A former track and field athlete in France, Mr. Rioult came to the United States on a fellowship from the French Ministry of Culture to study modern dance in 1981. After performing with the companies of May O’Donnell and Paul Sanasardo he was invited to join the Martha Graham Dance Company. He interpreted many of the most prestigious roles in the Graham repertory as a principal dancer, and in 1990, Ms. Graham created the central role (Death Figure) in her ballet Eye of the Goddess for him. Mr. Rioult performed opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov and Joyce Herring in El Penitente and was featured in two television specials: “Martha Graham in Japan” and “Five Dances by Martha Graham,” filmed at the Paris Opera.
Since starting his own company, RIOULT Dance NY in 1994, Mr. Rioult has dedicated his energies to developing his own choreographic style and nurturing a robust ensemble of dancers. Of his work, Black Diamond, Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times wrote, “…he has met the challenge of comparison with George Balanchine.”
Mr. Rioult’s works have been commissioned by the American Dance Festival; Cal Performances Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA; the Ballet du Nord in Roubaix, France; the Geneva Ballet, Switzerland; The Orchestra of St. Luke’s; the Gordon & Harriet Greenfield Foundation; the Grand Marnier Foundation; the Théâtre de Saint Quentin en Yvelines France; Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA; and Marymount Manhattan College; among others. He is a two-time recipient of the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography.