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Jerome Robbins Award Goes to Paris Opera Ballet Director

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After previously honoring dance luminaries like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Chita Rivera, Twyla Tharp and the New York City Ballet, the Jerome Robbins Foundation announced March 18 that this year’s Jerome Robbins Award will go to outgoing Paris Opera director Brigitte Lefèvre. The prize, worth $50,000, is recognition for excellence in the arts.
While it might seem surprising that an American choreographer’s foundation would honor a French director, Robbins had close ties with the company. It repertoire contains no less than 14 of his ballets. However, this is the first time since its 2003 inception that the award has honored a company outside the U.S. (though several foreign-born dancers have shared the prize).
Lefèvre has been director at the Paris Opera Ballet since 1995. During that time, she’s prioritized adding influential contemporary works to the company’s classical repertoire. She’s also brought in some of today’s most important choreographers to create works for the company. That list includes Maurice Béjart, Trisha Brown, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Blanca Li, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, José Montalvo, John Neumeier, Robyn Orlin, Roland Petit, Angelin Preljocaj, Saburo Teshigawara and Sasha Waltz. She will be succeeded as director in August 2014 by ex-New York City Ballet principal Benjamin Millepied.