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There are many wonderful ballet dancers the world over, but Sylvie Guillem is undoubtedly in a category of her own — and not only because of her famously self-willed ways.

Born in Paris in February 1965, in 1984, Guillem — whose first love as a child was gymnastics — was made the Paris Opera Ballet’s youngest-ever top-ranking étoile by its director, Rudolf Nureyev. Since then it has been said — among unending superlatives — that talent like hers “only comes once in 100 years”; that she is “the most exciting dancer in the world”; and that she is a “true megastar.”

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