More than a habit, it is now a ritual. At the start of each season, before launching its actual program, the Paris Opera offers spectators a gala evening. To the triumphant music of Hector Berlioz's Trojan March, the entire company takes the stage, and in turn, each comes forward to greet the audience.
No dance steps so far, except this way of walking typical of classical dancers who develop their legs forward while unbinding the movement. Like a soldier on parade, but with added grace!
To the fairer sex goes the honor of opening the march with first the young students of the dance school, then in turn the Quadrilles, the Coryphées, the Sujets, the Premiers danseurs and finally the Étoiles, while respecting well sure the hierarchy from the youngest appointed to the oldest. Then it will be the boys' turn to take center stage. It's simple, and yet the emotion is immense.
Another attraction of the parade, and not the least: revealing to the public the famous Foyer de la danse of the Opéra Garnier, usually separated from the stage. In the 19th century, this gilded room welcomed admirers of dancers who came there to wait for their muses. It was also a high place of social life where one had to show oneself. Thus, from the dance center to the orchestra pit, the dancers cover almost 50 meters.
Before Serge Lifar fixed the course of this ceremonial after the war – the first took place on October 22, 1947 – Léo Staats had already arranged another “Parade” in 1926 to The Tannhäuser March by Richard Wagner. But it was only given twice. In 1945, Serge Lifar decided to take up the idea, but obviously could not resume Wagner's music after the war. He therefore chose that of Berlioz. Performed only at the opening of the season or during galas or other exceptional events, the Paris Opera Ballet Parade is a unique ballet in the world of dance. A hypnotizing show that ends with a flamboyant final scene.