But before the end of that season, Mr Millepied announced his resignation and in July left, replaced by former Paris Opera star Aurélie Dupont. It was Mme Dupont, together with Stéphane Lissner, the director of the Paris Opera, who presided over this year’s event, and although the ballets on the program were commissioned by Mr Millepied, and its gala format was followed closely, his name was never mentioned. (An Opera spokeswoman said the gala raised “about the same” amount as last year, about $1.12 million.)
In a post-show speech, Ms. Dupont hailed the diversity of the company’s repertoire as “unique in the world”; it should be remembered that whatever Mr. Millepied may have done right or wrong during his short tenure, it was he who convinced Mr. Forsythe to create his first ballet in 17 years for this company, and it was he who invited Ms. Pite, born in Canada. , a key figure in Anglo-Saxon dance and almost unknown in France.
The audience jumped to their feet (unusual here), clapping wildly at the end of “Seasons’ Canon,” set to Max Richter’s adaptation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” It is not difficult to understand why. Working with 54 dancers, Ms. Pite has created massive blocks of movement that focus on large-scale patterns to often thrilling effect.
The bodies undulate in waves on the stage; intricate formations swirl spiritedly as several groups run in different directions, taking sequential positions and then snapping off again. The dancers fall like dominoes; line up and wrap their arms down; stop suddenly and shake your head, neck, and upper body in abrupt, robotic unison. It’s tribal, futuristic, and a bit like an opening ceremony for a post-apocalyptic Olympics.
The performers, dressed by Nancy Bryant, each wear baggy khaki green pants; the women have transparent flesh-colored tops, the men are bare-chested. Their throat is painted blue-green; the only flash of color on the dark stage, enlivened to often brilliant effect by a backdrop of swirling smoky lights and dazzling colors. (Set design by Jay Gower Taylor, lighting by Tom Visser.)