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About the Company
The Paris Opera Ballet School is the oldest institution of its kind. Founded in 1713 by Louis XIV to train future dancers for the Royal Academy of Music and Dance, the forerunner of the Opera. Until 1977 the pupils of the Ballet School only appeared occasionally on stage, in small roles that were part of the Paris Opera Ballet’s productions at the Palais Garnier. Today, they have the chance to present an entire performance. Every year, the school presents a series of ballets taken from the traditional repertoire and preserved from generation to generation, or of new works created especially for the pupils.

Director Elisabeth Platel entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1975, joining the Corps de Ballet the following year, at age 17 and was awarded first prize at the Paris Conservatory. Further, she won the silver medal at the Varna Competition. She was promoted to Première danseuse in 1979, dancing soloist roles in The Rite of Spring; Serait-ce la mort (Maurice Béjart); La Sylphide (Pierre Lacotte); Don Quixote (Rudolf Nureyev); Swan Lake (Bourmeister version); and Paquita. After her debut in the title role of Giselle in 1981, she was awarded the title of Etoile. Subsequently, she danced the full repertory at the Opéra: The Sleeping Beauty; Noces (Nijinska); Song of the Earth (MacMillan); The Nutcracker (Neumeier); as well as ballets by Balanchine; Lifar; Robbins; and Nureyev. Platel has danced in many new ballets created at the Opéra: Life (Béjart, 1979); Manfred (Nureyev, 1979); Schéma (Alwin Nikolaïs, 1980); Vaslaw (Neumeier, 1980); Raymonda (Nureyev, 1983); Premier Orage (Lucinda Childs, 1984); Swan Lake (Nureyev, 1984); Before Nightfall (Nils Christe, 1985); Sans armes citoyens! (Rudi van Dantzig, 1987); Les Anges Ternis (Karole Armitage, 1987); Magnificat (Neumeier, 1987); La Bayadère (Nureyev, 1992); and Sylvia (Neumeier, 1997). In 1983, she received the West End Theaters Award (London), the Massine prize in 1998, and the Benois prize in 1999. She is entitled Chevalier of Arts and Letters, Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and Officier of the Ordre National du Mérite. She also worked with Claude Bessy to restage Suite en Blanc (Lifar) in 1996 and Daphnis et Chloé; (Skibine) in 1998 for the theatre of Rio de Janeiro. She has also worked with Pierre Lacotte on La Sylphide for the same theatre in 1997 and on Paquita for the Paris Opera Ballet in 2001, in addition to acting as an advisor for the films La Belle au bois dormant in 1997 and Raymonda in 1998, produced by Fran&ced;ois Roussillon. She became Director of the Paris Opera Ballet School in September 2004.


Related Articles
Review - "'Proteges': Ballet Steps From the Past Into a Bright Future": The Washington Post - Washington, DC (Jan. 28, 2006)

Review - "Showcase for the World's Young Dancers": The Washington Post - Washington, DC (Jan. 28, 2006)