When Léa Fleytoux, a corps dancer at American Ballet Theatre, carried out Amour in Don Quixote in June, a jolt of electrical energy ran by means of the Metropolitan Opera Home. The short-moving, playful, high-jumping character is at all times a charmer, however Fleytoux took Amour to a different degree, dancing with a exceptional ease. In a diagonal of jetés, she hovered within the air as if using on a cloud. Fleytoux got here alive onstage, participating the viewers along with her eyes, bringing them into the story. She radiated a way of complete command, but additionally that uncommon factor in classical ballet, a way of enjoyable—all in her first featured function.
Firm: American Ballet Theatre
Coaching: Non-public coaching with Nicole Chouret, Conservatoire Municipal Camille Saint-Saëns, École Nationale de Danse de Marseille, Conservatoire Nationwide Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, ABT’s Jacqueline
Kennedy Onassis College
Alternate route: Fleytoux, who was born in Vietnam and adopted and raised in Paris, had hoped to attend the Paris Opéra Ballet College, however she didn’t fulfill its peak requirement. So she went to Marseille’s École Nationale de Danse as an alternative. “I went with my mother, and we stayed for 3 years, till I used to be 14,” she says, earlier than transferring again to Paris to proceed her coaching.
Swift rise: In 2016, Fleytoux competed on the Prix de Lausanne, the place Cynthia Harvey, then director of the JKO College, was the classical coach. “She supplied me a spot within the prime degree on the faculty,” says Fleytoux, who spent three months there earlier than being promoted to ABT Studio Firm, then to apprentice in December 2018, and to the corps in June 2019. “Then the pandemic occurred.”
Storyteller: “I really like being a personality within the story, really interacting with the opposite characters and with the viewers,” she says of Amour. “And naturally there’s all of the make-up, hair, costume, glitter.” ABT’s steady of classics is what first attracted her to the corporate.
What her mentor is saying: “Léa is tremendously gifted,” says ABT régisseur Susan Jones. “She absorbs all the pieces you say to her. Each rehearsal reveals enchancment and progress. And onstage, she lights up!”
Residing for the stage: “I like to attempt various things in rehearsal,” says Fleytoux. “However onstage I do issues that I wouldn’t even consider within the studio. And I don’t get harassed, both.”
Taking initiative: Behind that spontaneity lies plenty of preparation. “Once I was studying Amour, I watched plenty of movies. I appeared into the lore of the character and tried to get all the data I might earlier than making it my very own,” says Fleytoux, who bumped into Sarah Lane—“She was an incredible Amour at ABT”—at Steps on Broadway and requested if she’d work along with her on the function, along with Jones and Harvey.
At dwelling: Fleytoux shares two cats, Cleo and Thor, along with her associate and fellow ABT corps dancer Jarod Curley.
On being petite: At 5′ 2 1/2″, Fleytoux is conscious how shorter-than-average dancers danger being typecast into fast, sensible roles. “I’m additionally an adagio dancer, and I like to do pas de deux,” she says, “and people typically go to the taller dancers. I attempt to do issues so that folks don’t discover my peak an excessive amount of. If I’ve my arms in fifth place, I attempt to get my fingers greater and never allow them to drop, in order that I match the others. I’ve to bop larger.”