#TBT: Patrick Dupond in "Don Quixote"

March 17, 2021

The ballet world lost an icon earlier this month with the sudden passing of Patrick Dupond on March 5. The French dancer, a former étoile and former director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, had a larger-than-life persona onstage and off. He was renowned for his charisma and virtuosity in roles across classical and contemporary repertoire. In this clip of Basilio’s variation from Don Quixote—sensational despite the fuzzy video quality—Dupond displays his technical prowess, musical acumen and, above all, his ability to command a crowd.

Dupond’s confidence, a quality which led him to reach the rank of étoile at 21 years old and director at age 30, translates into swagger and daring onstage. He starts the variation with a full five-second balance in arabesque, which he begins at a modest 45 degrees before soaring into his full extension. His ballon propels him through the variation’s challenging jumps and massive manége. He plays with the speed of his pirouettes with impervious control, stopping on a dime with ample panache. Although the variation is brief, Dupond’s performance is unforgettable, leaving no doubts about how his legacy will endure. Patrick, you will be missed. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!