Repetto : press release : ballet slipper school

Normally I don’t publish posts about the press releases I get in my email inbox; this is because I want my blog to reflect my vision and my discoveries of Paris. But this one, I felt compelled to communicate on this platform because it speaks to me in so many ways that I felt it was more than appropriate. So much so that I took the liberty of translating it into English. For one thing, it’s about a French company that I love : Repetto. And this company works within an art form that I also love (and used to do) : Dance. And thirdly, it is concerning a place to learn how to make things, with your hands, and THAT speaks volumes to me. I am fond of detailed work done with human hands and not just machines, especially with the French savoir-faire for great quality. (I secretly wish I could make shoes myself). So without further ado… straight from Repetto :

Photo courtesy of Repetto

Repetto inaugurera son école de formation vendredi 20 janvier 2012 à Coulaures.

Repetto will be inaugurating it’s own artisan school on January 20th, 2012 in Coulaures.

Friday, 20 January 2012


 At the Lycée professionnel des Métiers du Bâtiment Chardeuil

24420 oulaures

 L’objectif de cette école – unique en France, est de former l’ensemble des salariés de nos ateliers Repetto ainsi que les premiers  150 futurs salariés sur les métiers du cuir afin de faire face à l’accroissement de l’activité de notre Maison. A l’issue de cette formation d’une durée de 6 mois, les personnes en mesure de confectionner une ballerine « cousu retourné » dans son intégralité et selon notre savoir-faire unique, intégreront l’usine Repetto.

The objective of the school – one that is unique in France, is to train their entire staff for their own workshops as well as the first 150 new artisans that they will be hiring, in leather work, in order to be able to meet the demands of their rising activity. At the end of the 6 month training, those who are able to create a ballet slipper that is “sewn and turned” in it’s entirety and according the the unique Repetto savoir-faire, will integrate the Repetto factory.

Photo courtesy of Repetto

Hébergée à Chardeuil durant la durée des travaux*, cette formation est ouverte depuis le mois de novembre 2011. Elle est assurée par des Repetto Genuine Craftsmen ayant acquis une longue expérience et une grande dextérité dans les techniques de fabrication ainsi que par des membres du CTC (centre Technique de la chaussure).

Housed in Chardeuil for the duration of the construction*, this training has been open since November 2011. It is given by the Repetto Genuine Craftsmen who have gained a lengthy experience and great dexterity in the techniques of fabrication as well as members of the CTC (Centre Technique de la Chaussure).

Repetto souhaite former  dans un 1er temps 150, personnes en 4 ans.

Repetto is hoping to begin by training 150 people in 4 years.

*A l’issue des travaux prévue en septembre 2012, l’école de formation prendra place sur le lieu de fabrication Repetto de St-Médard.

*At the end of construction, estimated for September 2012, the school’s training will take place at the St-Médard Repetto factory.


Photo courtesy of Repetto

L’Etat, la région Aquitaine et le département de la Dordogne, fiers de cette initiative, s’associent à cet événement.

The State, the region Aquitaine and the department of Dordogne, are proud to associate support this event.

La Source – “Le public n’a pas de fesses”

I went to see the ballet La Source recently at the Garnier Opera house, one of my favorite places in Paris as many of you know! And I was once again dazzled and amazed by the beauty of the production they put on.

The phrase “Le public n’a pas de fesses” means literally that the audience doesn’t have a rear end (meaning, the public is so enthralled in the show that they do not feel how uncomfortable their rear end is in those seats!) That’s how I felt about this beautiful show. I didn’t feel my rear!

La Source, Opera De Paris

I was thrilled to discover Allister Madin in the role of Zaël, and elf of the water spirit Naïla, who was herself danced by Charline Giezendanner. Both of these two powerhouse dancers not only showed incredible technique and physical talent but they also had an acute sensibility for the characters they were portraying. Zaël is both zealous and secretive, “malin” as we would say in French. He carries the show on his green clad shoulders so well. And received thunderous applause as he took his bows. Miss Giezendanner was as graceful as a dewdrop and a fairy with the most delicate gestures that reached to the ends of her limbs.

