This ballet by Patrice Bart, who worked as a Ballet master for the Opéra de Paris from 1987 to 2011, stages the fourteen-year-old ballerina who posed for Edgar Degas's canvas and also for his sculpture The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, currently exhibited at the Orsay Museum. The idea of the ballet was born in Martine Kahane's mind, when in the end of the 90s, the museum asked the sewing shop of the Opéra de Paris to restore the tutu of the wax statue.
The universe of the ballet reflects that of the dance troop of the Opéra national de Paris, the same way Degas' work did. Several levels of dance are revealed through the choreographies since the dancers play the characters of Patrice Bart's ballet but they also enact their own stories, when they were students at the School of the Opéra de Paris. Ezio Toffolutti designed the set of this ballet according to the architecture of the Palais Garnier, which is at some points recreated to perfection on stage.
The ballet commemorates the tragic story of its central character, Marie Van Goethem. She lost her father and she supported her mother dancing, posing for painters but also prostituting herself on the account of her mother… For this reason, she will the fired from the opera dance school.
Rudolf Nureyev – Agnès Letestu (Cinderella), José Martinez (The movie star) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
Rudolf Nureyev – Agnès Letestu (Odette), José Martinez (Siegfried) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris