Nicolas Le Riche's 'Caligula'. Photo Laurent Philippe

“Sujet” at the Paris Opera, he has a double soul. His success as a choreographer has lead him to consider creating ballets as a second profession. Thought he never forgets his first love: dancing. Now, while the French Opera House brings again on stage his “Répliques”, Nicolas Paul opens up about his approach to choreography, ballet, work ethic. And explains why he is not worried about opinions and criticisms.

Paris is extremely cold at daybreak. The sunlight is soft and warm, but the air is icy. The Paris Opera seems to be waking up when I meet Nicolas Paul a few minutes before nine o’clock.
It looks like it is too soon for the frenzy of rehearsals, somehow. We sit down in the canteen of the Palais Garnier, where, in the early morning, the air smells of a mix of coffee, wine and soap powder.
Nicolas has been a Soloist of the Paris Opera Ballet since 2002, dancing Forsythe, Robbins, Neumeier, Béjart, Bausch. At the same time, he has started choreographing in 2001. And he has never stopped.
This season, the company of the French maison has just brought back on stage his “Répliques”, a one-act ballet Nicolas created in 2009 set to music by Gyögy Ligeti.

What was your first approach to ballet?

I have been loving music since when I was a little boy, I grew up listening to all the great composers. I started studying ballet at seven in Strasbourg, in a private school. I joined the Paris Opera Ballet School four


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Interview by Alessandro Bizzotto

Nicolas Paul and Alice Renavand in Pina Bausch's 'Orphée et Eurydice' © Agathe Poupeney


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