“I didn’t expect it at all”: Frenchman Guillaume Diop becomes the first black star dancer at the Paris Opera

the essential
At just 23 years old, Guillaume Diop was promoted to star status on Saturday March 11. And this, without going through the “first dancer” box, a particularly rare fact.

He won the Grail. The Paris Opera named Frenchman Guillaume Diop star dancer on Saturday March 11 after a performance of Giselle in Seoul.

#Star⁰Guillaume Diop named Star Dancer of the Paris Opera by @josecmart2504 on delegation of Alexander Neef, at the end of the representation of #Giselle by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot at the LG Arts Center in Seoul, this 03/11. A big congratulations! ??⁰https://t.co/AesAPx3ZZA pic.twitter.com/RrsZlTcYr7

— Paris Opera Ballet (@BalletOParis) March 11, 2023

A historic promotion since it is the first time that the institution has designated a black star dancer. He is also one of the five black and mixed-race authors of the manifesto of “The racial question at the Opera” written in 2020 following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, report our colleagues from France Info.

Star without going through the “first dancer” box

Very rare fact, Guillaume Diop reached the title of star without going through the “first dancer” box, the previous grade. At just 23 years old, Guillaume Diop has already been entrusted with several star roles, thus dancing the main male roles in La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet report our colleagues from Figaro. His appointment comes just over a week after those of New Zealander Hannah O’Neill and Frenchman Marc Moreau, promoted after a performance of Imperial Ballet by George Balanchine, at the Palais Garnier in Paris.

Having become the young hope of the company for more than a year, Guillaume was born in 2000. He was introduced to dance at the age of four before beginning his apprenticeship in 2008 at the 18th arrondissement conservatory.