Dance Europe
Issue No. 260
April/May 2022


American Ballet Theatre has appointed Susan Jaffe to succeed Kevin McKenzie as its new director. LINK
Bayerisches Staatsballett has announced the appointment of Laurent Hilaire as its new artistic director. LINK

ENB's Emerging Dancer
has been won by Eric Snyder.

Gavriel Heine

The renowned conductor Gavriel Heine who resigned from the Mariinsky following Russia's invasion in to Ukraine, has been working as a guest conductor with The Royal Ballet

Javier Torres

Following a career spanning 22 years - with the National Ballet of Cuba and, for the last 12 years, with Northern Ballet - Javier Torres gave his farewell performance in Kenneth Tindall's Casanova at Sadler's Wells on 14 May.  This short video follows Javier as he prepares for the show and captures his final curtain calls.

Javier meets Javier

Following his farewell performance with Northern Ballet, Javier Torres catches up with his namesake Javier Torres, choreographer and former Finnish National Ballet dancer. The latter will take over the direction of the Finnish National Ballet on 1 August.

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Sleeping Beauty
in Berlin

Staatsballett Berlin premiered Marcia Haydée's production of The Sleeping Beauty on 13 May with Polina Semionova as Princess Aurora, Alexandre Cagnat as Prince Desiré, Dinu Tamazlacaru as Carabosse and Elisa Carrillo Cabrera as the Lilac Fairy. More information on further performances HERE

Swan Lake Debuts

Bouquets and cheers for Claire Calvert and Nicol Edmonds who made their debuts as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried with The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake last night and. The performance was conducted by the Russian-trained American Gavriel Heine, who has resigned from the Mariinsky following Russia's invasion in Ukraine.

Ashton Ballets

The Royal Ballet is presenting a triple bill of ballets by its founding choreographer Frederick Ashton from 23 April - 2 May. Several dancers are making debuts including Alexander Campbell, Fumi Kaneko, Vadim MUntagirov, Yasmine Naghdi and Reece Clarke in Scènes de Ballet; Laura Morera and William Bracewell in A Month in the Country; and Cesar Corrales, Marcelino Sambé, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Akane Takada in Rhapsody. Set to Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, the latter was created on Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lesley Collier in 1980. Photos by Emma Kauldhar courtesy of the ROH

Quimera Red

Quimera Red, a short film choreographed by former Royal Ballet principal Thiago Soares and directed by Oskar Metsavaht, has been selected for this year's film festival in Cannes. Thiago, who appears in the film with Lana Rhodes, explains that his artful is "about two lost soul lovers of the modern world that find each other, find compassion and a way to communicate that is unique and special to both of them. Between imagination and reality this film has no words but steps." Cinematography is by João Faissal, music by Caleb Ruiz and the film was edited by Marcelo Lince. The Cannes Film Festival runs from 17 - 28 May.

David Nixon

The performance of The Great Gatsby by Northern Ballet at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh on 23 April marked the end of an era as it was the last show under the direction of David Nixon who has led the company for two decades - Federico Bonelli takes over as the new artistic director from 1 May. The performance was also the last by Ashley Dixon who is retiring as a dancer to take up the post of Principal Character Artist and Assistant Rehearsal Director. © Mike Dixon


François Alu

The Paris Opera named François Alu an étoile after his performance in Nureyev's La Bayadère at the Opera Bastille on 23 April. 


Margarita Fernandes and António Casalinho made their debuts as Swanhilda and Franz - their first professional performances in principal roles in a full-length ballet - in Petit's Coppélia at the Bayersiches Staatsballett on 16 April.

Federico Bonelli

Following a career spanning 19 years with The Royal Ballet, the Italian principal dancer is moving on to a new role as artistic director of Northern Ballet. He shares his story with Dance Europe.

Nicolas Le Riche

Currently the artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, the former Paris Opera étoile talks about his extraordinary career as a dancer and how he has adapted to his new role.

The Royal Ballet 2022-23

The Royal Ballet will open the new season with MacMillan's Mayerling on 5 October and will premiere a new ballet by Crystal Pite on 18 October. This season will also include a programme - A Diamond Celebration - to mark the 60th anniversary of the Friends of Covent Garden; revivals of The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty; a world premiere by Wayne McGregor on a bill with Corybantic Games and Anastasia Act III. More info at

Paris Opera Ballet School

The Paris Opera Ballet School is presenting a programme comprising Balanchine's La Somnambule, Violette Verdy's Variations and Nils Christe's Symphony in Three Movements at the Palis Garnier on 14, 15 & 16 April Curtain calls from the general rehearsal.

