A year after his first interview with Core De Ballet, Guillaume Diop made us the honor to share with us everything he has learned throughout his first 18 months as a professional ballet dancer at Paris Opera.

In this more recent interview Guillaume goes more in depth and tells us what has changed and remained the same since he joined the company. We also got to discuss what he is now looking forward to for the rest of his career! As usual, lots of fun in between some very serious talks.


“The transition is a bit brutal”

We asked Guillaume to tell us more about the difference between the school and the company environment, now that he has had enough experience. What is the life of a professional ballet dancer all about?


“The fundamental work, we do it by ourselves”

After hearing how company life is different for Guillaume, we asked him to tell us which lessons he is learning from this experience. It is wonderful to hear what he is considering important throughout his journey of growing more and more as an artist.


“That allows us to work in a smaller group (and do something more technical)”

Paris Opera might seem to already be slightly different from most of the other ballet companies. Like all the historical large companies, there is no “junior company” where students can transition to the professional world. So how are the new joiners organized? What does a typical day look like? Guillaume will tell us about classes, rehearsals and performances.


“You never get bored, it’s very stimulating”

Since, at the time the interview was filmed, Guillaume was performing in Raymonda so, as the conversation came up, we asked him to tell us more about this masterpiece by Rudolph Nureev. How is it from a dancer’s standpoint? What are the challenges and the highlights of the ballet?


“It was not in my projects”

Guillaume had a special first year in the company, rich in experiences and opportunities to dance on stage, and perform so many pieces. We specifically asked him to tell us more about how the tour in Asia was like, and what it means to represent the company abroad. What will remain in his memory?


“I still don’t have all the answers”

During Guillaume’s very first interview for Core De Ballet, he said his goal for the first year in the company was to continue to progress. Looking back now, did he accomplish and fulfill his own expectations? Is he happy with his progression? But, most importantly, what is the goal for the new year?


“I already realized a dream”

Being at the very beginning of his career as a dancer, Guillaume has a wide range of dream roles. Does he only want to perform pure classical ballet or is he interested in other styles of dancing as well? What does he think would suit him best on the artistic standpoint?


“I don’t actually think about a dancer”

Believe it or not, even professionals have those tough days where motivation seems to be far distant and the desire of just doing nothing keeps you in bed for a while when the alarm rings. How does Guillaume make sure to quickly get inspired and back on his feet? What helps him get rid of those negative feelings?


“It is also important for the audience”

Guillaume was very lucky to start performing in galas early in his career. We were curious to know how  dancers get hired  to perform in a gala. Guillaume reminded us how important and enriching these opportunities are to him, as well as for the audience. How does a dancer prepare for a gala on top of their already demanding schedule?

Photo by Isabelle Aubert, reproduced with kind permission.


“You have the feeling of putting your life between parenthesis”

Two variations that might not sound like nothing to you remind Guillaume of a specific experience: the first promotion “concours” at Paris Opera. If you are not familiar with how the company works, don’t worry as Guillaume will explain every detail and tell us how he chose his variation and prepared for the big day.

Photo by Svetlana Loboff, reproduced with kind permission.


“I don’t believe the perfect year exists”

Looking back, what would Guillaume want to change about how the year went? What does he regret or think he could have done better? His answer demonstrates how mature and experienced he already is.


“I get that we are telling stories from the past”

Some ballet companies make use of makeup to modify the dancer’s skin color, usually to recall the origins of the character. Is it necessary? Useful? Disrespectful? What does it mean for a brown dancer? As we had already discussed being a brown dancer in the ballet world in our previous interview, we took the opportunity to continue on that subject with Guillaume. We loved Guillaume’s answer and believe you will too!

Photo by Marion Colombani, used with her kind permission.