Manuel Legris

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Manuel Legris is a French ballet dancer, born in Paris on October 10, 1964. He was a star dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet for 23 years. Since September 1, 2010, he has directed the Vienna State Ballet.

Manuel Legris at the last stage in the Paris Opera Ballet


Career as a dancer[edit]

He started ballet lessons at the age of 8 under a local ballet teacher, Yvonne Guba. In 1976 at age 11, he started with the Paris Opera Ballet School and joined the Corps de Ballet at 16 years old in 1980. In 1981 he became "Coryphee", and was then promoted to "Sujet" in 1982. Exceptionally, Manuel Legris was appointed to the title "Etoile" on 11 July 1986, at age 21, by the Stage Director Rudolf Nureyev, bypassing the rank of "Premier Danseur." On that day, the company performed Raymonda, choreographed by Nureyev, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Legris danced the leading role of Jean de Brienne. At the end of the performance, he was named the principal dancer on the stage.

The succession of roles allowed him to become the new star developing a "large repertoire", revealing the many facets of his extensive gifts.[1] In addition to his intrinsic qualities of flawless technique[1] and expressive richness,[1] Manuel Legris established himself as an outstanding partner,[2] a complete dancer equally at home with the classical and the contemporary repertoires.[3] Thus, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian and Jerome Robbins alike, the most renowned choreographers continued to engage him: Manuel Legris participated in most entries to the repertoire or the creations of the Paris Opera.

At the same time, the reputation of the dancer crossed the borders very quickly. Manuel Legris was invited by the most prestigious companies, such as the Royal Ballet in London, the New York City Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet, the Tokyo Ballet, the Ballets of Monte-Carlo, Stuttgart and Hamburg where John Neumeier created especially for him Spring and Fall and A Cinderella Story.

As the permanent guest dancer, Manuel Legris appeared on all the prestigious stages of the world,[1] La Scala in Milan, the Met in New York, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi in Moscow, and most recently he performed several times at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Manuel Legris soon established himself as a sought-after partner,[4] and in addition to the etoiles of the Paris Opera, he performed with the greatest dancers of the world, including Evelyn Hart, Dominique Khalfoun, Alessandra Ferri, Lorna Feijoo and Diana Vishneva.

In addition, Manuel Legris traveled the world with his fellow dancers, "Manuel Legris et ses Étoiles." This concept was born in 1996 with the collaboration of Manuel Legris and Monique Loudières. There wishes were to allow young dancers to approach the solo roles still inaccessible for them at the Opera, and to enable them to work with leading choreographers forcing them to perform against the young artists.

The group was regularly invited to Japan. In January 2000, during a tour in Tokyo, Kishin Shinoyama, a successful Japanese photographer, published a photo book Manuel Legris A L'Opera de Paris, a book dedicated to him.

In 2003, Manuel Legris added two major works to his repertoire: Variations on Carmen by Roland Petit and Phrases of Quartet by Maurice Béjart. That same year, Maurice Béjart staged again The Song of a Wayfarer for him and Laurent Hilaire, giving them the exclusive performance.

In February 2004, Jiri Kylian created a Pas de Deux Il faut qu'une porte... at the Paris Opera where Manuel Legris danced with Aurélie Dupont. During the summer, he made another triumphant tour in Japan with his group, to which he added "special guests" Monique Loudières and Laurent Hilaire. Finally, in December he took part in the new work of Trisha Brown O zlozony / O composite, along with Aurélie Dupont and Nicolas Le Riche.

In December 2005, the Stuttgart Ballet offered him the title role in Onegin where he danced with Maria Eichwald and the company during a tour of Japan and in January 2006 in Stuttgart.

On November 19, 2007, he danced as the partner of Dorothée Gilbert, his favorite pupil of the dance school, in the Nutcracker at the Opera de Paris, which was performed without any costumes or set (due to strikes by staff), after which she was named Etoile.

He made his official farewell from the stage of the Opera Garnier on May 15, 2009, with the principal role of Onegin (for this exceptional performance, he requested the traditional Défilé of students and dancers in the Opera). Among the partners, Clairemarie Osta, Mathias Heymann and Myriam Ould-Braham were found on stage while he was applauded from the hall by numerous Etoiles of the House, former ballet masters such as Claude Bessy and Pierre Lacotte, and the Culture and Communication Minister Christine Albanel.[5] He received a standing ovation from the entire audience for nearly half an hour.[6] On this occasion he was awarded the insignia of "Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres"[7]

After official farewell[edit]

Manuel Legris continued to dance for a few months, especially abroad, before taking the reins of the Vienna State Ballet in September 2010. He brought to the company a number of ballets, including – for the 2010/2011 season – Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, Onegin, and a Triple Bill devoted to Jerome Robbins already performed in Paris.

Awards and distinctions[edit]





  1. ^ a b c d "Remise des insignes de Chevalier dans l'Ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur à Manuel Legris". Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Manuel Legris". Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. ^ "a conversation with Manuel Legris". Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Manuel Legris". Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Onéguine (3) : Manuel Legris ou l'honneur de la Danse". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Farewell of a Giant". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  7. ^ "remise des insignes à Manuel Legris, danseur étoile". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  8. ^ "MINISTÈRE DE LA CULTURE ET DE LA COMMUNICATION". Retrieved 4 October 2011.

External links[edit]