Dance Europe

Issue No. 264
Dec '22/Jan '23

Olga Smirnova

We are very happy to announce that Olga Smirnova has been voted at the Dancer of the Year 2022 by the readers of Dance Europe following the initial nomination by Valentina Bonelli in the annual Critics' Choice. Currently a principal dancer with Dutch National Ballet, Olga is pictured on the front cover in Grand Pas Classique, which she performed in the company's 60th anniversary gala. She is also featured and in a filmed interview, in which she talks frankly about leaving the Bolshoi and her new life in Amsterdam in the Dec/Jan issue of Dance Europe.

Xander's Story 

After 12 years of living and dancing in St Petersburg, Xander Parish left his career as principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet - and much else behind - due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. After many months without performing, he joined the Norwegian National Ballet and also taken on the directorship of a project, Reunited in Dance, launched at the Segerstrom Center in California in November. Included in this filmed interview is a short excerpt from Juliano Nunes's new ballet Canvas.

Laurent Hilaire
After relinquishing his post at the Stanislavsky Theatre, the former Paris Opera étoile  talks about his new role as director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett

Ingrid Lorentzen
Norwegian National Ballet's artistic director contemplates a decade of achievements and challenges.

Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken
The Norwegian National Ballet principal  talks about the adversities she has overcome in a film which show shot excerpts from her performances in Onegin, Giselle and Hedda Gabler - a ballet which was created on her.

One Year in Munich
After graduating from the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança last year, António Casalinho and Margarita Fernandes were engaged as soloists with the Bayerisches Staatsballett. In this short film they recall the ballets there have performed since joining the company. 


A Diamond Celebration

Mats Ek - Rite of Spring

Romeo and Juliet

10th Anniversary Gala

Reunited in Dance

The inaugural performance of Reunited in Dance took placed at the Segerstrom Center in California on 12 November and brought together many of the dancers who fled Russia at the start of the war in March, including Jacopo Tissi, Ilya Jivoy, Lizi Avsajanishvili, David Motta Soares, Andrea Lassakova, Adrian Blake Mitchell, Laura Fernandez, Boris Zhurilov, Joy Womack, Vsevolod Maievskyi, Jasmine Sophie Henry, Katia Raj, Veronika Selivanova and Xander Parish, the artistic director of the company. The cast was joined by the ABT principal, Ukrainian ballerina Christine Shevchenko. Xander talks about the initiative, which is generously supported by Elizabeth Segerstrom, in the Dec/Jan issue of Dance Europe. PHOTOS: © KAROLINA KURAS

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Le Concours - Paris Opera

Following the annual concours at the Paris Opera the following promotions have been announced (above - pictured left to right): Antoine Kirscher to premier danseur; Guillaume Drop and Antonio Confirm to sujets; and Aurélien Gay and Alexandre Boccara to coryphées; (below - pictured left to right): Bleuenn Battistoni to premiere danseuse; Clara Mousseigne and Hohyun Kang to sujets; and Luna Peigné and Hortense Millet-Maurin to coryphées. Photos Julien Benhamou/Chris Dève/Opéra national de Paris.

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José Martinez - Director of Dance, Paris Opera. © OnP

José Martinez
New Paris Opera Director

Former Paris Opera étoile José Martinez is returning to the company as its newly named Director of Dance on 5 December, a few days after the Estonian National Ballet's company premiere of his production Le Corsaire. Martinez gave his farewell performance as a dancer at the Palais Garnier performing the role of Baptiste in his ballet Les Enfants du Paradis on 15 July 2011 to take up the position of artistic drector of te Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid. Martinez succeeds Aurélie Dupont who stepped down on 31 July 2022. Since 2019, he has been an independent teacher and choreographer and a film about his staging of Le Corsaire for the Slovenian National Ballet in Ljubljana can be viewed in Dance Europe YouTube. Martinez has now pledged to devote himself exclusively to his role as Director of Dance at the Paris Opera, thus renouncing further choreographic projects, with the exception of two commitments previously made in Bordeaux in June 2023 and in Stockholm in October 2023 where he will oversee the revival of his ballets. A total of 23 applications, including nine women and 14 men, were received for the post, 11 of which were French nationals and 12 foreigners.The selection committee considered eight candidates and rendered its recommendations to Alexander Neef, the Director General of the Paris Opera, who decided to interview two women and two men. Neef's final choice fell on José Martinez. As indicated when the recruitment process was announced, all applications and projects will remain confidential.


