French dancer, choreographer and actor.
After studying at the École de danse de l'Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Ballet School), he drove his professional career to suit his whims and exactingness. As such, he vacillated between periods of fame and periods of choreographic abandon. Although he began at the Ballets de Cannes in 1940, it was whilst he was at the Ballets des Champs-Élysées, between 1945 and 1949, that he became known as one of the greatest dancers of his generation and that he created his first choreographies. He was then invited to the Ballet Théâtre, to the Paris Opera, to the Scala and to the Staatsoper, then went on to found his own company (1956-1959). For a while he moved to cinema and theatre, then composed a ballet via computer for television. He directed the Ballet du Rhin over the 1972-1973 season. In 1979, he made a sensational comeback in Béjart’s Life, which he danced until 1985.
A somewhat out-of-the-ordinary dancer, who declared that dance was not a job, but a frame of mind, he developed a highly-personal way of working and, as such, sculpted a body which was always ready to engage in athletic, streamlined and ethereal dance, which conveyed an impression of perfect impregnability and naturalness, even during the acrobatic sequences which he adored. He rarely performed repertoire as he favoured creation, which included le Jeune Homme et la Mort (1946, R. Petit) which would give him legendary status alongside N. Philippart, his future wife.
His style of dancing was the formal component of his choreographies characterized by expressivity abounding in tenderness and poetry, which was particularly well appreciated.
Source : Marie Françoise Bouchon, Philippe Le Moal, Dictionnaire de la danse, Larousse, 1999
Artistic direction / Conception
Production / Coproduction of the video work
La Sept, Arcanal, Lieurac productions, participation : Procirep, ministère de la Culture et de la Commnunication (DMD, DDF), ministère des Affaires étrangères