Former NYC Ballet principal dancer Violette Verdy, 82, dies

Indiana University says Violette Verdy, a distinguished professor who was principal dancer for New York City Ballet for 20 years and former artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and Boston Ballet, has died. She was 82.

An Indiana University Jacobs School of Music spokeswoman says Verdy's assistant, Robin Allen, confirmed the ballerina died Monday in Bloomington after a brief illness.

The university says Verdy was the first woman to be artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet and the first to hold a university faculty chair position solely for ballet. She joined the Jacobs School ballet faculty in 1996.

Verdy was born on Dec. 1, 1933, in Pont-l'Abbe in northwest France and christened Nelly Armande Guillerm by her parents. She changed her name to Violette Verdy at age 15.