Claire Motte, former prima danseur at the Paris Opera and most recently its ballet master, died Wednesday in Paris after a long illness, the opera announced.
She was 48 and the cause of her death was not reported.
Miss Motte, trained by Carlotta Zambelli and Serge Lifar, spent her entire career with the Paris Opera.
She was known as a masterful technician in her interpretations of the leading roles in 60 ballets. She became a first dancer at the opera in 1956 and was the leading dancer from 1960-1979.
Among the many ballets in which she created roles were Lifar's "Chemin de la Lumiere" in 1957 and Roland Petit's "Turangalila" in 1968.
She was seen on television in the title role of Stravinsky's "The Firebird" in 1972 on PBS opposite Milenko Banovitch, and again in "Phedre" in 1973, the Jean Cocteau ballet based on the Greek tragedy.
Dance director Rudolf Nureyev, with whom she once danced lead roles in such ballets as "Swan Lake," chose her as ballet master in 1983, four years after she had quit performing.