12/8/19 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Yannick LeBrun- Ailey’s Danseur Noble

By Walter Rutledge 

A danseur noble is a male dancer who projects great nobility of character. A dancer who performs at the highest theatrical level combining exceptional grace, technique and strength. In a prior review I referred to Ailey principal dancer Yannick LeBrun as a danseur noble. It was not one performance or one season that brought me to that conclusion, but a career collective.

Throughout his 15-year association with the Ailey organization LeBrun quickly moved through the ranks. In 2004 (at age 17) he moved to New York City from his native French Guiana; and in less than two years joined Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters. During his Ailey II tenure Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison asked LeBrun to replace an injured dancer during the company’s 2007 New York City Center season.

He so impressed Jamison, that he was literally inducted into the Ailey company in late spring of 2008 without taking the mandatory audition. Now entering his 12th season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater LeBrun has distinguished himself with an intense and unflinching commitment to the choreography. In roles ranging from Alvin Ailey’s lyric masterwork The Lark Ascending to the 2019 company revival of the sensual Fandango by Lar Lubovitch LeBrun’s theatrical and technical acumen combined with a gallant yet sensitive approach to partnering has affirmed him as Ailey’s danseur noble. 

A Conversation With Yannick LeBrun- Ailey’s Danseur Noble

O&A NYC Editor-in-Chief Walter Rutledge sat down with Yannick LeBrun to discussing the intimate art of partnering and his roles in the upcoming New York City Center season December 4, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

City of Rain- Behind the scenes

In the fall of 2013 we had the privilege to discuss the reimagining of Fandango (retitled Vez) with choreographer Lar Lubovitch prior to to celebrating his company’s 45 anniversary at the Joyce Theater October 8-20, 2013.

Lar Lubovitch- Vez the Reimagining of Fandango (2013) Part 1 of 3

See Yannick LeBrun and the entire 32 member Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater through January 5, 2020.
Fandango will be presented:
Wednesday, December 18, 7:30pm
Friday; December 20, 8pm
Saturday; December 28, 8pm
Wednesday, January 1, 7:30pm
Thursday, January 2, 7:30pm
Saturday, January 4, 8pm

City of Rain will be presented:
Tuesday, December 17, 7:30pm
Friday, December 20, 8pm
Saturday, December 21, 8pm
Friday, December 27, 8pm
Wednesday, January 1, 7:30pm
Sunday, January 5, 3pm

For the entire Ailey performance calendar visit www.alvinailey.org/calendar.

In Photo: 1) Yannick Lebrun and Walter Rutledge 2) Constance Stamatiou and Yannick Lebrun in Stack Up (1982) 3) Sarah Daley Perdomo and Yannick Lebrun in The Lark Ascending (1972)

Photography by: 1) Adewale Adekanbi Jr. 2&3) Paul Kolnik



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