Born and trained in France
Pascale Leroy started taking ballet classes in her home town of Rueil-Malmaison, at Mme Autran's after school program, when she was 4. She then joined the city's Conservatory at 9 in Mr Argelies' class, where she received "Mention Tres Bien" award at the end of the year exam. Increasingly interested in becoming a professional dancer, she was taken under the wing of Nicole Dehayes in Paris, an ex-soloist of the Ballet de Cuevas who encouraged her to follow her calling and started her professional training when she was 12. She enlisted her for summer sessions with Monique Bertagnol in Houlgate and Rosella Hightower in Cannes. Ms Dehayes prepared Pascale for the entrance at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where she was received "First Place" and entered Solange Schwartz class. The intense classical training at the Conservatoire included Pas de Deux classes with Pierre Lacotte and Michael Denard from the Paris Opera, Solfege and Dance Theory Classes for which a diploma was to be delivered the end of the year following a demanding examination. Mme Schwartz, the french ballet legend who, as an Etoile of the Paris Opera, created one of the principal parts of Suite en Blanc, by Serge Lifar, taught the daily technique class with an iron-willed old fashioned style, underlined with a deep love and respect of her young students, She could see their professional potential instantly and opened possibilities for them, coaching them in the way best suited for each. Pascale learned the famous Cigarette variation from her. the ballerina for which it was created- a vivid memory. Also unforgettable were Variation lessons with french Masters - Nelly Schwartz for Giselle, Yves Brieux for Sleeping Beauty, and an inspiring Black Swan coaching session with the legendary Madame Nora Kiss.
At 16, Pascale wins the First Prize of the Conservatoire de Paris end of studies competition. She completes her academic studies at the Lycee Racine in Paris, which holds a special program for young performing artists in national institutions ( Music, Dance, Circus Arts...) and obtains her Bacchalaureat with mention. Nicole Dehayes signs her up to the 1979 Saratoga Summer Session with Oleg and Mireille Briansky, where young Pascale, while discovering the dynamic american technique in her daily classes, will receive the jolt of her life watching the summer performances of the New York City Ballet, then at its absolute height. The sparkling technique and exquisite musicality of the american dancers completely conquers her. Some day, she hopes to come back and learn how to dance "like that!"
But for now, returning home: It's time to start working!
(Next: Pascale Leroy, the Dancer; Pascale Leroy, the Teacher)
Above: with Alain Marty, from the Paris Opera
Below: with Michel Galvane, from the Conservatoire
Photos by Cecile Coutin