Des Grieux unmasked

Remi reflects on one of Kenneth MacMillan’s most famous male roles prior to his debut as Des Grieux in Manon.

You’re taking on the lead role of Des Grieux in Manon. Can you tell us why he’s such a great character to dance? I fell in love with Manon as a student when Sylvie Guillem performed it with our company. I was an understudy for the corps back then and watched from the wings every night. I longed to be dancing with her. Later I rediscovered the ballet while performing with American Ballet Theatre. Des Grieux possesses the ultimate tragic flaw: blind love. There is no better emotion to dance.

When did you decide you wanted to become a dancer? I was three and went to my first ballet class. I was scared, but then the class started galloping around the room. I’ve been galloping ever since.

Your greatest indulgence? Travelling. I’m lucky because this job allows me to see the world.

Three things you’d take on a desert island? A notebook, a pen, and a dictionary. I love writing poetry, but I’m a terrible speller.

If you could invite anyone to dinner, living or dead, who would it be? My grandfather. I was three when he died. He was a great jockey and horse trainer, and I’m told that I have the same determination and drive for dance that he had for his work.

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