24 November 2023

In this photo taken on December 20, 1974, French dancers Michaël Denard (left) and Ghislaine Thesmar (center) rehearse a scene from the ballet

Some liked to portray him as “ballet archaeologist”. Pierre Lacotte, French dancer and choreographer, died at the age of 91, announced to Agence France-Presse (AFP) his wife, the star dancer Ghislaine Thesmar. “Our Peter abandoned us at 4 a.m.”said M.me Thesmar, stating that he died in a clinic in La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var, of sepsis triggered by the infection of a wound.

“He was full of energy and had projects for companies” including the Rome Opera Ballet, said the woman who married him in 1968, adding that he “was writing a book”.

Pierre Lacotte has devoted his life to reconstructing 19th century balletse century to which he has revived for the largest companies in the world. His last creation dates back to October 2021, when he was already almost 90 years old. It was the ballet adaptation of Stendhal’s novel, The Red and the Black for the Paris Opera. “He loved the Opera, it was his one and only home”assured M.me Thesmar.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers At the Paris Opera, Pierre Lacotte dresses his ballet in red and black

“When I recreate, I’m looking for the flavor of the time”

Born on April 4, 1932 in the Paris region, he joined the school of the Paris Opera in 1942 despite poor health. He joined the corps de ballet and then became principal dancer in 1951.

Interested in choreography, he founded the Ballets de la tour Eiffel company, after resigning from the Opera, then from 1959 led a career as a dancer and independent choreographer.

In June 1961, he was one of the protagonists of the resounding defection of the legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who fled the USSR, at Le Bourget airport.

A few years later, in 1968, an ankle injury forced him to slow down his activity and it was then that he devoted himself to researching archives of old ballets, pushing him to go back The sylphthe first ballet sur pointes (1832).

Our Archive (1974): The sylph

These recreations will become his passion. He will resurrect, among other things, Coppelia (1870), the Pas de six by La Vivandière (1844), The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862), paquita (1846) for the greatest stages in the world, from the Bolshoi to the Paris Opera, via the Mariinski, the Staatsoper in Berlin. “When I recreate a ballet, I am looking for the flavor of the time”he said.

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Pierre Lacotte also held several positions in dance houses, including the Ballet de Nancy et de Lorraine (where he succeeded Patrick Dupond).

“He was a lover of the classical and romantic period but he loved what was modern”told AFP Brigitte Lefèvre, former director of dance at the Opera.

The World with AFP

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