Ballet

Former Paris Opera Ballet star dancer Laurent Hilaire poses during a photo session in Paris. Frenchman Laurent Hilaire, director of the ballet troupe at the Stanislavski Theater in Moscow and former star of the Paris Opera, announced to AFP on 27 February 2022 his resignation from the Moscow institution ‘in view of the situation’ geopolitics and is about to leave Moscow. Image: Joel Saget / AFP

French ballet director quits Russian company over Ukraine invasion

Ballet master Laurent Hilaire has resigned from Moscow’s Stanislavski Theatre in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ballet

Former Paris Opera Ballet star dancer Laurent Hilaire poses during a photo session in Paris. Frenchman Laurent Hilaire, director of the ballet troupe at the Stanislavski Theater in Moscow and former star of the Paris Opera, announced to AFP on 27 February 2022 his resignation from the Moscow institution ‘in view of the situation’ geopolitics and is about to leave Moscow. Image: Joel Saget / AFP

French ballet master Laurent Hilaire has resigned from his position as director of the Stanislavski Theatre company in Moscow over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he told AFP on Sunday.

ALSO READ: ‘Crime and catastrophe’: Russian stars say ‘No to war’

BALLET MASTER RESIGNS FROM RUSSIAN COMPANY

“I resigned yesterday,” he said, after the Kremlin launched an all-out assault on its pro-Western neighbour on Thursday.

“I am leaving Moscow tomorrow in view of the situation. I am departing with a heavy heart, but the context no longer allows me to work with peace of mind.”

Hilaire was named director of dance at the Stanislavski Academic Musical Theatre five years ago, becoming only the second Frenchman to direct a ballet company in Russia in some 150 years.

MORE BALLET MASTERS FOLLOW IN HILAIRE’S FOOTSTEPS

He followed in the footsteps of Marius Petipa, a legendary ballet master and choreographer who directed the Saint Petersburg Imperial Ballet in the 19th century.

Born in 1962, Hilaire has been celebrated as one of the most brilliant dancers of his generation and was “etoile” or principal dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet for more than two decades before heading to Moscow.

He was just 22 when, in 1985, Rudolf Nureyev, a Siberia-born ballet dancer and choreographer who had defected from the Soviet Union, gave him the highest rank possible within a professional dance company.

© Agence France-Presse