The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Paris Opera ballet dancers hang up shoes in pension-reform protest
A man holds a red flare as people holds CGT union's flags during a demonstration on December 10, 2019 in Paris as part of the sixth day of massive strike action over government's plans to overhaul the pension system. Unions have vowed to keep up the fight over the reforms, which are set to be finalised and published on December 11. Another mass demonstration is planned in Paris and other cities today, with teachers and other workers once again expected to walk out alongside transport workers. Zakaria ABDELKAFI / AFP.

by Rana Moussaoui



PARIS (AFP).- When tens of thousands of French workers downed tools and took to the streets in protest against pension reform last Thursday, in their midst was a seemingly unlikely group of aggrieved picketers: ballet dancers from the Paris Opera.

More accustomed to gliding across stages to orchestral melodies than pounding the pavement to the rhythm of angry chants, the dancers doffed their pointe shoes to defend a special retirement regime they have enjoyed since 1689 under the reign of the Opera's founder, the Sun King Louis XIV.

Though by no means their first strike, "in 20 years with this company, this is the first time that I saw dancers in the streets," said Alexandre Carniato, a dancer and troupe representative on pension matters.

Of 154 dancers employed at the prestigious opera house, "we were 120 who demonstrated, from the corps de ballet to the principals," he told AFP.

The arts have been a major casualty of the strike, which caused the cancellation of several top ballet, opera, and theatre shows in Paris, disappointing tourists and locals who need to book long in advance for the pricey seats.

The Opera said 11 shows have been cancelled at both its historic Garnier stage and the modern Bastille venue since the strike started last Thursday, representing a loss of 1.8 million euros ($2 million) in ticket revenues.

The performances cancelled have included the great classical ballet "Raymonda", the modern ballet "Le Parc" and a hugely ambitious new production of Borodin's opera "Prince Igor".

And it is far from the only French cultural institution to take a hit. The Comedie-Francaise, France's most prestigious theatre -- which also has a special pension regime -- cancelled performances as some of its staff went on strike.

Hired at 16
Carniato has just a year left before the obligatory retirement age of 42 for Paris Opera dancers brings the curtain down on his career.

The limit was set by taking into account the physical arduousness of the job, the high injury risk, and the assumption that most dancers cannot not continue performing at their best beyond a certain age.

"The Paris Opera Ballet is the only employer in France to train its future employees from the age of eight," tweeted dancer Adrien Couvez, adding the rate of work accidents in the sector "are among the highest in France."

From the moment a dancer "is hired by the Opera at 16, we have work days that last from 9:00 am to 11.30 pm... The older one gets, the more one worries about not being able to keep it up," said Carniato.

"At 40, some already have titanium (replacement) hips."

Carniato said he would earn a pension of 1,067 euros ($1,180) per month from next year, which would augment what he expects to be a salary of about 1,200 if he manages to find work as a school teacher.

"The biggest concern is finding a new job at the age of 42," he said.

These, the dancers say, are among the reasons for the special pension provision they now fear will be taken away.

But they are defending a regime that is envied by counterparts dancing for highly regarded ballet companies in cities like Bordeaux or Toulouse.

"The dancers of the Paris Opera are the only ones in France with this advantageous retirement age of 42 years," tweeted Marc Ribaud, ballet director at the Opera of Nice in southern France.

"All the other dancers have mainly part-time jobs with nothing at the end of it!"

Musicians on strike too
The government's reform plan seeks to unify 42 separate pension schemes into a single points-based system for all workers, which it says will be fairer, with fewer exceptions for certain sectors -- including rail workers who retire earlier than most.

The French state covers half of the Paris Opera's pension fund, about 14 million euros per year.

On top of its dancers, several other Opera workers are also on strike, including musicians and machine operators.

French Culture Minister Franck Riester confirmed to BFMTV that the Paris Opera's special regime would disappear.

"But does this mean that we will not take into account the realities of... certain jobs? Of course not," he said, without giving details.


© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

December 11, 2019

Man in black: Soulages gets Louvre tribute for 100th birthday

Banana-eating performance artist was 'hungry'

Vero Beach Museum of Art appoints new Museum Art School Manager

'It must have been love' Roxette singer dies aged 61

Collection gift expands Saint Louis Art Museum's holdings of American modernism

Princess Diana's 'Travolta' dress brushed off at auction

The Holy Family, separated and caged, in church protest

Revered by Aztecs, Mexican hairless dog in style again in hipster era

Exhibition of new works by Richard Tuttle on view at Pace Gallery

Chris Newth named Associate Director for Collections and Exhibitions at the Princeton University Art Museum

Ansel Adams and The American West Photographs from the Center for Creative Photograohy total: $1,098,250

Rare whiskey collection expected to fetch $10 million at auction

Jacqueline de Jong's first solo exhibition in the UK on view at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

Dozens of world records toppled in $9.4M Heritage Sports Card Auction

Gibbes Museum of Art announces winner of 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art exhibits its Latter-Schlesinger Collection of Portrait Miniatures

Christie's Handbags x HYPE totals $2.1 million with bidding from 22 countries

Great day for losers: Wimpy Kid author gets French medal

Panned 'Joan of Arc' film wins top French prize

Christmas in Iceland means a 'flood' of books under the tree

Turkey court keeps renowned philanthropist in jail

Eritrean artists profit from peace to make their mark on Ethiopia

Paris Opera ballet dancers hang up shoes in pension-reform protest

Interior Design Trends to Watch for in 2020

Want to Know How Art Collectors Take Care of their Priceless Collections? Read This!




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful