Aurélie Dupont: From a Petit-Rat to a Great Star

By Juliana Araújo

“Beautiful like a star, fresh like a rose, dedicated like a soldier and strong like a lumberjack” – l’espace d’un instant

She is beautiful and delicate, but when she comes on stage, turns into a real giant. In addition to her impeccable technique Aurélie is also known in her field as a great actress of roles that are offered to her.

Born in Paris in 1973, Aurélie joined the School of Dance of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1983. As a child, she wanted to be a pianist. Each year, she awaited a piano as a Christmas present, but when she saw that the piano never arrived, she decided to join the dance school, where at least could dance to the sound of the piano. Aurélie used to spend hours next to the piano, and never needed to count the tempos in order to carry out a variation.

The petit-rat, as the Danse School students were also known as, joined the Paris Opera Ballet, initially as a sujet, having been promoted to Étoile Dancer on 31 December 1998, after playing Kitri on the Don Quixote ballet.

Achieving glamour has never been her main objective. She told L`Express that the extension of a dancer’s leg must never overshadow arts and poetry. Dance is more than wonderful turns. It is freedom of expression and incarnation of a character. Wise, Aurélie has never sacrificed her personal life in favour of succeeding professionally. While she has strived to excel professionally, she made her dream of becoming a mother come true; and has never succumbed to the weight loss dictatorship to meet the unreasonable demands of her career. She speaks openly about the rigidity of the School, whose direction was always preoccupied in maintaining the reputation of being the best School in the world. ” In fact, on the documentary Étoile on the Paris Opera Ballet, she said that one of the greatest obstacles that came her way was the grief that resulted from the School strict teaching Finally, the petit-rat has grown up, matured and learned to show all her emotions on stage, which she could not do in the Dance School.

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Aurélie Dupont

In her constant quest for improvement, Aurélie has won several competitions. She has worked with the best choreographers of our time; and with each of them she has faced a different challenge. With Nureyev, it was the agony to succeed technically. The Dame of the Camelias by John Neumeier, was an emotionally demanding piece of work. Pina Bausch’s and Preljocaj’s works were extremely strong and bold and Kylian’s was sublime and creative.

Aurélie is also known to have been a regular partner of Manuel Legris. Together they performed great pieces of the classical and contemporary repertories, such as Don Quixote, Le Parc, La Bayadère amongst others.

With over a 20 year old career, she said that pain accompanies her day and night. She knows the pros and cons of her career, and understands the challenges and priorities change with age. She knows that the strength and vitality of a person of 20 years old may be outweighed by the experience and wisdom of a mature Étoile. There is a greater balance that you achieve when you reach 35 years old and it is possible to dance with more pleasure.

Aurélie has accepted an invitation to shoot L’Éspace d’un Instant by Cedric Klapisch. The film director filmed for three years and included scenes of when she was still a student at the Dance School. The reason why Aurélie agreed to participate in the shooting was the desire to show the realistic side of ballet that is not widely known by the public. She talks about her stage comeback experiences, after the birth of little Jacques, her son with the equally Étoile Dancer Jérémie Bélingard As a mother, she resents the periods when she and Jeremy go on tour outside Paris, but recognises that the tours help to keep herself fit. Aware that her retirement time is approaching, she has began to make plans for the future.

I looked for Aurélie performances` dates, because one of my dreams is to watch one of her ballets before she retires. Rather, I discovered that one of her greatest passions, besides dance and music is her hair jewelry brand on sale at the Paris Opera shop.

After returning from maternity leave of her second child, Georges, Aurélie performed on Wayne McGregor’s latest work: L’Anatomie de la Sensation that took place at the Opera Bastille on June 29. At the end of the season, she took part in the St Prex Festival Classics Festival, where she performed a choreography created by Jérémie for Nigel Kennedy’s performance. Nigel’s experimental that included Bach and Jimi Hendrix, was critically acclaimed, and now we are awaiting our Étoile´s next challenge.

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