of the Year

Congratulations to our Dancers of the Year - Alexandre Cagnat, Catherine Hurlin, Cesar Corrales, Christian Bauch, Edward Watson, Friedemann Vogel, Fumi Kaneko, Grete Sofie Borud Nybakken, Olga Smirnova, Paul Marque, Young Gyu Choi and Yui Yonezawa - nominated by Dance Europe's writers.  The readers' vote is now closed. The Dancer of the Year 2022 will be featured in the next issue of Dance Europe.

Mayerling in Paris

Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling has entered the repertoire of the Paris Opera and performances continue until 12 November. Photos and curtain calls from the générale with Mathieu Ganio as Crown Prince Rudolf, Ludmila Pagliero as Mary Vetsera and Laura Hecquet as Countess Marie Larisch.
Casting and more information at Photos © Emma Kauldhar

Into the Music

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Into the Music programme features the Kylián classic Forgotten Land and Uwe Scholz's magnificent The Seventh Symphony plus a new piece, Hotel, by Morgann Runacre-Temple. Premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 21 October, the bill can be seen at Sadler's Wells from 2 - 5 November. More information at PHOTOS © EMMA KAULDHAR

Light of Passage

Set to Górecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Crystal Pite's Light of Passage was premiered by The Royal Ballet on 18 October. The work comprises Pite's Flight Pattern with the addition of two new creations, Covenant and Passage. The large cast includes Kristen McNally, Marcelino Sambé, Madison Bailey, Calvin Richardson, Luca Acri, Benjamin Ella, Ashley Dean, Joseph Sissens, Isabel Lubach, Matthew Ball; Company of Elders dancers Isidora Barbara Joseph and Christopher Havell; and six junior associates of the Royal Ballet School - complete cast on the ROH website HERE Performances continue until 3 November. Curtain calls from the general rehearsal. PHOTOS © EMMA KAULDHAR 

Sleeping Beauty
in Amsterdam

Dutch National Ballet opens its run of Peter Wright's production of The Sleeping Beauty at the National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam on 12 October with performances continuing until 2 January. The opening night cast includes Maia Makhateli as Princess Aurora, Jakob Feyferlik as Prince Florimund, Erica Horwood as the Lilac Fairy, Floor Eimers as Carabosse, Riho Sakamoto and Sho Yamada as the Bluebirds. More info at PHOTOS © EMMA KAULDHAR


The Royal Ballet's second performance of MacMillan's Mayerling at the ROH this season featured Steven McRae returning to the role of Crown Prince Rudolf opposite Sarah Lamb's Mary Vetsera, along with Anna Rose O'Sullivan as Princess Elizabeth, Yasmine Naghdi as Countess Larisch, Annette Buvoli as Empress Elizabeth, Mayara Magri as Mitzi Caspar, Isabella Gasparini as Princess Louise and James Hay as Bratfisch. Performances continue until 30 Nov - casting and more info at Photos © EMMA KAULDHAR

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Who is Crown Prince Rudolf? 

AMANDA JENNINGS asks Steven McRae, Friedemann Vogel, Gergő Ármin Balázsi and Patryk Walczak how they prepare for one of the toughest roles in the male repertoire in the October/November issue of Dance Europe.

Sir Peter Wright

Recently named Founding Director Laureate of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sir Peter was just about to sign a producer's contract with the BBC when John Cranko offered him a balletmaster's post in Stuttgart - and the rest is history. Read Sir Peter's story in the Oct/Nov issue of Dance Europe.