Micheline Bardin-Levin Esprit D’Excellence Dance Studio
By Lori Adler
Micheline Bardin-Levin was a true prima ballerina from France who lived out her later years in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Upon her death, money from her estate was donated to the Campanile Center for the Arts in Minocqua, which was used to create a full dance studio in the basement of the center.
Micheline was born in 1920 in Paris. She was chosen to enter the Paris Opera Dance School at age eight; by age 14, she had secured the leading role in Swan Lake. Just a few years later, Micheline was a corps dancer for the world-renowned Paris Opera Ballet, achieving the high honor of Danseuse Étoile, which translated means Star Dancer, also known as Prima Ballerina. Micheline retired from ballet in 1957.
Following retirement, she became the host of a popular Canadian television show called Micheline, worked for Canadian radio and even made a record of her performances of French songs. During a tour of the United States in the 1970’s, she met Sherman Levin, who was originally from Wausau. They married in 1980 and built a summer home in Minocqua not long after.
Micheline is said to have enjoyed the beauty and the wildlife of Northwoods, and following the death of her husband in 1993, she decided to live full time in Minocqua. Micheline died in 2014 in Minocqua; she had no heirs.
As dance education was a passion of Micheline, her estate donated $310,000 to the Campanile Center which was used to create the dance studio in the center’s basement. The studio features all the necessities for classical ballet as well as a memorial wall with pictures of Micheline during her years with the Paris Opera Ballet. Dance classes are held in the studio through Island City Dance in Minocqua.