I don't know about the history of the defile (except that the first version had been done by Aveline), but it surely sounds credible about Lifar, he seemed to be such an egotistic person, tayloring roles mostly for himself!
Pontois seems to have been the most popular POB principal in the 70s with Thesmar, but I've only seen her in a video of "Petrouchka" with Nureyev and Jude (and, being young and stupid then, I didn't record that! ) She officially retired in 1983, but still danced as a guest until 1993. Her daughter Miteki Kudo, now about 30, is a soloist with the company, by the way (I haven't seen her much, but she has a lovely silhouette and seems to have a very poetic, fluid style).
I've only seen Atanassoff in a mime role (recently), but he danced both character roles (Quasimodo and Frollo in Petit's "Notre-Dame de Paris", for example) and "noble" roles (partnering Chauvire in "Giselle", Pontois in "Swan Lake" or "La Sylphide"...)
Bessy still is at the school, and from what a dancer told me, she chose virtually all dancers since the beginning of her directorship (and seems to have a wonderful eye for that). But once in the company, it's the direction who chooses to push this or that dancer, gives the roles, etc. Also I guess the male candidates are far less numerous than the female ones... Anyway, I don't see any real potential "prince" now among the present soloists, but I don't see the company often enough to know the younger dancers well, so perhaps my fears are excessive.
Virtuosity and grace
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