See photos above and story below!
In May, thanks to the efforts of Mme Isabelle Proetti, senior English professor at the school of Louis le Grand, and Mme Francoise Dartois, dance historian at the Sorbonne, a long standing dream came true. I was able to bring the ballet history of Louis le Grand's Jesuit years to the school as it is now. On May 25, I was the only non-French scholar invited to speak at the day-long Colloquium celebrating Louis le Grand's 450th anniversary. That week, incidentally, was one of the coldest May weeks in Paris since the 1870's, with sleet and temperatures near freezing--never believe Hollywood about spring in Paris. But the Colloquium was warm and wonderful--not least because of the excellent food and wine at lunch! (See pictures above of all the happy speakers around the table.) The anniversary colloquium was a day long program of scholars speaking about Louis le Grand's history to a large and distinguished audience of alumni, professors, parents, students and Parisians in general. I told the audience about the Jesuit ballets--and about Charles and how he produces those ballets in the novels--and I also showed video excerpts from a 1709 Louis le Grand ballet called L'Esperance, which I restaged in San Francisco in 1985. You can watch excerpts from it on this site's Charles's World page!
As I spoke, I imagined my novels' characters gathered to listen: real 17th century Parisians like Père Jouvancy, Père Le Picart, and Pierre Beauchamps, and Lieutenant-General La Reynie; past Louis le Grand alumni like Molière and Voltaire; and of course Charles. Afterwards, as I answered questions and then talked with people at the vin d'honneur (more wine!) reception, I realized how pleased--and proud--people connected with the school are that this piece of their history--which is also the history of Paris--is being brought alive in the Charles books. Being included in such a distinguished event, such a wonderful day celebrating Louis le Grand's 450 years, was a very great honor!