On the occasion of a programme devoted to George Balanchine, the Paris Opera pays tribute to the dancer Violette Verdy. In both the United States and Paris, she never ceased to champion and bring to life the master of neoclassicism's work.
Principal dancer at New York City Ballet, Violette Verdy was first a pupil of George Balanchine and then, for eighteen years, the leading exponent of his working. She danced the full range of Balanchine’s highly varied repertoire and stood out for her technique, musicality and style. At the New York State Theater in 1975, during the Ravel Festival, Violette Verdy and Jean-Pierre Bonnefous, her French partner at the New York City Ballet, gave the premier performance of Sonatine, the apotheosis of Verdy’s career. Back in France, from 1977 until 1980, she took over the direction of the Paris Opera Ballet where she passed on her expertise with rigour, enthusiasm and good humour. She would return to the Opera many times afterwards to work with the dancers and the pupils of the Ballet School.