Paris Opera Ballet: the Etoiles (principal dancers)
The principal dancers of the Paris Opera
Ballet are called "étoiles" (this word usually
means "star" in French).
The present "étoiles"
There are now 10 "étoiles": 4 female
dancers, and 6 male dancers, and also one female guest
female dancer (Marie-Claude Pietragalla).
Unlike the other dancers,
who are promoted thanks to the POB competition, they are chosen
directly by the directeur de la danse. They don't need
to be premiers danseurs: for example, Manuel Legris
or Laurent Hilaire simply were sujets when Rudolf Nureyev
decided to choose them... And they can be chosen at various
ages: for example, Nicolas Le Riche
was only 21, while Carole Arbo was 32.
Like all the other POB dancers, the female
dancers retire at the age of 40, and the male dancers
retire at the age of 45. However, some of them sometimes
choose to retire earlier; on the other hand, some étoiles
might be invited as guests once they've left the company
(for example, Noella Pontois made her last performance
in The nutcracker when she turned 50).
The present étoiles are:
- Female étoiles:
- Isabelle Guérin
(born in 1961, since 1985- retired in 2001)
- Elisabeth Maurin
(born in 1963, since 1988)
- Marie-Claude Pietragalla
(born in 1962, principal dancer since 1990, guest dancer since the
beginning of 1999)
- Carole Arbo (born in 1961,
since 1993- retired in 2001)
- Fanny Ga´da (born in
1961, since 1993- retired in 2001)
- Agnès Letestu (born
around 1971, since 1997)
- Aurélie Dupont (born in 1973,
since Dec. 31, 1998)
- Laêtitia Pujol (born in 1975, since May 2002)
- Male étoiles:
Some previous "étoiles"
Here's a partial list of the previous étoiles
of the Paris Opera Ballet. Most of them retired at the
"normal" age, but some of them left the company
earlier, such as Sylvie Guillem or Patrick Dupond.
- Previous female étoiles:
- Elisabeth Platel (
born in 1959, étoile between 1981 and June 1999)
- Sylvie Guillem (born in 1965,
étoile between 1985 and 1989, now dancing as a guest
principal artist with the Royal Ballet in UK).
- Franšoise Legrée (born in
1957, étoile between 1983 and 1997).
- Monique Loudières
(born in 1956, étoile between 1982 and 1996, now
dancing as a guest dancer).
- Claude de Vulpian (born in 1952, étoile
between 1978 and 1993).
- Florence Clerc (born in 1951, étoile
between 1978 and 1991).
- Dominique Khalfouni (born in 1951, étoile
between 1976 and 1980, she left the company to join the Ballet
de Marseille. Now teaching in the Ballet de Marseille's school).
- Ghislaine Thesmar (born in
1943, étoile between 1972 and 1983,
guest étoile between 1983 and 1989. Now one
of the teachers of the ballet).
- Wilfride Piollet (born in 1943, étoile
between 1969 and 1983, guest étoile between 1983 and 1988.
Still dancing and teaching, with her husband Jean Guizerix).
- Noêlla Pontois (born in 1943,
étoile between 1968 and 1983, guest étoile between
1983 and 1990. Now one of the teachers of the ballet).
- Nanon Thibon (born in 1943, étoile
between 1965 and 1983).
- Claudette Scouarnec (born in 194?, étoile
between in 1964 and 1980?).
- Christiane Vlassi (born in 1938, étoile
between 1963 and 1978, now teaching at the POB
- Jacqueline Rayet (born in 1932, étoile between
1961 and 1974).
- Claire Motte (born in 1937, étoile between
1960 and 1977, later POB ballet master. She died in 1986).
- Claude Bessy (born in 1932, étoile between
1956 and 1972. Director of the POB dance school since 1972).
- Josette Amiel (born in 1930, étoile between
1958 and 1971, now teaching at the POB dance school).
- Marjorie Tallchief (1937, 1957-62)
- Christiane Vaussard (1923, 1947-61, former POB school
- Yvette Chauviré (1917, 1941-1972.)
- Lycette Darsonval (1912, 1940-53, d.)
- Solange Schwartz (1910, 1940-?)
- Suzanne Lorcia (1902, d. 1999)
- Previous male étoiles:
- Charles Jude (born
in 1953, since 1977)- he retired in 1998 and now leads the Ballet de
- Jean-Yves Lormeau
(born in 1951, étoile between 1981 and 1996,
now director of the Ballet of Rio de Janeiro in Brasil).
- Patrick Dupond
(born in 1959, étoile betwen 1980 and 1997,
former director of the company)
- Jean Guizerix (born in 1945, étoile between
1973 and 1990, still dancing and teaching).
- Patrice Bart (born in 1945, étoile
between 1972 and 1989, ballet master of the POB since 1989)
- Jean-Pierre Franchetti (born in 1945,
étoile between 1971 and 1989).
- Michael Denard (born
in 1944 in Germany, étoile between 1971 and 1989, former dance director
of the Berlin State Opera, now teaching and acting).
- Jean-Pierre Bonnefous (born around 1944,
étoile between 1965 and 1969, he left the company
to become a principal dancer of the New-York City Ballet
and now is a ballet teacher in the USA with his wife
- Cyril Atanassoff (born in 1941,
étoile between 1964 and 1986, guest dancer
between 1986 and 1988, and now one of the teachers of the company).
- Attilio Labis (born in 1936, étoile
between 1960 and 1972, now he's one of the ballet teachers of the company).
- Peter Van Dijk (born in 1929 in Germany, étoile
between 1955 and 196?, later director of several ballet companies
in Germany, France or Switzerland, and ballet teacher. He died
- Flemmimg Flindt (born in 1936 in Denmark, étoile between
1960 and 196?, later he was the director of the Royal Danish Ballet).
- Michel Renault (born in 1927, étoile
between 1946 and 1959, later a free-lance dancer and
a ballet teacher. He died around 1993.)
- Alexandre Kalioujny (born in Czechoslovakia in 1923,
étoile between 1947 and 195?, he retired as a dancer
in 1961 and became a ballet teacher in Nice. He died in the 80s).
- Max Bozzoni (born in 1917, étoile between 1947 and 1963,
later he taught at the POB dance school.)
- Youly Alagaroff (born in 1918, eacute;toile between
1952 and 1964, he later worked as an impresario. He died
- Serge Peretti (born in Italy in 1910, he became
an étoile in 1931; after retiring as a dancer he was
a teacher of the company between 1963 and 1970, and taught at
the POB dance school until around 1993. He died in 1997.)