Born and trained in the south of France, the 29-year-old was a ballet whiz kid. A decade with the Dutch National Ballet nurtured her affinity for Balanchine's choreography. The next step seemed fated: In 2003 Peter Martins invited her to join NYCB. Here, distinctive from the start, Sylve really took fire last season, as if she had finally come into her kingdom. Robustly built, with a vivid, piquant face, she couples an unparalleled techniqueall strength and claritywith tremendous power of projection. Her sheer physical vitality feels like an engine that energizes the entire theater, filling it with joy. While Sylve is extremely musical, she isn't a Romantic-style ballerina. Her dancing doesn't reveal her dreams or set the viewer dreaming. She's the poster girl for realityand a thoroughly modern woman. She even has her own website, with photos showing her in all her glory.