John Cranko School
Advocating that all the world’s best ballet companies had schools attached, John Cranko founded his school in 1971 to train young dancers for the Stuttgart Ballet, which he had directed since 1961. The theory was sound and, according to the School’s current director, Tadeusz Matacz, up to 70 per cent of the company’s dancers have come through the John Cranko School. The School has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and Matacz gives an in-depth interview in this film.

Brief Encounters - Martí Fernández Paixà, Rocío Alemán and Adhonay Soares da Silva
Stuttgart Ballet principal dancers Martí Fernández Paixà, Rocío Alemán and Adhonay Soares da Silva all studied at the John Cranko School and, in these short interviews, they talk about  their experiences both at the school and since joining the Stuttgart Ballet.

Raymonda - World Premiere

Dutch National Ballet premiered its new production of Raymonda by Rachel Beaujean on 3 April in Amsterdam. The cast was led by Maia Makhateli as Raymonda, Young Gyo Choi as And al-Rahman and Semyon Velichko as Jean de Brienne with Riho Sakamoto, Yuanyuan Zhang, Edo Wijnen and Sho Yamada as Henriette, Clémence, Bernard and Béranger respectively. Subsequent casts will include Olga Smirnova and Victor Caixeta who have just joined the company. More details

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Igor Zelensky

Bayerisches Staatsballett has announced that, with effect from 4 April 2022 Igor Zelensky is stepping down as director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett for private family reasons. The Bavarian Ministry of Science and Art will be conducting a search for a successor, who will be appointed within the next weeks. During this interim period, the ballet masters Judith Turos and Thomas Mayr will jointly cover and secure a continuity.

Dance for Ukraine

Organised by Ivan Putrov and Alina Cojocaru, the Dance for Ukraine evening was held at the London Coliseum on 19 March and has, to date, raised £140,000. AThe dancers - Katja Khaniukova, Aitor Arrieta, Javier Torres, Alison McWhinney, Fernando Gabriele Frola, Fumi Kaneko, William Bracewell, Rebecca Bassett-Graham, Salvatore De Simone, Allina Cojocaru, Mathieu Ganio, Luca Acri, Emma Hawes, Junor Souza, Miki Mizutani, Mathias Dingman, Natalia Osipova, Marianela Núñez, Reece Clarke and Marianna Tsembenhoi, along with the ENO Chorus and Orchestra, all gave their services for free. A review will appear in the April/May issue. Please donate HERE

Les Hivernales de la Dance
A spontaneous collage of the ballet gala captured by dancersdiary with Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball, Frederic Deberdt, Patricia Velazquez, Osiel Gouneo, Myriam Ould-Braham, Eve-Marie Dalcourt, Toon Lobach, Maria Kochetkova, Sebastian Kloborg and Elena Dombrowski. The event, organised by Marie Doutrepont, was held in Liege from 11 - 13 March.

Budapest Opera House Reopens
Following five years during which the Opera House in Budapest has been closed for restoration and modernisation, the theatre opened its doors again on 12 March 2022. The first ballet to grace the stage was Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling, performed by the Hungarian National Ballet on 14 March. This short film shot by Gerard Davis gives a glimpse of the exquisite building. The performance will be reviewed in the April/May issue of Dance Europe.

Federico Bonelli Farewell Performance 

After a career spanning 19 years with the Royal Ballet, Italian principal Federico Bonelli gave his last public performance with the company on 4 March. He partnered Fumi Kaneko in her Odette/Odile debut. As is traditional at Covent Garden on such occasions, flowers cascaded on him from the upper boxes. Many of Bonelli's dance partners joined him on the stage and director Kevin O'Hare congratulated the principal dancer on his many achievements. In turn, an emotional Bonelli thanked those who had supported him throughout his illustrious career, including his wife, former Royal Ballet first soloist Hikaru Kobayashi, who was also on stage with the couple's young daughter. Bonelli takes over the direction of Northern Ballet on 1 May. A filmed interview with Federico Bonelli will be published din the April/May issue of Dance Europe.

