José Martinez, new dance director

The suspense ended on Friday, October 28. Alexander Neef, director of the Paris Opera, has announced the name of the successor to Aurélie Dupont, who resigned as dance director last June and left her post on July 31.

It is therefore José Martinez, former director of the National Dance Company of Spain and star dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet, who is the lucky one. The 53-year-old artist was chosen from among 23 people, 8 of whom were auditioned, who applied. Their various projects were examined by a selection committee whose original mission was to support Alexander Neef in this strategic choice.

An ardent and refined dancer

Born in Cartagena on April 29, 1969, the Spaniard José Carlos Martínez was a dancer with a refined, ardent and haughty technique and expressiveness, as evidenced by his exceptional artistic record. He is indeed the only dancer to have been crowned with the three most famous international awards, the Benois dance prize, the Varna competition gold medal and the Lausanne prize.

Trained at the age of 14 at the Rosella-Hightower International Dance Center in Cannes, he joined the Paris Opera’s dance school in 1987 and, when he finished school, joined the house ballet. He will follow the course, step by step: corypheus, subject, first dancer and, supreme consecration, star dancer at the end of a performance of The sylphMay 31, 1997.

A choreographer who deploys his talent

Dancer, José Martinez is also a choreographer and created his first ballet, Mi Favoritain which he humorously mixes lively and tender tributes to illustrious “colleagues”, past or present: from Marius Petipa to William Forsythe, from George Balanchine to Fred Astaire or Maurice Béjart…

Many plays will follow, including scaramouch, in 2005, for the dance school of the Paris Opera. Still at the Opera, his Children of Paradise inspired by the famous film by Marcel Carné opened the 2008-2009 season, investing not only the stage but other areas of the Palais Garnier. It is moreover with the role of Baptiste, alongside Agnès Letestu in that of Garance,that the star dancer will bid farewell to the Opera in 2011. With emotion but without regrets and determined to live new adventures in his native country.

Promote Spanish dancers

At the end of the 2000s, he launched his artistic project “José Martínez en Compañía” which aims to attract to their country Spanish dancers whose careers flourish more abroad. Without forgetting to promote young national talents.

According to Alexander Neef, José Martinez will know “ensure the stability, influence and excellence of the Paris Opera Ballet”. Its mission will be to appease a ballet (154 dancers) sometimes destabilized, after the media nomination and the departure which was just as much of Benjamin Millepied, followed by the sometimes tense “reign” of Aurélie Dupont.

“Aware of the tremendous potential and the challenges facing the company, I want to put myself entirely at its service. I will work on it by seeking the best cohesion between all the driving forces of the house and by obtaining the support of the dancers and the teams of the Paris Opera.said José Martinez just after his appointment.

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