Discover Allister Madin in this video :

Set in mythical Persia, the story involves a hunter, Djémil; The water spirit Naïla; her elf Zaël; Khan the emporer; and Nouredda who is to be promised to Khan by her brother Mozdock. It is a love story full of betrayals and hesitation, ruse and sacrifice. This ballet was first created in 1866 and has been revived by the one of the Opera house’s star dancers, Jean-Guillaume Bart. Eric Ruf created the magical set and Christian LaCroix designed the breathtaking costumes. See in the artists speak about their creations following video (in French).

Eric Ruf’s décor for this piece was captivating to me because he managed to create a magical fairy-like set that gives us the idea of water falls and foliage, simply by using typical things you would find in a theater : rope and red velvet. It seemed so fitting to use such elements, but they are so far removed from what they were meant to represent. Yet, it worked theatrical wonders on the imagination. It seems so natural coming from him though as he is based in theater, being from the Comédie Française theater. His décor oozes the stage theatrical inspiration. I fell in love with the work as the curtain rose. It was perfect.

La source

La source

(Sorry for the photo quality, I only had my phone camera on me. Find some better pictures at brieuc75 blog)

The costumes were just as stunning (if not more so) than the decor and the dancing. GORGEOUS creations by LaCroix that sparkled so much I thought I might need sunglasses! Crystals sewn into the silk and organza fabrics, shined under the theater lights like the sparkling sunlight on the sea or the twinkling Eiffel tower at midnight. Sumptuous and stunning, these creations are pure works of art. And the color! Oh my the color! LaCroix really does do color better than most designers. As he says in the video inserted above, he was fulfilling a childhood dream with these creations for the Opera de Paris.

Well he’s got me dreaming!
I left the Opera house in a ballerina la-la fairy land state-of-mind…

Repetto back in the Marais!

Repetto just opened a new boutique in the marais…


A welcome return after the fire last October destroyed the store on rue du Perche. It was so odd, because I had just been in that store the afternoon before… And then the next day my friend Kasia tweeted about how the store had burned during the night.

This new boutique is on the corner of rue des Francs Bourgeois and rue Vieille du Temple, and just opened it’s doors this past Friday April 15th 2011 at 10:30am.

Repetto is one of my favorite French brands (but then I think all ballerinas or former ballerinas like it, non!?!). It was a brand for ballerinas and dancers, but had the know-how (thanks to Jean-Marc Gaucher) at the turn of the 21st century to branch out to the general public and sell them ballerina style street shoes, and clothing. It’s been a hit ever since!
And another reason I love this brand is that is was started by the mother of Roland Petit, who is one of my favorite choreographers. Plus their point shoes have always been and still are fabricated in France.


Currently my favorite ballerina is the face of the brand, Marie-Agnès Gillot.
Marie Agnes Gillot, the face of Repetto and the most beautifu... on Twitpic

Caligula – Riche en Emotion

Un tragédie en 5 actes…

Tout juste une heure et demi ce ballet sans entracte, chorégraphié par Nicolas LeRiche en 2005, nous raconte l’histoire de l’empereur romain, Caligula, amoureux du spectacle avec des accès d’âme poétique, maladif et mégalomane. Il se croit en relation avec le dieux, il disait que la lune descendait le voir dans son lit, il aime son cheval à la folie jusqu’à lui faire bâtir un palais. Un personnage plein de complexe il ne règne que pendant un peu moins de 4 ans, et il dépense sa fortune colossale, une fortune qu’aucun empereur n’a eu auparavant, en un an et demi.  Sa règne commence à rencontrer des problèmes surtout avec les sénateurs, qu’il humilie, et il tombe dans la débauche. Il est mort assassiné par des coups de couteaux.

Leriche, danseur étoile de l’Opéra, qui a eu l’idée de faire un ballet sur ce personnage suite à la lecture des Vies des douze Césars de Suétone, prend comme collaborateur le dramaturge Guillaume Gallienne. Ensemble ils on créé un ballet surprenant avec le plein d’émotion. Chorégraphié à la musique des Quatre Saison de Vivaldi, et parsemé de musique électronique de Louis Dandrel on voit une vrai drame se dérouler sur scène avec une danse très moderne imprégné de théâtre. C’est comme Leriche et Gallienne veulent atteindre le spectateur par tous les moyens possible. Il y a une étude sur le mouvement et sa traduction dans les émotions qui est puisée dans une réflexion riche et une volonté de communiquer énorme. On attend pas moins de cela de Nicolas Leriche. Le tout est augmenté par l’emploie de l’expression faciale des danseurs qui font des grimace géantes à des moments précis, ou par le bruit lourd de leurs pas forts, leurs bras, leurs corps qui frappent sur le sol. Parfois on n’entend que cela.

