Definition of coryphée in US English:



  • A leading dancer in a corps de ballet.

    • ‘After all, the corps and coryphées do posé arabesque by stepping onto pointe,, jerking their backs into hyperextension so that their hips jut out, thus snapping, rather than floating their extensions.’
    • ‘They have succeeded at the Paris Opera Ballet inner competition 3 times: to become successively coryphées, sujets and then premiers danseurs.’
    • ‘The three companies are also unique in not being based on a hierarchy: there are no entities such as corps de ballet, coryphées, soloists and principals; all the dancers are of equal status.’
    • ‘All are at the lowest level, that of quadrilles, or one step up, that of coryphées in the company's hierarchy, but many of them could certainly be soloists in almost any other smaller company.’
    • ‘Round each set of dancers the people formed a ring, in which the figurantes and coryphées went through their operations.’
    • ‘Degas did so with all the rigor, intensity and constancy of the young coryphées rehearsing new steps.’
    • ‘In the original production six girls appeared as the coryphées, the largest number who could happily appear on the Mercury Theatre's stage, but this number was sometimes increased to eight or ten when the ballet was presented in larger theatres.’
    • ‘Petipa was her champion: he cast her as Nikiya in his La Bayadère when she was still a coryphée in 1902.’
    • ‘It differs from the website where there is no distinction made between coryphées and corps de ballet.’
    • ‘Before we begin, a few lines from Carlo Ritorni's Comments on the life and choreodramatic works of Salvatore Vigano, and on choreography and coryphées held in the Library of the Paris Opera, are worth pondering.’
    • ‘She is very happy to be part of Danse Etoile as a coryphée.’


French, via Latin from Greek koruphaios ‘leader of a chorus’, from koruphē ‘head’.