Spotlight: Mathilde Froustey

This week's Spotlight Saturday focuses on French ballerina Mathilde Froustey.

In 'La Bayadere'

Born June 8 1985 in Bordeaux, France, Frosty began ballet training in 1994, aged 9, to help with a back problem. In 1998, she started training at the Marseille National School of Ballet. Her teacher, Colette Armand, then suggested that she audition for the Paris Opera Ballet School, which she did, joining the school in 1999.

In 'Don Quixote' with Pierre-Arthur Raveau

She joined the Paris Opera Ballet in 2002 and was promoted to Coryphee in 2003. In 2004, she won the gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition with Josua Hoffalt, and was promoted to soloist the following year. She has also been involved in groups outside of the Paris Opera, including being one of the founding members of 3e etage, directed by Samuel Murez, and performed in the group Manuel Legris & Friends, which toured Japan.

In 'La Bayadere'

Despite appearing in lead roles with the Paris Opera Ballet since 2006, including as her favourite role (Kitri in Don Quixote), she was not promoted to principal dancer with the company. No one seemed able to explain this lapse, not even the artistic director Brigitte Lefevre, but some have ventured that Froustey's style was too dynamic for the Paris Opera, which generally prefers restraint.

In 'Carmen'

She was offered a position by Manuel Legris as principal dancer with the Vienna State Ballet after seeing her dance Lise in La Fille mal gardee in 2012. She stayed on at the Paris Opera Ballet for only a short time on the advice of Legris, and was the first top-ranking dancer to leave the Paris Opera in many years.

In 'Grand Pas Classique'

Frosty then accepted a position as principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet in 2013. She had previously met with the company's artistic director Helgi Tomasson at a competition in 2006, where they had been introduced by Jose Martinez, an etoile with the Paris Opera Ballet. Froustey made an inquiry about the job by phone and received the contract in the mail a week later, the first time a principal dancer joined the company without a formal audition. In 2014, during her first season with the San Francisco Ballet, she performed in Giselle having learnt the role in ten days. At present, she remains with the San Francisco Ballet.

In 'Giselle'

Thanks for reading!

- Selene

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