His arrival has many hoping he will revive the faltering fortunes of the famous company, whose viewership has plummeted in recent years. He will also direct the ballet school.
Legris made his final company appearance in Paris on May 15 with a performance by John Cranko Eugene Onegin at the Palais Garnier. It was an emotional evening, with a large number of fans in attendance. Legris is the last of the great dancers discovered and hired by Rudolph Nureyev during his stay in Paris. He will return home from time to time for guest appearances.
The performance was preceded by an honorary “D_fil_ du Ballet” – a “pass in review” of all the dancers and students of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Coming from the ballet school, he was named first dancer at the age of 16, and “Danseur Etoile” in 1986. He was able to work with the great choreographers who came to the Paris Opera: Tharp, Robbins, Forsythe, Neumeier, MacMillan and Kylian, and triumphed in new choreography as well as classic roles. Among many other honors, he received the Legion of Honor from the French government.
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Here’s a look at the standing ovation that followed Legris’ last appearance in the company on May 15.
Pictures of Sebastien Mathe