It is said that the career of a professional ballerina is at best, only 20 years. That is not a long span at all considering that the first 10 are devoted to the rigors of learning their craft. Their young years are spent training and sacrificing for the exhilaration they receive when they have completed a new level or moving up in excelling in their art.
Sylvie Guilliem was noticed by Rudolph Nureyev and like his muse, he trained and took a special interest in her as she moved up the ranks of the Paris Opera Ballet. To be able to move an audience to tears through her interpretation in this particular ballet was like watching a vision give up her human form to her art. She danced with unbridled passion and abandon. It can only be said that she became her character, throwing out all technique and dancing as if from memory but with no actual thought behind it. Such a moving and exhaustive search for the essence of perfection was seen in her arms, her neck, her shoulders and her expressive face. Simply remarkable.
There are some roles that are trademarks of certain outstanding ballerinas as they have garnered accolades for capturing the choreographer’s vision and such was Manon for Sylvie.