Laura Hecquet The way my life has changed

19.03.2016

One year after becoming an Étoile, the Paris Opera Ballet new star recalls her beginnings, her love for music, the obstacles she met and overcame. And, now that she feels free and self-assured, she explains to ALESSANDRO BIZZOTTO why she is not the same anymore. And she is trying something new.



Laura Hecquet will be with me in a second. As I am having a phone call at the first floor of the Palais Garnier, waiting for her just a few weeks before the explosive announcement that new Paris Opera Ballet boss Benjamin Millepied will be leaving, the silence around is almost supernatural. I am still on phone when she arrives, a few minutes late, wearing jeans, her hair free. A sophisticated, questioning glance.
Laura, who began studying ballet in Dunkerque at the age of six, is undoubtedly one of the most technically and physically gifted dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet today. Millepied named her Étoile less than six months after starting to direct the company, and less than three after she won the annual competition and was promoted to Première danseuse, or First Soloist.
I quickly end my call, and I find out she is not a theatrical person. The newest Étoile at the Paris Opera does not involve me in a friendly conversation, but answers my questions in a politely composed voice. She looks as if she had the whole afternoon to sit down and talk, though.
«I was on stage yesterday, and I will be on stage tomorrow and the day after» says Laura, looking at me in a vaguely pensive manner. «Different ballets, different styles… A challenge for my body. But it is great, after all».

Have you ever had doubts about becoming a ballet dancer?

I became a ballerina casually. I think doubts were not a part of my life, while being a ballet student. My parents used to listen to music and I started enjoying dancing on it. That’s why they gave me the chance to attend a ballet school. But I had never seen a whole ballet, and I didn’t know absolutely anything about the education and the life of a professional ballerina. Music did lead me to ballet, somehow.  

Laura Hecquet in Hark © Agathe Poupeney
and in Paquita © Laurent Philippe(ONP)

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