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Another Place: Farewell Performance of Stéphane Bullion

The contemporary dance presents, on the other hand, a different vision of the masculine, the feminine and the inner self; also, the duo of the dancers has an important dramaturgical function. -Margareta Sörenson

It was a special night. For those who knew, the performance this evening was covered with slight melancholy.

It was the last performance of our étoile, Stéphane Bullion, from Opéra de Paris; two hours later, we had to say our farewell to this wonderful dancer. After being nominated as étoile after his performance as Solor in "La Bayadère" in 2010, Stéphane is retiring from the stage after 12 years.

His farewell performance was "Another Place". It's a contemporary ballet choreographed by Mats Ek for Opéra de Paris in 2019. Back in its début, this creation was danced by Stéphane himself and Aurélie Dupont, the current director of the Ballet Opéra de Paris and the former étoile.

Photo: Ann Ray

There were no fancy costumes, nor extraordinary set design; everything we saw on stage was a monochrome table, as well as two dancers wearing modest and sombre outfits. In "Another Place", we watched the life story of an ordinary couple.

Photo: Ann Ray

The man interpreted by Stéphane was approachable; unlike those magnificent stories in classical ballet, there is no splendid or extreme technic in this choreography, but the simplicity in "Another Place" highlights, instead, the pure emotion and the beauty of movements.

Without the splendour on stage, the magic cast by Stéphane was that he brought the audience into a reflection of our soul and our life. It may not be accurate to the life event of every one of us, but Stéphane presented such a convincing story that seemed to create an illusion of our possible future.

This is what I love the most about Stéphane's performance this night; the extension of his body seems to touch our spirits gently. This is not a tragic story about "until death does us apart"; it's not a love story about the greatest devotion, either. On the contrary, the dance of Stéphane with Ludmila Pagliero elaborated a life that we could all experience. That's what makes a piece of art affecting, isn't it? The emotion conceived in Stéphane's dance was related to our heart, he created an intimate relationship between the audience, the character and him.

"Bravo! Stéphane!" The auditorium room sparkled while glitter fell down endlessly on stage. The standing ovation lasted for almost twenty minutes because audiences were not prepared to say goodbye to this marvellous étoile. Nonetheless, this night still needed to come to an end, adieu, et à bientôt, Stéphane.

(Article available in 2 other languages on Nereid, Elle Rêve)

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