Marie-Agnès Gillot made her first foray into dance in her home town of Caen in France. She entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1985. Five years later, at the age of 15, she was accepted to the company with a dispensation. She placed as a finalist in the 15th Varna International Ballet Competition in 1992. She was promoted to Sujet in 1994 and to Prima Ballerina in 1999. On 18 March 2004 she became the first Principal Dancer to be nominated for dancing a contemporary ballet, following her performance of Signes by Carolyn Carlson.
Marie-Agnès Gillot, a faithful interpreter of the great classical ballets, is highly sought after by contemporary choreographers. She blends power and fragility, playing by turns the femme fatale (as The Stranger in Roland Petit’s Clavigo, or Melody in Maurice Béjart’s Bolero), and characters that are romantic (Catherine in Kader Belarbi’s Wuthering Heights, or Pina Bausch’s Eurydice), cruel (Medea in Le Songe de Médée by Angelin Preljocaj), and impertinent (the servant in Mats Ek’sThe House of Bernarda).
She has contributed her virtuoso technique to works by Edouard Lock (AndréAuria), Wayne McGregor (Genus, L’Anatomie de la Sensation), Benjamin Millepied (Triade), Jiří Kylián (Kaguyahime), William Forsythe (The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Approximate Sonata), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet (Bolero), to name but a few. For Sophie Calle, who represented France at the Venice Biennale in 2007, she performed Prenez Soin De Vous, and danced with real swans in Luc Petton’s ballet Swan at Chaillot Theatre in 2012.
Marie-Agnès Gillot exhibits similarly eclectic tastes in her choreography. She organised a flash mob at the Louvre and appeared in a music video for Benjamin Biolay. Her short pieces are presented at charity fundraising events at the Paris Opera. In 2007 she turned heads with her choreography in Rares Différences, a piece for hip hop dancers, at the Suresnes dance festival. In this autobiographical ballet inspired by the work of Rodin, Gillot sculpted the material directly on the dancers.
In 2009 she created ART ÈRE, to the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Trio Elégiaque, for the Junior Ballet at the Paris Conservatory. In 2011 she appeared on stage alongside Alice Renavand at the Un Violon sur le Sable festival in Royan, France, in two pieces : Blanche Marine, which she choreographed to the music of Aquarium from Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals, and Black Back, to the music of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.
In October 2012 she presented Sous Apparence, her first original work for the Opera Ballet Paris.
Since then she has expanded her repertoire with revivals of Palais de Cristal by George Balanchine and Orpheus and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, as well as original works for Benjamin Millepied and Wayne McGregor in 2015.
In November 2009 she organised a flash mob under the Louvre pyramid in aid of children’s charity La Chaîne de l’Espoir. She also works with AIDS charity ICCARRE, for which she choreographed a duet performed with Blanca Li at a fundraiser held at Maison Jean-Paul Gaultier in December 2014.
She has appeared in music videos for REM and Benjamin Biolay, performed recently with Marianne Faithfull and Katia and Marielle Labèque, and appeared at the Enfoirés annual charity concert.
She performs on stage and screen with Pippo Delbono and is the face of luxury brands Celine and Repetto.
Two of her works are exhibited at Palais de Tokyo.
She is a Dame of the Legion of Honour, the Order of Merit, and the Order of Arts and Letters.