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Paris Opera Ballet Biographies

Patrick Dupond Biography

After experimenting with sports and martial arts as a child, Patrick Dupond found himself taken with the dramatic flair of classical music coupled with the gracious movements of dance. He was recognized as a great talent immediately, but it was not until Max Bozzoni became his teacher that Dupond was able to rise to the level of the elite. After working tirelessly with Bozzoni, he quickly progressed and eventually secured a place within the Paris Opera Ballet Company. In 1980 he became a ballet celebrity after winning the Gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria.

After the victorious competition, Patrick’s dream of becoming principle dancer for the Company was finally made a reality, allowed him the opportunity to dance alongside legends such as Rudolf Nureyev and Alvin Ailey. He was named Artistic Director of the French ballet in Nancy in 1988. Two years later, Dupond returned to the Paris Opera becoming its Dance Director.

In 2000, Dupond was in a nearly fatal car accident that forced him to relearn the art of dance from scratch. His old mentor, Max Bozzoni, came back to Dupond’s aid, patiently retraining the dancer, and allowing him to continue his resounding career, enchanting audiences with his captivating and communicative dancing.
 
 
Noëlla Pontois Biography
 
French native Noëlla Pontois entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1953, before joining the Company itself 8 years later. After being promoted to principle dancer in 1966, Pontois spent the following 25 years showcasing her delicate style, that featured exceptional balance and romantic elegance, as Prima Ballerina of the Company.
 
A frequent partner of Ballet great Rudolf Nureyev, Pontois’ graceful styled seemed most at home performing the classical repertoire of the 19th century, but she was equally adept performing in original roles such as Roland Petit's Adage et variations and Descombey's Jazz Suite. After guest stints at Companies such as the London Festival Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, she retired from dance in 1983. However, after 5 years of retirement, her love of Ballet stayed strong and she began a second career in education, teaching at the Paris Opera Ballet School.
 
 
Sylvie Guillem Biography
 
Born in February of 1965, French ballerina Sylvie Guillem originally trained to be a gymnast before enrolling in the Paris Opera Ballet School at age 11.  At 16, she was promoted into the Company and a year later, after winning the Varna International Ballet Competition, Guillem became an “etoile” of the company after her first performance of Swan Lake. She went on to create a lead role for William Forsythe's modern ballet, “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated” in 1987, before shocking her fellow Company members, particularly Rudolf Nureyev, and leaving the Paris Opera Ballet Company to become the principal guest artist at the Royal Ballet.
 
Guillem was often criticized for her high extensions, which were said to disturb the line of classical form. However, Guillem viewed her extreme flexibility as an asset that helped develop her reputation as a world class dancer and solidify her influential style as a pioneer of contemporary ballet.