Moved, Marie-Claude Pietragalla pays tribute to Patrick Dupond in A Sunday in the Country

In the unpublished number ofA Sunday in the countrysideIn the January 7, 2024 broadcast on France 2, dancer Marie-Claude Pietragalla tells of the day when an injury almost prevented her from being crowned star. She also paid a vibrant tribute to Patrick Dupond, to whom she owes this nomination.

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It is without a doubt one of the best moments of his career. But this could have turned into a tragedy. This January 7, 2024, Marie-Claude Pietragalla was the guest of Frédéric Lopez in a new episode ofA Sunday in the countryside on France 2. Together with the singer Élisa Tovati and the comedian Ahmed Sylla, the jury of prodigies – whose tenth season has just ended – recalled in particular her childhood, her career as a classical dancer but also the numerous obstacles she had to overcome throughout her career. The opportunity for the 60-year-old choreographer to tell the story of the day she was named principal dancer.

“I don’t know if I’ll finish the show.” : Marie-Claude Pietragralla talks about the injury that could have prevented her from being a principal dancer in A Sunday in the countryside

It is December 22, 1990 and Marie-Claude plays the role of Kitri in the ballet. Don Quixote. This role of first dancer, proposed by Patrick Dupond, then dance director of the Paris National Opera ballet, is complicated because it is a three-hour performance. “When you have an opportunity, you tell yourself not to miss it.“, he slides smiling before continuing. “Three weeks before I hurt my calf and I said to myself: “Either I don’t dance and that’s why maybe they’ll never name me a star, or I do everything right” dance”explains the artist who then does everything possible to recover from this injury. “The big day arrived and I said to myself: “I don’t know if I’ll finish the show, but I have to finish it.” In addition to the total horror, this ballet ends with a pas de deux at the end of the third act (…) The girl turns thirty-two times on the same leg and therefore thirty-two times on my beaten calf.”remember.

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“I will be eternally grateful to him.” : Moved, Marie-Claude Pietragalla pays tribute to Patrick Dupond in A Sunday in the countryside

After three hours of effort, the ballet finally comes to an end. “I didn’t even know my name anymore, it was terrible.”, recalls Marie-Claude Pietragalla. The dancer remains on stage with her companions to greet the audience, when she suddenly: “I (Patrick Dupond, editor’s note) I see you go on stage with the great director of the Opera and who announces the appointment. From this little rat I went on to be named star dancer of the Opera by Patrick Dupond., she says. After reviewing the images of her nomination for the show, the choreographer wants to salute the memory of Patrick Dupond. “It’s very moving to see this because I see Patrick. I was so… deeply moved by his disappearance.”confides Marie-Claude before concluding: “I will be eternally grateful, both to Patrick and Nureyev, because I dance their Don Quixote.” A moving memory that moved Frédéric López and the other guests.

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