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Dorothée Gilbert: Prix Feminin de la Danse de l'Arop, 2002-2003


By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 24 November 2003Spontaneous, fresh and natural, dark-haired Dorothée Gilbert is coryphée at the Paris Opéra Ballet. A member of the corps de ballet, where more often than not, one often passes unnoticed.

But not so Dorothée, who from her earliest years has attracted attention, as the gipsy soloist in The Two Pigeons, staged by the Paris Opéra School when she was barely fourteen, and as a captivating Firebird in the ballet of the same name the following year.

"But I've had to fight all the time!", she exclaimed when we met after rehearsals at the Palais Garnier where she is currently working on a Balanchine programme.

"When I auditioned for the school here, I was refused admittance", she told me. "I had the right physique, but they didn't like what I did in class and I sent me away. I did everything wrong."

"My family aren't artistic at all, and I was only sent to ballet lessons for something to do. My mother thought dancers had the right comportment and a certain allure, but soon after starting I realised how much I loved music and movement. The refusal in Paris only strengthened my determination to be a dancer, and I worked twice as hard at the Conservatoire of Toulouse near my home, and then auditioned both for Roland Petit's school in Marseilles, and the Paris Opéra Ballet a second time. This time I passed and came to Paris with my family."

Dorothee Gilbert
Dorothée Gilbert in Tchaikovsky pas de deux
© Photo: Icare

In September 2000, she was offered a place in the corps de ballet of the Paris Opéra Ballet, a month or so before becoming finalist at the International Competition of Paris, a result she dislikes to recall. .

"I didn't win the gold medal", she says bluntly, "but in a way, it wasn't such a bad thing as it merely increased my determination to work even harder and get everything right, and again, when I was not promoted from quadrille to coryphée my first year," she commented..

No matter, Dorothée Gilbert draws your eye even in the back row of the corps de ballet. She distinguished herself in the pas de trois of Pierre Lacotte's Sylphide in the programme Jeunes danseurs barely one year after her arrival in the company, and again, partnered by Audric Bezard, in the same programme this summer, in Balanchine's exhilarating "Tchaikovsky pas de deux", when she stunned not only by her technical assurance, precision and style, but also for her great artistic possibilities. Chosen by the Canadian choreographer, Edouard Locke, she also participated in the creation of André Auria.

But this exceptionally gifted dancer, who does not win all the medals first time round possesses something much more important. Young as she is, she has an unmistakable stage presence, an inborn charisma that does not come from her impeccable schooling. As one of the six fiancées in Swan Lake her body, slender and supple danced when she was motionless. She has temperament and personality, all the qualities necessary to ensure that one day she will dance her dream role, that of Juliet. !

Meanwhile, Dorothée Gilbert will be interpreting the peasant pas de deux, better known as the pas de deux des Vendangeurs in the company's forthcoming production of Giselle. And many ballet fans are already waiting for that night"

Patricia Boccadoro writes on dance in Europe. She contributes to The Observer and Dancing Times. Ms. Boccadoro is also the dance editor of

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