In Memoriam: Violette Verdy, 1933-2016

Violette VerdyViolette Verdy, a Distinguished Professor in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, died on February 8. She was 82 years old.

Professor Verdy was born Pont-l’Able, France, with the name of Nelly Armande Guillerm. Her father died when she was an infant. At the age of 6, she began to study ballet and continued to do so under the Nazi occupation of France. After the war, she legally changed her named to Violette Verdy at the age of 15.

Verdy first came to the United States in 1953 as a member of Ballets de Paris. In 1957, she was asked to join the American Ballet Theatre and a year later began a 19-year career with the New York City Ballet. Verdy appeared on the March 16, 1959 cover of Life magazine. She later served as artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and was the first non-Russian women to teach at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow since the 1917 revolution.

Professor Verdy joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1996. She was named Distinguished Professor in 2005 and in 2010 was named the inaugural holder of the Kathy Ziliak Anderson Chair in Ballet.

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