Guillaume Diop, French dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet (Paris, France) is a smart, hard working young man with the most contagious laugh we have ever seen.

Guillaume undertook most of his ballet training at the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School in Nanterre, near Paris. From age 12 to 18, he practiced ballet daily there until he was hired at the Paris Opera Ballet in 2018.

In August 2018, during his first week officially working at the Paris Opera Ballet, Guillaume Diop sat with us in the beautiful and sunny garden of Palais Royal and shared his memories and thoughts about his ballet journey. The full Interview is exclusively available at Core de Ballet.

Photo used in the thumbnail by Alice Galeano
Watch the Interview

“At first, we were afraid of all the lifting”

Diop 1 - best memories v2.png
Great things come from humble beginnings. From the first class in a small school to joining the Paris Opera Ballet company, here is Guillaume’s journey. What were the most memorable moments whilst in school and why?

“We’re not really used to do this in the school shows”

Being in peak mental and physical shape to perform on stage requires intense work. Guillaume tells us how he got ready to dance two challenging pieces, a Jiří Kylián and a John Neumeier piece, the same night. Additional training, recovery methods and ways to cope with stress. What’s in the recipe for success?

“Am I credible as a brown Siegfried?’”

Every dancer has a unique body type, for some of us the differences are more visible. The ballet world is becoming more diverse, dancers of a variety of skin tones and body types are reaching the highest levels of their companies. What was Guillaume’s experience during his training years?

“I think I still have a long way to go”

Diop 4 - Goals 1st year copy.pngTransitioning from school to company life is exciting and probably a little intimidating. Getting used to a new rhythm takes time. We asked Guillaume about his goals for his first year as a professional dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet. What are his objectives? How does he feel?

Photo used in the thumbnail by Yonathan Kellerman

“We don’t really understand why we do it”

When it comes to warming up, some dancers prefer to go with the flow while some others have a structured and specific routine. From the initial massage with a spiky ball, to the last sequence of relevés, Guillaume shares with us everything he does with all his toys.

“In the summer, I like to step out of ballet”

Diop 6 - summer intensives.pngSummer can be a time full of opportunities and new discoveries for a dancer. It’s the perfect season to make new friends, and recharge. Guillaume says he likes to step out of his comfort zone and his usual routine. What does he like to do?

“And after that I didn’t have any more time”

We have already discovered Guillaume as a dancer, but how is he outside of work? Dancers also do have hobbies and guilty pleasures. What does he enjoy doing when he’s not pirouetting around the studio?

“Yes, I stop my leg. But I could if I wanted to”

Guillaume has a very special quality that can sometimes turn into a flaw. His nickname has something to do with it. We all are given nicknames by our family and friends, but when complete strangers start giving you nicknames then, the fun really starts. Can you guess Guillaume’s nickname among balletomanes?

“People are going to look at the original!”

Diop 9 - Advice To My Younger Self.pngWe asked Guillaume to share a piece of advice he would give to his younger self and we got a wonderful and very meaningful outcome. The message Guillaume wants to share is something we all need to hear and keep in mind.