Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles have to be more than exquisite dancers: They must have all the poise, authority and elegance it takes to command the Palais Garnier stage. As Aurora in this excerpt from a 2000 taping of The Sleeping Beauty, Aurélie Dupont radiates with quintessentially French classicism. Even before she starts dancing, she enthralls with the regal tilt of her chin and arch of an eyebrow while greeting the courtiers. She floats through the variation with delicacy and precision, luxuriating in the classical port de bras but also sustaining each piqué and pirouette.
A world-renowned artist during her career, Dupont will now be tested on an even grander level when she succeeds Benjamin Millepied as the artistic director of POB in July. Dupont joins the likes of Brigitte Lefèvre, Rosella Hightower and Violette Verdy, who recently passed away, as a ballerina-turned director at the world's oldest ballet company. If we could, we'd ask each: Which is more challenging, winning hearts as an étoile commanding the spotlight or as the director guiding it? Happy #ThrowbackThursday!