Among awards and distinctions: “Best Dancer of the World – 2000” (Nijinsky Award), Annual L. Myasin Prize “For the art of dance” (Positano, Italy), “Best Dancer - 2002” (Danza & Danza Prize) and many more.
Manuel Legris graduated from Paris Opera Ballet School and joined the Corps de Ballet at 16 years old in 1980. After Legris danced the leading role of Jean de Brienne in Raymonda at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he was appointed to the title "Etoile" in 1986 by the Stage Director Rudolf Nureyev.
In addition to his intrinsic qualities of flawless technique and expressive richness, Manuel Legris established himself as an outstanding partner, a complete dancer equally at home with the classical and the contemporary repertoires. The most renowned choreographers - William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian and Jerome Robbins continued to engage him: Manuel Legris participated in most of the creations of the Paris Opera.
Legris’s reputation of the ballet star has spread around the world quickly: he was invited by the most prestigious companies, such as the Royal Ballet in London, the New York City Ballet, the Cuban National Ballet, the Ballets of Monte-Carlo, Stuttgart and Hamburg where John Neumeier created especially for him Spring and Fall and A Cinderella Story.
As a guest dancer Legris appeared on the most prestigious stages of the world: from La Scala in Milan to the Metropolitan in New York, he danced in the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, where he was awarded for his part in Roland Petit’s ballet L'Arlésienne. Also he performed several times at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
Manuel Legris traveled the world with his fellow dancers, "Manuel Legris et ses Étoiles", the group was created in 1996 in collaboration with Monique Loudières. The idea was to allow young dancers to approach the solo roles still inaccessible for them at the Opera, and to enable them to work with leading choreographers. The group was regularly invited to Japan, performed on other prestigious stages of France and Italy.
Since September 1, 2010, Manuel Legris was appointed as the director of the Wiener Staatsballett and as the artistic director of the Ballet Academy at the Vienna State Opera.
In the XV Anniversary DANCE OPEN festival Manuel Legris will appear in three different capacities – as a brilliant dancer, successful direcor of ballet company and sophisticated judge. As an anniversary present to the Festval he will perform at the Stars Gala. His ballet company will present night of one-act ballets Blaubarts Geheimnis. And finally, it will be a second time when he is a part of the international jury of the DANCE OPEN Award.