Le corps du ballet jouent les sénateurs et les suivants. On voit parmi eux un sénateur, Chaerea, serait à l’origine du complot contre Caligula. Mnester, un pantomime pour qui l’empereur avait une admiration sans bornes, danse des interludes avec trois autres figures. Des pas de deux magnifique sont dansés entre Caligula et la lune. Une scène surtout reste dans le mémoire, celui entre Caligula et son cheval Incitatus, où le corps humain semble séffacer et celui d’un animal apparaît. C’est aussi une scène que l’on peut voir comme une fantaisie, car elle n’ajoute rien à l’histoire du spectacle, mais seulement rajoute l’anecdote du sentiment de Caligula envers son cheval.

J’ai eu la chance de voir Mathieu Ganio dans le rôle de Caligula, Clairemarie Osta dans le rôle de la lune, Nicolas Paul dans le rôle de Mnester, Aurélien Houette dans le rôle de Chaerea, Audric Bezard dans le rôle du cheval, et Eleonora Abbagnato dans le rôle de Caesonia, l’épouse de Caligula.

Ce spectacle me laisse avec une envie énorme de voir encore d’autres créations de Nicolas Leriche… vivement que Brigitte Lefèvre le laisse entamer un autre projet!

Jusqu’au 24 février 2011, Opéra de Paris, Palais Garnier.

A tragedy in 5 acts…

Only just an hour and a half, this ballet without intermission, choreographed by Nicholas Leriche in 2005, tells the story of the Roman emperor, Caligula, who loved the art of the stage and who would often have bouts of poetic feeling, or would be become an angry megalomaniac. He believed that he was in direct relation with the gods, that the moon would come down from the sky and into his bed, and he loved his horse so much that built it a palace. A character full of complexity he only reigned for just under four years, and spent his immense fortune, the largest fortune any emperor had ever had before him, in a year and a half. His reign began seeing problems especially with the senators, whom he would often humiliate, and his reign fell to debauchery. He dies, assassinated by stabbing.

Leriche, a star dancer of the Opera, who had the idea to create a ballet on this character after having read the Lives of twelve Cesars, by Suétone, took as a collaborator the dramaturge Guillaume Gallienne. Together the have created an astonishing ballet full of emotion. Choreographed to the Fours Seasons of Vivaldi and interludes of electronic music by Lousi Dandrel, a true drama is danced out on the stage with a very modern choreography that is impregnated with theatrics. It is as if Leriche and Gallienne want to reach the spectator by all means possible. There is a true study of movement and how it is translated into emotion that seems to have been inspired by a rich reflexion and an enormous desire to communicate. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Nicolas Leriche. The entire thing is then augmented by the use of facial expression by the dancers who make giant grimaces at certain precise moments, or by the heavy sound of their feet, arms, bodies striking the floor with force. Sometimes that is all that is heard.

The corps de ballet dances the roles of the senators and the senators followers. On of the senators, Chaerea, would be at the origin of the assassination conspiracy against Caligula. Mnester, a pantomime for whom the emperor had a limitless admiration dances interludes with three other figures. The magnificent pas de deux are danced by Caligula and the Moon. And one scene in particular stands out, the one danced between Caligula and his horse Incitatus, here the human body seems to transform into that of an animal. It is also somewhat of a frivolous and fantasy scene, as it does not add anything of importance to the drama on stage, but merely includes the anecdote concerning Caligula’s sentiments towards his horse.

I was lucky to be able to see  Mathieu Ganio dance the role of Caligula, Clairemarie Osta dance the role of the Moon, Nicolas Paul dance the role of Mnester, Aurélien Houette dance the role of Chaerea, Audric Bezard as the horse, and Eleonora Abbagnato as Caesonia, the wife of Caligula.

