheless performs, initially featured dancers in blackface and yellowface, and though they’re now not introduced this manner, some sequences, just like the “Chinese language Dance” in his “Nutcracker,” should strike viewers as insensitive.

“Some works will undoubtedly disappear from the repertoire,” Neef was quoted as saying.

That remark, which Neef later stated was taken out of context, was seized on by Marine Le Pen, the chief of the far-right Nationwide Rally get together, who wrote on Twitter that it was an instance of “antiracism gone mad.” It additionally led to debate within the media, and on-line, about whether or not the give attention to range was an indication of creeping Americanization.

Neef stated he wasn’t nervous a couple of related response to the brand new report. “We’re not right here selling a local weather of censorship, or dictatorial actions from the management,” he stated. “The entire level of this initiative is we need to placed on opera and ballet by 21st-century artists for 21st-century audiences.”

Nevertheless it was clear that the furor had an affect on the report’s drafting. “I count on the far proper and essentially the most conservative politicians and intellectuals to protest, and say it’s, as soon as once more, in regards to the Americanization of French tradition,” Ndiaye stated. He had written it rigorously to attempt to head off these reactions, he added.

The Paris Opera just isn’t the one ballet firm in Europe to seek out itself caught up in debates about race. Final yr, Chloé Lopes Gomes, the one Black dancer on the Staatsballett Berlin, made world headlines when she complained about racism on the firm. In 2019, Misty Copeland, an African-American principal at American Ballet Theater, complained about the usage of blackface on the Bolshoi in Moscow, though many in Russia defended its use, arguing that it was not racist as a result of it was how classical ballets have all the time been carried out within the nation.

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