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Manuel Legris (October 10, 1964, Paris, France) is a French ballet dancer. He was an étoile (star dancer) of the Paris Opera Ballet for 23 years. On September 1, 2010, he began direction of the Vienna State Ballet. He was appointed artistic director of La Scala Theatre Ballet in December 2020.[1]

Manuel Legris at the last stage in the Paris Opera Ballet


Career as a dancer

Manuel Legris 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. He finally was appointed 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.

Legris established his reputation in both classical and contemporary choreography, attracting the notice of choreographers such as William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian, and Jerome Robbins, who continued to engage him. He also earned invitations to dance companies such as the Royal Ballet in London, the New York City Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet, and the Tokyo Ballet, as well as the Ballets of Monte-Carlo, Stuttgart, and Hamburg, where John Neumeier created Spring and Fall and A Cinderella Story especially for him.

Legris has performed all around the world, including in[2] La Scala in Milan, the Met in New York, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi in Moscow, and, most recently, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. While touring, he has partnered with Evelyn Hart, Dominique Khalfouni, Alessandra Ferri, Lorna Feijoo, and Diana Vishneva.

In 1996, Legris founded his own dance troupe, "Manuel Legris et ses Étoiles", as a collaboration Monique Loudières. The pair hoped to allow young dancers to reach the solo roles still inaccessible for them at the Opera by giving them a chance to work with leading choreographers.[citation needed]

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, Béjart staged again The Song of a Wayfarer for Legris and Laurent Hilaire, giving them the exclusive performance.

In February 2004, Legris danced opposite Aurélie Dupont in Jiri Kylian's Pas de Deux, "Il faut qu'une porte...", at the Paris Opera. He then joined Trisha Brown's "O zlozony / O composite", with Dupont and Nicolas Le Riche.

In December 2005, the Stuttgart Ballet offered him the title role in Onegin where he danced opposite Maria Eichwald.

On November 19, 2007, he danced with Dorothée Gilbert, a favorite pupil of his, in "The Nutcracker" at the Opera de Paris, after which she was named Etoile.

He made his official farewell from the stage of the Opera Garnier on May 15, 2009. Many of his former partners, including Clairemarie Osta, Mathias Heymann and Myriam Ould-Braham, came to see him off, as did former ballet masters such as Claude Bessy and Pierre Lacotte, and the Culture and Communication Minister Christine Albanel.[3] He received a nearly 30 minute standing ovation[4] after receiving the insignia of "Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres".[5]

Since his farewell, Legris took charge of the Vienna State Ballet. From 2010 to 2020, he directed numerous ballets for the company, including Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, Onegin, and a Triple Bill devoted to Jerome Robbins. Legris stepped down from the Ballet after his contract ended in 2020 and assumed his current position of artistic director of La Scala Theatre Ballet.[6]

Awards and distinctions





  1. ^ "Manuel Legris Named Artistic Director of La Scala Ballet". Pointe Magazine. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Remise des insignes de Chevalier dans l'Ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur à Manuel Legris". Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Onéguine (3) : Manuel Legris ou l'honneur de la Danse". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Farewell of a Giant". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  5. ^ "remise des insignes à Manuel Legris, danseur étoile". Archived from the original on 2013-12-15. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Manuel Legris Named Artistic Director of La Scala Ballet". Pointe Magazine. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  7. ^ "MINISTÈRE DE LA CULTURE ET DE LA COMMUNICATION". Retrieved 4 October 2011.