Patrick Dupond Cause of Death: The Life and Legacy of a Ballet Legend

Patrick Dupond, one of the most celebrated ballet dancers and artistic directors of France, died on March 5, 2021, at the age of 61.

A Prodigious Talent and a Charismatic Star

Patrick Dupond was born on March 14, 1959, in Paris. He discovered his passion for dance at the age of nine, when he saw a ballet class and asked his mother to enroll him. He soon showed exceptional talent and potential, and was admitted to the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School in 1969. He trained under the guidance of Max Bozzoni, a former dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet, who became his mentor and friend.

He joined the Paris Opera Ballet in 1975, at the age of 16, and quickly rose through the ranks. He won the gold medal and the grand prize at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria in 1976, and became a principal dancer (danseur étoile) of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1980. He was the youngest dancer to achieve this honor in the history of the company.

He dazzled audiences and critics with his virtuosity, charisma, and versatility. He performed a wide range of classical and contemporary roles, such as Albrecht in Giselle, Siegfried in Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and the Prodigal Son in The Prodigal Son. He also collaborated with some of the most renowned choreographers of his time, such as Rudolf Nureyev, Maurice Béjart, Roland Petit, and Alvin Ailey. He was especially close to Nureyev, who was his idol and partner on stage.

He also had a successful international career, guest-starring with many leading ballet companies around the world, such as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, and the La Scala Ballet. He was particularly loved by the Italian public, who admired his flamboyant and expressive style. He danced with some of the most famous ballerinas of his generation, such as Carla Fracci, Sylvie Guillem, Alessandra Ferri, and Luciana Savignano.

He was not only a dancer, but also a choreographer and a teacher. He created several ballets, such as L’Amour fou, Le Songe d’une nuit d’été, and L’Enfant et les sortilèges. He also taught master classes and workshops around the world, sharing his knowledge and passion with young dancers.

A Controversial and Courageous Career

Patrick Dupond’s career was not without challenges and controversies. He was often criticized by the conservative and traditionalist factions of the ballet world, who disapproved of his unconventional and rebellious attitude. He was also accused of being too individualistic and egocentric, neglecting the ensemble and the corps de ballet. He had frequent clashes with the management and the administration of the Paris Opera Ballet, who tried to impose rules and restrictions on him.

He was appointed as the artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1990, succeeding Nureyev. He hoped to bring new energy and vision to the company, but he faced many difficulties and oppositions. He was criticized for his artistic choices, his management style, and his personal life. He was also involved in a scandal, when he was accused of sexual harassment by a female dancer of the company. He denied the allegations, but the case damaged his reputation and credibility.

He resigned from his position in 1995, and left the Paris Opera Ballet in 1997, after being dismissed by the new director, Hugues Gall. He felt betrayed and humiliated by the institution he had devoted his life to.

He did not give up on his career, however. He continued to dance and perform on various stages and venues, such as the Casino de Paris, the Folies Bergère, and the Crazy Horse. He also appeared on several television shows and programs, such as Danse avec les stars, where he was a judge and a contestant. He also founded his own dance company, the White Eagle Dance Company, with his partner, Leïla Da Rocha, who was also a dancer and a choreographer.

He also overcame a serious car accident in 2000, which left him with multiple fractures and injuries. He was told he would never dance again, but he proved the doctors wrong. He underwent several surgeries and therapies, and managed to recover and return to the stage.

A Legacy of Inspiration and Innovation

Patrick Dupond’s death was a huge loss for the dance world, but his legacy lives on in the works he created, the dancers he inspired, and the people he touched. He was remembered and honored by his family, friends, colleagues, and fans, who expressed their condolences and tributes online and in person.

He is survived by his partner, Leïla Da Rocha, and his mother, Helen. He was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Patrick Dupond was a ballet legend who left a lasting impact on the world. He was a prodigy, a star, a rebel, and a survivor, who danced with his heart and soul.