The dancer François Alu prefers “to leave the place of star to someone who will occupy the position full time”


François Alu, star dancer of the Paris Opera, May 10, 2022.

Definitely! With the leaping, twirling, elusive François Alu, there is always something going on. Barely seven months after his nomination as a star of the Opéra national de Paris, on April 23, the dancer left the institution. While he had been chomping at the bit to win the supreme title, here he is saying goodbye to the house. “I just want to fully resume my life as an artist and be able to devote myself to new projects, he says, reached on the phone. By the way, be available for my one-on-stage Completely thrown awaycurrently on tour, developing my desires for cinema and writing a new show, being a juror in the TF1 show “Dance with the Stars”, while participating from time to time in ballets at the Opera, meant nothing. »

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The tone is light, the joke always ready to burst: “I may be greedy, it was too much. » So it’s “The Big Jump”, as he chose to call his stage exit from the Opera in the press release announcing his departure, Wednesday, November 23. Official star, he had still not signed his contract and was still discussing with Alexander Neef, general manager, the terms and conditions of his new position. “Alexander Neef was very benevolent, very attentivehe says. The Opera has changed a lot. But I’ve been there for twelve years. We no longer live in the days when people stayed with the same company all their lives. »

Obviously, the exchanges did not succeed. “We tried to find a basis of agreement. But our expectations and those of François Alu were a little too far apart,” declared Alexandre Neef from Cayenne (Guyana), where he is currently participating in the launch of the cultural cooperation operation “L’Opéra en Guyane”. “It’s an amicable departure, he specifies. Despite everyone’s good will, we did not agree on the projects, the presence of François Alu in the house with regard to his desires. That’s a shame. But as dance director José Martinez says, being a star means putting the Opera first. And we are not going to repeat the past. »

The moment is delicate

This past, precisely, seems to weigh in the balance. First of all, everything goes very quickly for Alu. Ultra-talented, launched like a bomb, climbing the hierarchy at full speed, he was promoted to first dancer on November 6, 2013. He won the ultimate title only a little more than eight years later, which makes it a case in the context of the institution. It is supported by a fan club that this injustice revolts more and more over time, and makes it known. On April 20, spectators hoping for his appointment at the end of the performance of The Bayadere, at the Opéra Bastille, and not seeing her coming, rise up, shouting to the one who was then the director of the dance: “Alu star, Aurélie Dupont resignation! » He is three days later, considering his stellar status “like a crowning glory [sa] artist’s freedom. “Curiously, this star finally arrived when I had detached myself from it”, he says today.

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