Paris Opera and Ballet to appoint diversity and inclusion officer

Posted on: February 11, 2021

“The Paris Opera has vowed to overhaul its recruiting practices as it launched a drive towards greater diversity in the heart of its elite ballet company, orchestra and dance school,” reads an unsigned article in Monday’s (2/8) Agence France-Presse. “The issue has already sparked fierce debate in France…. But amid Black Lives Matter protests across France and deepening debate over its colonial legacy, general director Alexander Neef remained unrepentant about the need for greater diversity, and in an online press conference on Monday promised a shake-up of the 350-year-old institution. A report by the historian Pap Ndiaye and right advocate Constance Riviere has set out recommendations including an active effort to send recruiters out into the world in search of talent rather than relying on dancers coming to them…. The authors [called] for decentralised exams in towns across France and its overseas territories. They said attention was needed … to move beyond ‘old and tenacious ideas’ about black bodies as somehow ill-suited to classical dance…. Paris Opera will appoint a dedicated ‘diversity and inclusion officer,’ Neef said…. A consulting body of experts from inside and outside the Opera will also look at what these issues mean for its repertoire.”