Violette Verdy, French ballerina and teacher, Died at 82

Violette Verdy was born on December 1, 1933, and died on February 8, 2016.

She was a French ballerina, teacher, and writer.

She worked as a dance company director in France and the United States.

The french ballerina was the Distinguished Professor of Music (Ballet) at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, in Bloomington.

Mis Verdy started her ballet training at the age of eight, in 1942, during the German occupation of northern France.

After receiving her education in Paris with Carlotta Zambelli and later with Madame Rousanne Sarkissian and Victor Gsovsky.

Violette Verdy made her professional debut in 1945, soon after peace returned to Europe, in the corps de ballet of Roland Petit’s Le Poète at the Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt in Paris.

Just after, Violette Verdy became a member of Petit’s Ballets des Champs-Élysées, where she performed in numerous small roles over the next few years.

The Guillerm was chosen by famed German cinema director Ludwig Berger in 1949, to star in his film Ballerina, which was released in Europe in 1950 and known in America as Dream Ballerina.

She was critical praise for her sincere acting and pure classical ballet technique won her contacts and contracts with several European ballet companies.

She then adopted the stage name Violette Verdy, she then went on to dance with the reorganized Ballets des Champs-Élysées, the Ballet de Marigny, and Les Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit.

However, with the last-named troupe, she created the role of the heroine of Petit’s Le Loup (The Wolf, 1953), set to the music of Henri Dutilleux, which proved to be a significant turning point in her development as an interpretive artist.

Thereafter, Violette Verdy toured the United States with Les Ballets de Paris (1953) and London Festival Ballet (1954-1955) and appeared in leading roles with the ballet company of Teatro alla Scala (1955-1956) in Milan and with Ballet Rambert (1957) in London.

Whilst she worked with La Scala Ballet, she danced the title roles in full-length productions of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet, both choreographed for her by Alfred Rodrigues; with Ballet Rambert she danced the light-hearted Swanhilda in Coppélia and the more dramatic title role in Giselle, which became one of her signature roles.

Following that, she left New York City Ballet in 1977 to become the first female artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet, an illustrious but notoriously bureaucratic organization.

Three years passed and change in the French government administration led her to leave Paris and return to the United States in 1980.

Violette then became associate director and later sole artistic director of the Boston Ballet, a post she held until 1984.

Mrs. Violette Verdy received many honors and awards, including a 1968 Dance Magazine Award, the 2003 Artistic Achievements Award from the School of American Ballet, the 2005 Grand Prix Gold Medal at the International Ballet Festival of Miami, and the 2007 Irène Lidova Lifetime Achievement Award by Ballet2000, an international dance magazine.

Violette has also been named Doctor of Humane Letters at Skidmore College (1972) and Doctor of Arts at both Goucher College (1987) and Boston Conservatory (1997).

Violette Verdy passed away at 82 yrs old.