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The grit and the glory: French ballet star Marie-Agnès Gillot looks back on stunning career – via twitter

March 14, 2018, by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.



                                                              Marie-Agnès Gillot
 “Growing up in the northern French town of Caen,Marie-Agnès, Gillot  never even heard of the Paris Opera Ballet. She was far more interested in animals and the countryside. But her ballet teacher was quick to spot her potential and at the age of 9 she joined the Paris Opera Ballet school as a boarder.

But at the age of 12, she grew 12 centimetres in a year and was diagnosed with double scoliosis. Fearing an operation would leave her handicapped, she chose to wear a neck-to-hip corset for six years instead – only removing it to dance, and hiding the corset from her fellow ballerinas.

“There were other tall dancers,” she says with a flash of steely resolve. (Gillot stands at 5 foot 9 inches, or 175 centimetres in her bare feet.) “They just liked to give the tall dancers a hard time. In any case I was always the best. If you’re tall and you’re rubbish that’s one thing, but if you’re tall and you’re good that’s OK, no?”

She continued to prove her detractors wrong, joining the ballet company at the precocious age of 15, the youngest-ever dancer to do so. She was made a prima ballerina at the relatively late age of 28. “I’d been waiting for it for so long,” she says of the honour, but it was “special” to be given it for a contemporary ballet – “Signes,” by the American choreographer Carolyn Carlson.

Indeed, it was only after dancing the contemporary ballets that Gillot began to land the great classical roles.

She is now retiring at age 42.

Fine Art in the New Media

Since this blog covers Fine Art in the New Media, this post will examine how the Paris Opera Ballet used twitter to announce the retirement of one of its greatest princilal dancers.

Twitter is usually seen as the platform for news, presidents, celebrities, politics, and more. Twitter is usually breaks a story first,  almost instantly, and is then picked up and then covered by the rest of the media.

A simple tweet links to and article in in France 24, which has the full story, and embedded videos of  key moments in Marie-Agnès Gillot’s career. From there to the full access to the internet to study her career, see stunning images, videos of some of her major roles, and her choreography, all beginning with a tweet.  Twitter is an excellent use of the New Media to make Fine Art accessible to everyone, everywhere with a few simple clicks, and no complicated user interface.

And now, some of her work.

Marie-Agnès Gillot



“At the age of 36, she became the first in-house prima ballerina to choreograph a ballet at the Opera Garnier.  I was always being chosen by the choreographers – by all the geniuses,” she says.  She worked with choreographers such as Pina Bausch, who was “extremely precise, thorough and demanding”, as well as Carlson, Maurice Béjart, William Forsythe and Wayne McGregor. “But I wanted to create ballets myself.”’

Below is a clip of her well-received “Sous Apparence,” all the women, and men, dance on point for the entire piece.” ( All quotes:  France 24.)

“Her official farewell ceremony takes place on March 31 – she won’t be resting on her laurels anytime soon. She plans to work with McGregor again and is looking forward to playing the part of a “madwoman” in a forthcoming ballet of “Titicut Follies” adapted from Wiseman’s documentary on the patient-inmates of an asylum for the criminally insane.”





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