Dancers Trending

"I Barely Had My Own Corps Spot, and All of a Sudden I Had to Be a Principal."

Marchand recently debuted as the title character in Ongegin. Photo by Julien Benhamou, Courtesy Paris Opéra Ballet.

Once in a while, a prince will soar onto the stage fully formed and ready to take the repertoire by storm. The preternaturally elegant Hugo Marchand has done just that at the Paris Opéra Ballet. In Pierre Lacotte's La Sylphide, the ballet that earned him a promotion to étoile at just 23, Marchand articulated the steps with a polish and dramatic presence beyond his years. French ballet has found a bona fide leading man.


Company: Paris Opéra Ballet
Age: 24
Hometown: Nantes, France
Training: Nantes Conservatory, Paris Opéra Ballet School Accolades: 2017 Benois de la Danse, bronze at 2014 Varna International Ballet Competition

School blues: Marchand was admitted to the Paris Opéra Ballet School at 13. He spent four difficult years there before joining POB in 2011. "I didn't like the atmosphere or the rigid structure very much," he says. "We were given a lot in terms of comfort and training, but I thought it lacked humanity."


Go-to understudy: Benjamin Millepied noticed Marchand's potential as soon as he became POB's director, in 2014, and cast him as an understudy for leading roles. He made a string of impressive last-minute debuts in The Nutcracker, La Bayadère and Theme and Variations. "I barely had my own corps spot, and all of a sudden I had to be a principal," Marchand says. "Benjamin liked to throw us into the deep end, even if it wasn't perfect, and I got stronger with every opportunity."

"Hugo demands a lot of himself.

He sets an example for the company."

—Aurélie Dupont

Guiding hands: Experienced POB ballerinas, from Dorothée Gilbert to Marie-Agnès Gillot to Laura Hecquet, took the tall corps dancer—he's nearly 6' 3"—under their wing early on. "It was scary at first," Marchand says, "because I grew up admiring them, but they taught me so much."

Hugo Marchand Marchand in Balanchine's "Emeralds." Photo by Julien Benhamou, Courtesy Paris Opéra Ballet.

Made in Japan: Marchand was promoted every year under Millepied, and Aurélie Dupont followed suit. After another unplanned debut, as James in La Sylphide, Marchand was appointed étoile on a tour of Japan in March 2017. "I was so emotional, but it was a little lonely: You're promoted and then you go back to your hotel room," he admits with a laugh.


Je ne sais quoi: From Nureyev's Romeo to works by Balanchine, Millepied or William Forsythe, Marchand has shown precocious allure in a wide range of roles. Dupont predicts a long career for him: "With every role he progresses artistically, sometimes doubts himself too—and doubt is good for an artist."

Show Comments ()
What Wendy's Watching
PC Paul Kolnik

New York City Ballet is celebrating the Jerome Robbins Centennial with twenty (20!) ballets. The great American choreographer died in 1998, so very few of today's dancers have actually worked with him. There are plenty of stories about how demanding (at times brutally so) he could be in rehearsal. But Peter Boal has written about Robbins in a more balanced, loving way. In this post he writes about how Robbins' crystal clear imagery helped him approach a role with clarity and purpose.


Keep reading... Show less
Career Advice
92Y Harkness Dance Center is hosting the first festival dedicated to dance films captured on mobile devices. Photo by Adam Grannick, Courtesy 92Y

Who says you need fancy equipment to make a festival-worthy dance film? Right now, two New York City–based dance film festivals are calling for aspiring filmmakers to show their stuff—and you don't need anything more cumbersome than a smartphone to get in on the action.

Here's everything you need to know about how to submit:

Keep reading... Show less
News
The inimitable Alicia Alonso, now 97, remains at the helm of Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Photo by Leysis Quesada, Courtesy BNC

On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba tours the U.S. this spring with the resolute Cuban prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso a the helm. Named a National Hero of Labor in Cuba, Alonso, 97, has weathered strained international relations and devastating fiscal challenges to have BNC emerge as a world-class dance company. Her dancers are some of ballet's best. On offer this time are Alonso's Giselle and Don Quixote. The profoundly Cuban company performs in Chicago May 18–20, Tampa May 23, Washington, D.C., May 29–June 3 and Saratoga, New York June 6–8.

