Laetitia Pujol
Danseuse etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet

Laetitia Pujol was born on October 8, 1975. She started dancing at the age of eight in Toulouse, in southern France, and became a laureate of several national dance competitions. She won gold medals in the competitions of Houlgate (1990, 1991), Montpellier (1991), and la Baule (1992). She was also awarded the Grand Prix Méditeranéen in 1991.

In 1991 Pujol joined the Conservatoire de Toulouse and won First Prize in the Competition at Lausanne the following year, which allowed her to enter the Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra in Paris, immediately in the final year (the first division).

In the 1993 edition of the annual School performance Pujol danced the role of Lise in La Fille mal gardée with Jérémie Bélingard, in the version of the ballet by Claude Bessy (after Romanoff).

Upon graduation, in 1993, Pujol joined the Paris Opera Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to 'coryphée' in 1994. In July 1994 she won a Silver Medal at the International Competition at Varna.

In her first season with the Paris Opera Pujol appeared mainly in corps de ballet roles in productions like Swan Lake (Nureyev), Palais de Cristal, Serenade, Theme and Variations, Allegro Brillante (Balanchine), Magnificat, Sylvia (Neumeier), Le Parc (Preljocaj), Notre-Dame de Paris (Petit), Le Chant de la Terre (MacMillan).

In 1994 Pujol made her first appearance as a soloist when she danced Princess Florine in the Blue Bird pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty with Emmanuel Thibault, during the Evenings 'Jeunes Danseurs de l'Opéra' (Young Dancers of the Opera).

Her repertoire as a soloist increased further in the 1996-1997 season, when she performed the child in Agnes de Mille's Fall River Legend, Luisa in Rudolf Nureyev's Nutcracker, the Canary Fairy and one of the Precious Stones in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Scottish pas de deux in Pierre Lacotte's La Sylphide.

In 1998 Pujol danced the Peasant pas de deux in Act 1 of Giselle. The following year, in January 1999, performing the variations of Gamzatti and of Esmeralda from Notre-Dame de Paris, she was promoted to 'sujet'.

In 1999 she performed the pas de trois and one of the 4 cygnets in Swan Lake, as well as the djampo, the Manu dance, and 2nd shade in La Bayadère. Pujol moreover appeared in the IXe Symphonie de Beethoven by Maurice Béjart, as the partner of Laurent Hilaire and Nicolas Le Riche, and as Ada in Le Concours, also by Béjart. In The Sleeping Beauty she now danced the 2nd Variation in the prologue, the White Cat in the 3rd Act (which has been preserved on video) and again the Blue Bird pas de deux.

On March 8, 2000 Laetitia Pujol was promoted to 'premiere dansèuse'. At the competition she danced variations from Raymonda and Etudes (Lander). Her repertoire at the Paris Opera was augmented with the roles of the Sister in Nureyev's Cendrillon, and in the 2000-2001 season with Henriette in Raymonda, and Clara in The Nutcracker (with José Martinez). She also danced Polyhymnia in Balanchine's Apollo and performed the pas de trois in Emeralds, the first section of the newly acquired Jewels. William Forsythe selected Pujol to dance in his The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, while Jiri Kylian choose her for his new creation Bella Figura. In Pierre Lacotte's new adaptation of Paquita, she danced the pas de trois in the 1st Act. Finally, in this season Pujol also performed in two works by Jerome Robbins, Other Dances and The Cage.

In the 2001-2002 season Pujol danced Gamzatti in Nureyev's La Bayadère (among others with Kirov guest star Svetlana Zakharova as Nikiya and Jean-Guillaume Bart as Solor) (November-December 2001) and was selected to dance Catherine in Kader Belarbi's new ballet Hurlevent, based on Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (February 2002).

In December 2001 Pujol performed in a gala at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow with Jean-Guillaume Bart, dancing Carnival in Venice and the Pas de deux of Gamzatti and Solor from the 2nd Act of La Bayadère.

At the issue of her first Kitri in Nureyev's Don Quixote (replacing an indisposed Clairemarie Osta) on May 2, 2002, Pujol was nominated etoile.

On January 20, 2003 she danced the pas de deux from Don Quixote (with Eric Vu An) in the Gala evening dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev.

In the 3nd International Ballet Festival at the Maryinsky (February 21 - March 2, 2003) she performed the leading role in Balanchine's Emeralds.

Laetitia Pujol is a recipient of:

* Gold medal at the Competition at Houlgate, France, 1990 and 1991
* Gold medal at the Competition at Montpellier, France, 1991
* Grand Prix Méditeranéen, 1991
* Gold medal at the Competition at la Baule, France, 1992
* 1st Prize at the International Competition at Lausanne, 1992
* Silver medal at the International Ballet Competition at Varna, 1994
* Prix du Cercle Carpeaux, 1997

Laetitia Pujol can be seen on the following video :

* in the 2nd variation of the prologue and as the White Cat in Act III of The Sleeping Beauty, Paris Opera Ballet, 1999

Her repertoire includes:

The Sleeping Beauty (Nureyev after Petipa), princess Florine (1994).
Fall River Legend (de Mille), the child (1996).
The Nutcracker (Nureyev), Luisa and Pastorale (1996).
La Sylphide (Lacotte after Taglioni), pas de deux de écossais (1996).
The Sleeping Beauty (Nureyev after Petipa), Canary Fairy and Precious Stones (1996).
Giselle (Polyakov/Bart after Coralli/Perrot), pas de deux des vendangeurs (1998).
Swan Lake (Nureyev after Petipa, Ivanov), pas de trois and little swan (1999).
La Bayadère (Nureyev after Petipa), Manu dance, djampo dance, 2nd Shade (1999).
La IXe Symphonie de Beethoven (Béjart) (1999).
Le Concours (Béjart), Ada (1999).
The Sleeping Beauty (Nureyev after Petipa), 2nd variation in Prologue, White Cat (1999).
Cendrillon (Nureyev), the Sister (2000).
Raymonda (Nureyev after Petipa), Henriette (2000).
Apollo (Balanchine), Polyhmynia (2000).
The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude (Forsythe) (2000).
The Nutcracker (Nureyev), Clara (2000).
Jewels (Balanchine), Emeralds pas de trois (2000).
Paquita (Lacotte after Mazilier and Petipa), pas de trois (2001).
The Cage (Robbins), the Novice (2001).
Other Dances (Robbins), soloist (2001).
Bella Figura (Kylian), Cora (2001).
Hurlevent (Belarbi), Catherine (2002).
La Bayadère (Nureyev after Petipa), Gamzatti (2001).
Don Quixote (Nureyev after Petipa), Cupid and Kitri (2002).
Pulcinella(Dunn), (2002).
Giselle (Coralli, Perrot), title role (2002).
Sylvia (Neumeier), title role (2002).
Paquita (Lacotte after Mazilier and Petipa), title role (2003).
Jewels (Balanchine), Emeralds leading role (2003).
La Petite Danseuse de Degas (Bart), title role (2003).
The Four Temperaments (Balanchine), Sanguinic (2003).
Symphonie en ut (Balanchine), 1st movement (2003).
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine) (2003).
Concerto Barocco (Balanchine), (2003).
Liebeslieder Walzer (Balanchine), (2003).

Laetitia Pujol has been touring worldwide with the Paris Opera Ballet. She moreover appeared with the group of Manuel Legris in Japan, performing Tarentella (Balanchine) and pas de trois from Paquita with the Tokyo Ballet (1998).

Sources :

* Material supplied by the press office of the Paris Opera.

Marc Haegeman, 2002

Marc Haegeman's site FOR BALLET LOVERS ONLY

Last update - 10.05.2004
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