Guillaume Diop, a young dancer who reaches the firmament

Guillaume Diop in the role of Albrecht, in “Giselle”.

Definitely, the stars are aligned in the firmament of the Opéra national de Paris. After Hannah O’Neill and Marc Moreau, Thursday March 2, Guillaume Diop, 23, has just been crowned. He was named after the performance of the ballet Gisel, Saturday March 11, in the morning (2 p.m. local time), at the LG Arts Center in Seoul (South Korea), where the troupe has been on tour since March 3. There’s danced the role of Albrecht, replacing star Hugo Marchand, alongside Dorothée Gilbert. José Martinez, director of dance, by delegation of Alexander Neef, general manager of the Parisian institution who remained in Paris, therefore greeted, translated into Korean in front of a conquered audience (as can be seen on Martinez’s Instagram account) , the performance of this young performer who created a surprise by skipping a rank in the hierarchy of the troupe.

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Freshly promoted to “subject” in November 2022, he thus reaches the ultimate title without going through the “first dancer” box, as required by the rules of the house. A rare phenomenon, even if similar cases have already taken place: Mathieu Ganio, in 2004, or Manuel Legris, in 1986, also directly achieved starred status. The radiant talent of Guillaume Diop, who for two years has successfully added up the great roles of the classical repertoire by replacing injured performers at short notice and masterfully, is therefore quickly and well rewarded.

Position papers

His appearance, Sunday, December 11, 2022, in Swan Lake, a peak of virtuosity and interpretation, on view at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, once again testified to his technique but also to his penetrating instinct to make varied characters his own. It was Dorothée Gilbert who asked to dance with Diop. “I know I can count on him, she confided. He has an instinct for partnership and I feel safe with him. » Entered at the age of 12 at the school of the Opera when he was not given any chance ” with his flat feet and buttocks…”, he joined the corps de ballet in 2018 and won the prize for young male ballet hope (Foundation for the influence of the Opéra national de Paris).

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The sequel spins. He stands out in classic pieces, including four large productions by Rudolf Nureyev, and in contemporary works with William Forsythe in Blake Work’s and Crystal Pite for The Seasons’ Canon. Guillaume Diop, born to a Senegalese father and a French mother, has also distinguished himself by his positions in favor of greater diversity at the Opera: he is one of the five black and mixed-race authors who signed the manifesto From the racial question to the Opera, written in 2020 and rocked the house. Today he joins the group of 18 stars, including 7 men, of the Parisian troupe, which has been sorely lacking in solid star figures for three years. Guillaume Diop will dance The Song of the Wandering Companionby Maurice Béjart, presented at the Opéra Bastille from 21 April.

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