This show left me with an enormous desire to see more and more creations of Nicolas Leriche… hopefully Brigitte Lefèvre will let him choreograph more shows for he Opéra de Paris!

Until February 24th 2011, at the Opéra de Paris, Garnier Palace.

Estrella Archs – prima ballerina’s not prima donas!

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

Estrella Archs, recently emancipated over the past year from directing someone else’s line, is putting all her energy into her own line, and has found a theme for that Spanish passion that drives her : the “liberation of movement” : la danse! Oh libre she is, and is enjoying her freedom in bold pink and better choices for collaboration. Gone are the Lindsey Lohan days of disappointment.

Dancers, real ballerinas, not models took to the catwalk for her show in Paris this afternoon, and the didn’t walk, they danced. Her new line for Spring and Summer 2011, in pinks of all shades, has two very vivid influences to it : Flamenco and ballet. The former expressing force and passion, the latter defining the grace and precision of the line. From barely-there pink to blinding fuchsia in fluid silk crêpes, silk gauze, semi-soft suede to one seamed dresses that created a swirling spiral of feminine beauty and movement.

Italian born Mara Galeazzi the star of Archs’ publicity campaign, is a principal dancer for the Royal Ballet. She and twelve other dancers from the Royal Ballet donned the pink frocks and pranced choreography by Alastair Mariott under the spotlight in heel-less Vicente Rey high heels. They did more than model the line, they gave it life.

Estrella Archs

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

After the show I hung around to snap a few shots of the dancers and the designer

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

Estrella Archs isthe 4th from the left in a bright pink top and  black skirt.

Me & Mara Galeazzi

Mara told me that she was “so nervous” before the show started. Maybe it was the shoes, maybe it was the fear of the flashing cameras (which ballerinas are not used to), maybe it was the pressure of having only ONE show that lasts a mere 15 minutes. But nervous or not, she shined (or glowed pink) like the graceful dancer she is. Mara is no stranger to the fashion runway though, she did the Jenny Packham Collection in February 2004.

Thank you Mara! You were gorgeous in the show!

Estrella Archs SS2011 Paris

The dancers mastered these shoes like no runway model could ever do. It takes well trained muscles and years of point shoes to be able to do this kind of catwalking!

Shoes by Vicente Rey… OMG! Gorgeous!

A stunning show and a beautifully feminine line…

I was ecstatic to see ballerinas take on fashion week.

Bravo Estrella for thinking outside of the catwalk!

Décrocher la lune – Shoot the moon

Photo : Opera de Paris

Kaguyahime, the moon princess, descends down to Earth with a message of peace and spirituality. Her incredible beauty inspires love and desire, and many men vie for her hand. She refuses them, knowing that her time on Earth is limited, and she is secretly in love with the Emperor, Mikado. A war breaks out and the inhabitants of Kaguyahime’s village are forced to defend themselves against a nobleman and his warriors. Her time on Earth finished, the moon princess must leave her adoptive parents and the Emporer and she reascends back to the moon cloaked in a golden mantle.

The Opera de Paris showed it’s premier yesterday evening, of their version of this timeless Japanese tale, with Marie-Agnès Gillot dancing the title role. Clothed in a glowing white unitard she carefully and gracefully moved through Jiri Kylian’s astonishing choreography. The entire spectacle moves with a fluidity that is painstakingly practiced and perfected. The décor and lighting (done by Michel Simon) harmonizes so well with the dancers and the music that is represents a seamless flow of artistry and creative ideas that the spectator is carried away by each and every moment of this amazing show.

In reality there were two spectacles in one, the dancers and the orchestra. The music composed by Maki Ishii is dominated by percussionists, who execute a dance of their own as the beat their large base drums in a choreographed unison.

But the dancers were obviously the most thrilling. In an almost unstoppable movement they performed a story punctuated by more than just pirouettes and jetés, they were characters, letters even, from a Japanese parchment paper telling a story that has endured for almost two thousand years. Their bodies took on forms that traditional classical and modern dance do not know.

Run, fly, but do not wander slowly to see this masterpiece. You will not be disappointed. It lasts until the 15th of July on selected dates only, at the Opera de Paris, Bastille.