Lycette Darsonval


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(orig. Alice Perron; b Coutances, 12 Feb. 1912; d St Lô, 1 Nov. 1996)

French dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She studied at Paris Opera Ballet School and joined the Paris company in 1930. She left in 1933 to guest abroad, with Lifar among others, returned in 1936, and was promoted étoile in 1940. She remained with the company until 1960, although she spent some time guesting and also touring with her own small group in France and abroad. A virtuoso, expressive dancer, she performed the major ballerina roles as well as creating leading roles in several ballets, including Lifar's David triomphant (1937), Sylvia (1941), and Suite en blanc (1943) and Balanchine's Le Palais de cristal (1947). She also choreographed two works for the Opera (one of the few women ever to do so) and successfully re-worked Sylvia for the company in 1979 (staging it also for Central Ballet of Peking in 1980). She gave her farewell performance in Giselle in 1959 by which time she was already director of the Opera Ballet School (1957–9, the first woman appointed to the position). Between 1963 and 1964 she was maîtresse de ballet at Nice Opera Ballet and between 1971 and 1976 professor of dance at Nice Conservatory. In 1975 she returned to the Paris Opera School as teacher. Her many honours include Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mérite and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Subjects: Dance.

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