Rise of a star, short film by James Bort, with Dorothée Gilbert
At the Opéra de Paris, we’ve been fortunate to have dancers who’ve paved the way on the subject of pregnancy over the past few years.
How did the idea for this short film come about?
A production company contacted my husband and suggested a fictional film loosely based on our own story. They worked a lot on the script together and then the production company asked me if I’d like to play the leading role.
Was it easy to work on this film with your husband?
Yes! We’re used to working together. In fact, that’s how we met [during the advertising campaign for Repetto]. I’m used to him taking photos of me. He often accompanies me when I dance abroad. Being with him in my first acting experience helped me enormously. We could talk about what he wanted. I was really quite at home. What’s more, the film was shot in my second home, the Opéra de Paris!
In this first screen role, you play alongside Catherine Deneuve in a film that’s been shortlisted for the Oscars. Something of a bonus, wasn’t it?
Yes, it was terrific! I think I was incredibly lucky to make my screen debut alongside actors of that calibre. In dance, when one’s partner interprets the role well and gives a lot of himself, it’s easier for a ballerina to respond correctly and express the right feelings. With Catherine Deneuve and Pierre Deladonchamps playing opposite me, I just needed to listen to them to capture the right mood.
You play a ballerina who’s struggling with the idea of telling the company directors that she’s pregnant. Is being pregnant still a real fear amongst professional dancers?
Less than twenty years ago, having a child was still a taboo subject. At the Opéra de Paris, we’ve been fortunate to have dancers who’ve paved the way on the subject of pregnancy over the past few years, and today it is much easier. Aurélie Dupont, our dance director, also has children. She’s a woman, so I think that she has a better understanding of what that experience means. However, for other dancers, in France and abroad, pregnancy may still remain problematic. I can think of one particular dancer in Lyon who was fired because she was pregnant. It is definitely not a subject that is no longer relevant.
How do you approach returning to dance after having had a child?
I was surprised to see how much the body remembered. It was more complicated from a psychological point of view. Some of my automatic reflexes didn’t function any more. I felt that if I weren’t exactly in the axis I had to be, my body wasn’t going to immediately reposition itself as easily as it did before. I had to pay great attention to that. It was stressful!
Have you danced differently since becoming a mother?
I don’t feel that is true in my body, but my artistic maturity will show that I feel it more. Something very powerful happened, which means that I do not approach roles in the same way as I did before. And it’s true that, with a child, one’s rest periods are no longer the same as before!