Cultural events

The Paris Opera Ballet


  • The ballet and school dance of Paris Opera on the stairs of the Palais Garnier, 2012 | Photography by Agathe Poupeney / OnP

    The ballet and school dance of Paris Opera on the stairs of the Palais Garnier, 2012

  • Practical information

  • Bibliothèque-musée de l'Opéra

    every day from 10.00am to 6.00pm

    Full price: 10 €
    Reduced price: 6 €

    FNAC Reservation: 0892 684 694 (0,34 €/mn all taxes included) and at

from June 5, 2013 to September 1, 2013 Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra

After being an excellent dancer who promoted the ‘ballet de cour’ with splendor and prestige, Louis the 14th decided not to dance anymore in 1670. Eager to make dance a full performing art and provide a quality training for dancers, he founds the Académie royale de Musique by letters of patent dated March 1661. It should “provide advice about the best way to improve (dance) and correct abuses” to remedy the professionals’ weakness in the field staining the reputation of royal performances. On June the 28th, 1669, the king also allows the poet Pierre Perrin to found an Académie d’opéra. But the privilege is eventually sold to Jean-Baptiste Lully, the music superintendent appointed for life at the head of the Académie royale de Musique, in March 1672. He calls on Pierre Beauchamp to settle the dancing performances of his lyric tragedies: Paris Opera and its ballet are created.

In 1713, at the end of his reign, Louis the 14th decides to found a dance school at the Opera, that will provide quality of teaching to dancers. First opened to adults only, it also welcomes children from 1784. Since then, it has been having authority to pass on the repertoire and be opened to first productions.

The story of Paris Opera Ballet and the story of its Dance school are irremediably connected; they are illustrated by about a hundred documents from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Paris Opera, the Centre national du costume de scène in Moulins, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours: paintings, sculptures, drawings, set and costume sketches, written choreographies, photographs, costumes, archives.

From Beauchamp to Brigitte Lefèvre, from the first persons in charge of the dance school, Maximilien Gardel and Jean Dauberval to Elisabeth Platel, the exhibition presents the major institutional and aesthetical breaks undergone by the Ballet and its School. It also focuses on the Ballet as an attraction for painters such as Edgar Degas, on the social dimension of ballets, on the following major characters and evolutions in the Company’s repertoire: the introduction of the ‘ballet d’action’ and the role of Jean-Georges Noverre at the end of the 18th century, the birth of the romantic ballet initiated by Filippo and Marie Taglioni, the invention of neo-classicism with Serge Lifar, collaborations with painters, the contribution of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Carlson and Rudolf Noureev, Brigitte Lefèvre’s policy promoting creation and close relationships with famous international choreographers such as Pina Bausch, Trisha Brown, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, JiriKylian, John Neumeier, Angelin Preljocaj…

Tuesday, July 16, 2013