Sylvie Guillem

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by LyricLyn
Last updated 8 years ago

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Sylvie Guillem

Sylvie Guillem (born February 25, 1965 in Paris) is a French ballet dancer who has performed with the Paris Opera Ballet and is currently a guest principal dancer with the Royal Ballet.As a child, Guillem trained in gymnastics under the instruction of her mother, and at age 11, she began training at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Eventually she joined their company in the corps de ballet at 16 years old. In 1983 Guillem won the gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition. On December 29, 1984, at the young age of 19, Guillem became an etoile of the company after her first performance of Swan Lake. She created the leading role in William Forsythe's contemporary ballet, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated in 1987. In 1989, Guillem shocked Rudolf Nureyev when she left the Paris Opera Ballet to become the principal guest artist at the Royal Ballet.Extremely flexible, Guillem became controversial for her high extensions, which some detractors said ruined the line of classical ballet. They called it "ear whacking." However, many dancers have since become if anything even more flexible than Guillem. And Guillem's style allowed her to dance both the classical roles and more contemporary works with equal success.


Sylvie Guillem was born febuary 25, 1965 in Paris France.She was one of the youngest women to be educated at the Paris Opera Ballet.

Sylvie Guillem In December 1984, after her performance in Nureyev's Swan Lake, she became the Paris Opera Ballet's youngest-ever étoile, the company's top-ranking female dancer.Later in her life she was the first to recieve the Nijinsky prize for world's best ballerina.

Lasting Impact

Sylvie Guillem opened the door for other francphones in the ballet industry


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Sylvie Guillem


Lyric Witherspoon

Sylvie Guillem dancing


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