Violette Verdy obituary

French ballerina noted for her pure classical technique and the musicality she brought to her roles

The ballerina Violette Verdy, who has died aged 82 after a stroke, will be vividly remembered through the roles created for her, principally after her career took her from her native France to the US. Her light, easy jump, beautiful feet, intelligent musicality and sparkling personality can all still be seen in those works, even when danced today by other performers. Wit and exceptional musicality combined with a pure classical technique were her hallmarks. One of her partners, Edward Villella, said she was “the most musical dancer I have ever met”.

In 1957 she was invited to join American Ballet Theatre as a guest artist for an arduous coast-to-coast tour, and it was here she had her first introduction to the choreography of George Balanchine. She also had a considerable success in the New York premiere of Birgit Cullberg’s Miss Julie, dancing the title role opposite the supremely gifted Erik Bruhn, with whom she formed a friendship both on and off stage. “His classical purity, even in Miss Julie, helped me retain my own,” she remarked.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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