#TBT: Marie-Agnès Gillot and José Martínez in "Sylvia"

April 4, 2018

Updated 11/8/22.

Is there anything more heart-wrenching than a tale of doomed lovers? It’s no wonder that so many enduring ballets don’t end in happy embraces. John Neumeier’s modern Sylvia plumbs the depths of the story for its most melancholy notes. Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles, who make up the ballet’s original cast, are masterful storytellers in the emotionally charged ballet.

In this clip from a DVD released in 2006, Marie-Agnès Gillot plays the huntress Diana. Her love faces a fate even more dispiriting than death: Endymion, danced by José Martínez, is doomed to eternal sleep. She dances in memory, a passionate pas de deux with a partner who cannot reciprocate. Diana’s inescapable loneliness is etched on Gillot’s features: the strong huntress at her most vulnerable.

Martínez, the only Spanish male étoile in POB’s history, went on to direct Compañía Nacional de Danza in Spain before being appointed POB’s next director of dance on October 28, 2022. Gillot, who retired from POB in 2018 after an impressive 28-year career, is ever-luminous and now directs Académie des Sacres in Reims Tinqueux, France. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!