His arrival has many hoping he will revive the flagging fortunes of the famed company, whose audience has slumped in recent years. He will also direct the ballet's school.
Legris made his final company appearance in Paris on May 15 with a performance of John Cranko's Eugene Onegin at the Palais Garnier. It was an emotional evening, with a great number of fans in attendance. Legris is the last of the great dancers discovered and engaged by Rudolph Nureyev during his time in Paris. He will return to his home for guest appearances from time to time.
The performance was preceded by an honorary "D_fil_ du Ballet" - a "pass in review" of all the dancers and students at the Paris Opera Ballet.
A product of the ballet school, he was made a principal dancer at 16, and "Danseur Etoile" in 1986. He was able to work with the great choreographer who came to the Paris Op_ra: Tharp, Robbins, Forsythe, Neumeier, MacMillan and Kylian, and triumphed in new choreography as well as in classic roles. Among many other honors, he was awarded the Legion d'honneur by the French government.
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Here is a look at the ovation following Legris' final company appearance on May 15.
Photos by Sebastien Mathe