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Violette Verdy (1933 - 2016)

Getty Images / Hulton Archive / Photo by Central Press

Violette Verdy (1933 - 2016)

Ballet legend Violette Verdy died yesterday in Bloomington, Indiana at the age of 82, according to multiple news sources.

Verdy was the principal dancer for the New York City Ballet for two decades. She was the first woman to be artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and was then the artistic director of the Boston Ballet.

Verdy began dancing in 1939 at age six. She continued to perform through 1977. She performed with more than 50 companies and in more than 100 ballets including classics such as ''Swan Lake," ''The Sleeping Beauty," ''Romeo and Juliet" and "Cinderella.".

She also appeared on screen in the movie "The Glass Slipper" in 1955.


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Verdy joined the ballet faculty at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 1996. She continued to teach there until her passing on Monday.

Gwyn Richards, Jacobs School of Music dean, says students admired her.

“The kids would look to her with such reverence, such appreciation that this seminal figure in this field was in their midst and that they just had a chance to be taught by her. She was the muse for Balanchine and they then had a direct line to someone like Balanchine.”

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