Patrice Bart is a famous French choreographer, director, ballet master and pedagogue. For more than 50 years of his rich artistic career, he has been connected to the Paris Opera Ballet. He commenced his artistic path in this theatre in which he gained international acclaim.
Patrice Bart was born in Paris where at the age of 12 he enrolled in the École de Danse de Opera national de Paris and already after two years began to perform in the ballet ensemble of the Paris Opera. Since he was under the age of 15, he was given a special work permit. In 1963, he became a principal and won the Rene Blum Award that is granted to young dancers for exceptional artistic achievements. As the first soloist of the Paris Opera Ballet, in 1969 he won a prize at the prestigious International Ballet Competition in Moscow with his partner Francesca Zumbo.
He became the étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet in 1972 and in 1974 he was granted the Nijinski Award by the Parisian Dance Academy.
All classical and contemporary ballet roles in ballets such as The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky), Giselle (Adam), Don Quixote (Minkus), Petruschka (Stravinsky), The Prodigal Son (Prokofiev), Constellations choreographed by Serge Lifar in 1969, Mouvances choreographed by Roland Petit in1976, Metabolites choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan in 1978, Swan Lake choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in 1984, et al. can be considered as exceptional dance roles that Patrice Bart interpreted at the Paris Opera Ballet. As a brilliant dance virtuoso, he enchanted both the spectators and the critics with his performances; such were his appearances in original choreographies of Auguste Bournonville in ballet Naples and Lassen and Arthur Saint-Leon in ballet La Vivandiere choreographed to the music of Pugni. He is also remembered as an exceptionally good partner in many of Balanchine’s works, such as Symphony in C by Stravinsky, Le Corsaire by Pugni and the Tchaikovsky pas de deux. He was also a dancer with an exceptional talent for comic roles – Coppélia by Delibes choreographed by Pierre Lacotte after Saint-Leon and La Fille mal Gardée by Heinz Spoerli. Between 1970 and 1982, he was a regular guest artist in the productions of the London Festival Ballet and appeared at many other significant ballet festivals worldwide.
He ended his dancing career in 1986 although he was dancing on the Paris stage for several more years. At that time, he started working as a ballet pedagogue and was coaching young dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1987, he was engaged as the leading ballet master. He was merited for an active maintenance of high quality standards of ballet art in the largest French ballet theatre and for his ardent engagement in safeguarding its long ballet tradition. From 1989, he was the artistic director for several seasons of the Paris Opera Ballet.
For the 150th anniversary of ballet Giselle by Adam in 1991 in cooperation with Eugène Polyakov, he prepared a classical version of this ballet for the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1992, he assisted Rudolf Nureyev in his famous production of ballet La Bayadere by Minkus for the Paris Ballet.
For the first time, Patrice Bart presented himself as a choreographer at the Berlin State Opera in 1992 with a new production of ballet Don Quixote by Minkus and he staged that same ballet at the Finnish National Ballet in 1995. His choreographic versions of classical ballets such as Giselle by Adam he created for La Scala, Coppélia by Delibes for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1996, Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky for the Berlin State Opera and La Bayadere by Minkus for the State Ballet in Munich in 1997.
He staged his first ballet Verdiana to opera music of Giuseppe Verdi in 1999 and then the following year at Teatro Comunale in Florence, while he choreographed The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky at the Staatsballett, Berlin. There, he also staged his version of Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet in 2002. In 2003 he staged a new piece Le petite danseuse de Degas to new music composed by Denis Levaillant at the Paris Opera Ballet. His next work was Tchaikovsky staged in 2005 at the Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki. In 2008, the Royal Swedish Ballet invited him to create a historical production of Gustav III to the music of Carl-Maria von Weber and Joseph Martin Kraus.
In Berlin in 2009, he choreographed a biographical ballet Das Flammende Herz about the English Romantic poet Percy Shelly to the music of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and the following year he accepted to work for the Polish National Ballet in Warsaw to create a new ballet Chopin, the Romantic Artist to the music of Waldemar Dombrowski. Since 2011, he has again staged Giselle by Adam at the National Ballet in Seoul, Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, Giselle by Adam and his own version of Swan Lake to the music of Tchaikovsky at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome and a new version of Giselle at the Zurich Ballet. Patrice Bart was awarded several prestigious French decorations such as Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
His choreography of Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev in 2015 was his first guest appearance at the Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb in which he currently preparing a new production – the world premiere of ballet Elisabeth of Austria – Sissi to the music of Bedřich Smetana, arranged by Ermanno Florio.