The Daily Telegraph called French ballet icon Sylvie Guillem “the most charismatic performer on earth”. She has been a star from the age of 19, from the moment Rudolf Nureyev plucked her from the corps de ballet of the Paris Opera Ballet and confided on her the title of étoile (that’s the leading ballet dancer in a company).
In 1988, after performing the title role in a production of Giselle staged by the Royal Ballet to celebrate Nureyev’s 50th birthday, she left Paris for London to become a freelance performer and one of the Royal Ballet’s greatest principal guest artists.
During that time, she was nicknamed ‘Mademoiselle Non’ because of her desire to work independently.
After an unparalleled career that has spanned almost 35 years of both dancing ballet and contemporary work, Sylvie presented her final dance programme in Life In Progress last week at Sadler’s Wells.
Due to extraordinary demand, additional UK dates have been added in London, Edinburgh and Birmingham. “There are some moments that are so extraordinary they defy physical logic,” said The Guardian. She was awarded the Olivier Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her exceptional contribution to dance.
Sylvie kindly signed my sketch at Sadler’s Wells.