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Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

Jean-Christophe Maillot, Choreographer-Director of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo has officially informed Vladimir Urin, Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, that he was suspending the rights to present his ballet The Taming of the Shrew, created in 2014 for this Theatre, following "his refusal to endorse this war by presenting his work within this artistic and political institution that is the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow." Read the full statement HERE.

Olga Smirnova & Victor Caixeta

Under the direction of Ted Brandsen, the Dutch National Ballet has announced that Bolshoi principal Olga Smirnova and Mariinsky soloist Victor Caixeta are joining the company.  Both dancers will be appearing the the company's new production of Raymonda, with additional choreography by Rachel Beaujean after Petipa, which runs from 3 - 23 April.


Olga Smirnova


Victor Caixeta

Swan Lake

The Royal Ballet received a standing ovation for the opening night of its current run of Liam Scarlett's production of Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House on 1 March. The cast was led by Yasmine Naghdi (replacing Marianela Núñez who is recovering from Covid) and Vadim Muntagirov, with James Hay as Benno, Isabella Gasparini and Meaghan Grace Hinkis as Siegfried's sisters and Bennet Gartside as as Rothbart. The ROH orchestra played the Ukrainian national anthem before the performance and the front of house was bathed in blue and yellow light to denote support for the Ukrainian people.

BRB - Don Quixote

Carlos Acosta's new production of Don Quixote was premiered on 18 February at the Birmingham Hippodrome and will now tour to The Lowry, Salford (2 - 5 Mar); Sunderland Empire (10 - 12 March) and the Theatre Royal Plymouth (16 - 19 March). Pictured - Momoko Hirata and Mathias Dingman as Kitri and Basilio, Max Maslen as Amour and Brandon Lawrence as Espada. © Emma Kauldhar. Casting, dates, and times HERE

Pure Bliss in Stuttgart

Stuttgart Ballet presented Pure Bliss - a triple bill by Johan Inger comprising the company premiere of Bliss, revival of Out of Breath and the world premiere of Aurora's Nap at the Opera House in Stuttgart on 25 February. Pictured - Miriam Kacerova and Roman Novitzky in Aurora's Nap; Alessandro Giaquinto in Bliss; and Shaked Heller in Out of Breath. There will be further performances on 4 March. 2, 9, 11, 15, 17 April. More info HERE

Laurent Hilaire

Laurent Hilaire has announced that he is resigning from his post at the Stanislavsky Ballet as the current situation no longer allows him to work peacefully. The former Paris Opera étoile was appointed dance director of Moscows' Stanislavsky and Nemirovitch-Danchenko Theatre in 2017.


New York City Ballet

Congratulations to Peter Walker, Harrison Ball and Jovani Furlan who have been promoted to principal dancers at New York City Ballet.

Grand Audition Contracts

Following the Grand Audition in Barcelona, nine contracts have been offered so far... Congratulations to Ilona Quenot, Maya Schonbrun, Celine Urquhart, Soshi Suzuki, Wisse Scheele, Gil Ben Ayon, Ronger Teng, Sena Motoyoshi and João Filipe Santana Domingos.  The event was attended by artistic directors Nicolas Le Riche, Madeleine Onne, Ernst Meisner and Petar Dorcevski in person and  Vyachesla Samodurov and Septime Webre remotely (due to travel restrictions).

Prix de Lausanne 
The scholarship winners of the 2022 Prix de Lausanne announced in Montreux on 5 February are: Darrion Sellman (United States), Tsukino Tanaka (Japan), Luciana Sagioro (Brazil), Mingyang Xie (China), Dorian Plasse (France), Maya Schonbrun (United States) and Amy Ronnfeldt (Australia). The remaining finalists, selected from 70 candidates, were Yasemin Kayabay (Turkey), Yeonseo Choi (South Korea), Heewon Moon (South Korea), Micah Levine (United States), Geon hee Park (South Korea), Jeongwoo Mun (South Korea), Ned Manning-Lourey (Australia), Miguel Oliveira (Brazil),  Lexi McCloud (United States), Sumon Lee (South Korea), Seungmin Lee (South Korea), Sachiya Takata (Japan) and Hyo Shimizu (Australia). Congratulations to all.