Manuel Legris

Danseur Étoile from Paris Opera and Director of the Wiener Staatsballett.

Manuel Legris was born in Paris and trained at the ballet school of the Paris Opéra. He joined the Paris Opéra School in 1976 and the Company in 1980 and was appointed Danseur Étoile by Rudolf Nureyev on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New Yorkon 11th july1986.

He performed the great roles of the classic and modern repertory and participatedin many creations during more than 25 years. Manuel Legris’ repertory at the Paris Opéra Ballet included the leading roles in works by Lacotte, Nureyev, Neumeier,Petit,Mac Millan, Balanchine,Robbins,Forsythe, Kylián,Béjart, Ashton, Bart,Cranko,Fokine, Lander,Lifar, Bournonville, Bourmeister, Duato, Brown, Mats Ek, Preljocaj, Tharp, Tudor, Van Manen and van Dantzig. Beside Paris Opéra he was guest artist with renowned ballet companies all around the world.

In May 2009, he gave his farewell performance as Danseur Étoile of the Paris Opéra but decided to be still on stage dancing for special events or creations. Since September 2010, Manuel Legris is Director of the Wiener Staatsballett and Artistic Director of the Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera.

In the course of his career Manuel Legris often appeared in Vienna:Bérangerand Jean De Brienne in Nureyev’s“Raymonda”,Prince Florimund in Nureyev’s “Sleeping Beauty”, Des Grieuxin Kenneth MacMillan’s “Manon”. He premiered a solo from Renato Zanella“Angel”and took part in the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2001 New Year’s Concertand different other galas. As Director of the Wiener Staatsballett, Manuel Legris gave an international level and renommée to his company,was staging different productions from Nureyev (“Swan Lake”, “Nutcracker”, “Raymonda”, “Don Quichotte”) as well as “La Sylphide” from Pierre Lacotte and others. He took the company on worldwide tours (Japan, France, Spain,St. Petersburg etc.) and increased the repertory byalmost 150 new pieces. He introduced in Vienna a new generation of choreographers like Lightfoot/Leon, Liang, Dawson, De Bana, Clug, Ekman, Wheeldon, Horecna, Thoss, Proietto, Bubenicek, Pickett, McGregor…

Manuel Legris created two classical full length ballets for the Company “Le Corsaire” in 2016 and “Sylvia” in 2018.

Prizes and Honours:
1st prize in the ballet competition in Osaka (1984) Prix Nijinsky (1988), Prix Benois de la Danse (1998) Nijinski Award (“Best Dancer in the World, 2000”) Prix Positano(2001).

Chevalier des Arts etLettres (1993), Officier des Arts et Lettres (1998).

Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (2002), Chevalier de la Légiond’honneur (2006), Commandeur des Arts etLettres (2009).

2016 he won the People’s Choice Award for his gala performance as Ulrich in Roland Petit´s“Die Fledermaus” at the XV. DANCE OPEN International Ballet Festival at the Alexandrinsky Theatre,

Entiteld to Honorary Member of Vienna State Opera after the Nureyev Gala 2018.










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