Pierre Lacotte was born in 1932 in Chatou, France. After entering the Paris Opera Ballet School at only 10 years old, he gradually rose to the top of the Opera’s hierarchy until his appointment as Principal Dancer in 1952. Highlights of his career in the Parisian company include his first role in Septuor, given to him by Serge Lifar, as well as the partners he shared the stage with: Yvette Chauviré, Lycette Darconval, Micheline Bardin and Christiane Vaussar, to name a few.
Once he left the Paris Opera to create his own company, Les Ballets de la Tour Eiffel, in 1955, Pierre Lacotte staged and re-staged various ballets with enormous success. Soon, he started receiving requests for original creations on collaborations with renowned musicians such as Sidney Bechet, Charles Aznavour or Duke Ellington. Following his growing reputation in the milieu, he was invited to prestigious dance festivals and theatres for his talent at adapting original or classical ballet choreographies.
Among his most publicised creations are La Voix (1996), a musical in tribute to Edith Piaf, or his reconstitution of La Sylphide original ballet from 1832 that he revived for the French television in 1971. The latter was so acclaimed that he was asked to stage it by many prestigious companies around the world, such as the Paris National Opera Ballet, Teatro Colón, Tokyo Ballet, twenty performances in New York with the Boston Ballet, Opera di Roma, Balletto di Verona, Finnish National Ballet, Teatro alla Scala di Milano. Hired by international companies and theatres, he gave a second life to many different classics including Coppelia, The Daughter of the Danube, Marco Spada, La Gitana, Paquita, the Nutcracker, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and many more. He also created original ballets based on literary masterpieces, such as the Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas), 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman (Stefan Zweig) or The Red and the Black (Stendhal).
Interview with Pierre Lacotte
Lifetime Achievement Award 2022
What do you think of the evolution of the dance over the last 50 years?
The evolution seems normal and necessary to me, provided that we do not deny the roots of our past and avoid wanting to shock at all costs in order to exist.
Talent does not need superficial artificiality, everything can be said at any time with sincerity.
To create is to build a universe that everyone holds and that must be expressed freely with strength and conviction.
In your opinion, what is the place of a competition like the Prix de Lausanne in the world of dance today?
It is of the utmost importance; to be recognized at a very young age in a competition allows one to gain self-confidence.
Receiving a prize is a recognition that helps the student to continue his or her studies by becoming aware of his or her value.
The merit of a competition such as the Prix de Lausanne is a support that allows young dancers to express themselves artistically before a competent jury with courage and tenacity.
What do you think is the most valuable message to give to young dancers today?
To be persistent and to correct their mistakes daily with humility in order to improve every day.