Dance in Pop Culture
Participants show off their plié. Screenshot via YouTube

We all know that the general population's knowledge of ballet is sometimes...a bit skewed. (See: people touching their fingertips to the top of their head, and Kendall Jenner hopping around at the barre.)

Would your average Joe know how to do ballet's most basic step: a plié? Or, more to the point, even know what it is?

SELF decided to find out.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Lisset Santander is adding more contemporary works to her repertoire. Here with Jarrett Reimers in Christopher Wheeldon's Fools Paradise. Photo by Jennifer Zmuda, Courtesy BalletMet.

When Lisset Santander bourréed onstage as Myrtha in BalletMet's Giselle this past February, her consummate portrayal of the Queen of the Wilis was marked by steely grace and litheness. The former Cuban National Ballet dancer had defected to the U.S. at 21, and after two years with the Ohio company, she's now closer to the dance career she says she always wanted: one of limitless possibilities.

Keep reading... Show less
Career Advice
James Samson in Three Dubious Memories. Photo by Paul B. Goode, courtesy Paul Taylor Dance Company

For 17 years, James Samson has been the model Paul Taylor dancer. There is something fundamentally decent about his stage persona. He's a tall dancer—six feet—but never imposes himself. He's muscular, but gentle. And when he moves, it is his humanity that shines through, even more than his technique.

But all dancing careers come to an end, and James Samson's is no exception; now 43, he'll be retiring in August, after a final performance at the Teatro Romano in Verona, where he'll be dancing in Cloven Kingdom, Piazzolla Caldera and Promethean Fire.

Keep reading... Show less
News
via Instagram

The wait for Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of Petipa's Harlequinade is almost over! But if you can't wait until American Ballet Theatre officially debuts the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 6, we've got you covered. ABT brought the Harlequinade characters to life (and to the Alder Mansion in Yonkers, NY) in a short film by Ezra Hurwitz, and it's a guaranteed to make you laugh.


Keep reading... Show less
Rant & Rave
The power dynamics and working environments in dance can leave women vulnerable. Photo by Soragrit Wongsa/Unsplash

When an anonymous letter accused former New York City Ballet leader Peter Martins of sexual harassment last year, it felt like what had long been an open secret—the prevalence of harassment in the dance world—was finally coming to the surface. But the momentum of the #MeToo movement, at least in dance, has since died down.

Martins has retired, though an investigation did not corroborate any of the claims against him. He and former American Ballet Theatre star Marcelo Gomes, who suddenly resigned in December, were the only cases to make national headlines in the U.S. We've barely scratched the surface of the dance world's harassment problem.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Wayne McGregor in rehearsal at The Royal Ballet, where he is resident choreographer. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy Royal Opera House

Many choreographers have been defeated by Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. However, one dancemaker whose stridency, rhythmic daring and sheer inventiveness could possibly match Stravinsky's is Wayne McGregor. For his first commission from American Ballet Theatre, McGregor has taken on this earth-cracking music in AFTERITE, to premiere at ABT's Spring Gala. Also on the May 21 gala program are excerpts from Alexei Ratmansky's restaging of the comic ballet Harlequinade, the full version of which will premiere next month, and a pièce d'occasion by tapper Michelle Dorrance. May 21–26. abt.org.

Style & Beauty
Marilyn knows what's up. Via Giphy

If diamonds are a girl's best friend, it's safe to say that faux-diamond earrings are a dancer's best friend. A fixture onstage at just about every competition weekend, these blinged-out baubles are also the surest sign that recital season is upon us again. And what better way to get into the sparkly spirit than by drooling over these 5 diamonds in the rough? (Sorry not sorry!)

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Viral Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways