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Farewell Miss Guillem!

October 6, 2015

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We cannot talk about Sylvie Guillem, without mentioning her charismatic personality. Known in the dance field as “Miss no” or even the “alien”, she is a rare person able to impose her vision of dancing into the most honorable operas. She began her national career at the age of 11, when in 1976 she was nominated to participate in the Olympic Games of Moscow, Russia. And on December 24th 1984, after a memorable representation of  Swan Lake, Noureev, the most famous dancer in the world makes her prima ballerina. This nomination is historical in the dance environment as she is the youngest nominee as prima ballerina. Sylvie Guillem, the tenacious worker starts then an exceptional career. But as she has a big personality, she does not hesitate to leave the institution which appears as a kind of provocation from the dancer who appreciates to show her independence and self-confidence. In fact, she joined the London National Opera Ballet to be named “permanent invited star”. She starts an international adventure, deeply cheered by her public, incredibly passionate; she will never stop dancing…

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And today, at the age of 50, the 39-year-old-experienced ballerina, the unstoppable, decides to put an end to her career. But to give her best in her last crazy inspired instants, she initiates a worldwide farewell tour. She wants to thank her public and  say goodbye to her artistic territory: the stage. « Tout simplement parce que je souhaite arrêter heureuse en faisant ce que je fais, comme je l’ai toujours fait, avec passion et fierté. » (Simply because I want to stop happy, doing what I do, as I have always done it, with passion and pride.) « Parce que je ne veux pas me décevoir, ni décevoir le public. Parce que je n’ai pas envie d’être mal jugée, moins aimée… .».(Because I do not want to disappoint neither myself, nor the public. Because I don’t want to be judged, less loved…) , she declared. She wishes she could keep her dignity and all the strength she gained during all these years. Sylvie wants to succeed her race against time: “Je prefère arrêter avant qu’il ne soit trop tard, avant que quelqu’un le décide pour moi. Il faut une fin claire et nette.” (I prefer to stop before it is too late, before someone decides for me. There has to be a clear and definite end), she specifies. Here are the words of a perefectionist who needed everything to be complete.

All along 2015, she has danced one last time on all the principal stages she has known throughouther career, such as Athens, Moscow, London, Genes, Barcelona, Sydney, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, New-York and Japan with her “Life in Progress” show, choregraphed by Akhram Khan.

On September, 20th she presented at the Theatre des Champs Elysées so exceptional a representation  that the spectators applauded, shouted and thanked her for almost 20 minutes. Crying, she said goodbye after an unexepected tribute from her dear friend: Guillaume Gallienne from La Comédie Française. Nevertheless, she will pronounce her last farewell in Tokyo, Japan on December  20th.  Like in the show, which offers a poetic metaphor of her whole life, she indicates that she, now, needs to go on the other side of the stage. But her passionate public will never forget what she brought to art. No doubt about it, she epitomizes what Paul Valéry said about dancing: ” Je croyais que les pieds de la danseuse savaient seulement dessiner, je vois aussi qu’ils savent penser et même écrire…” (I thought the dancers’ feet only knew how to draw, but I see that they also know how to think and even write…)

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Emma

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