"I Barely Had My Own Corps Spot, and All of a Sudden I Had to Be a Principal."
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
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."
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."
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."
- Hugo Marchand - Opéra national de Paris ›
- Hugo Marchand (@humarchand) • Instagram photos and videos ›
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.