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Dancing Around

from the notebooks (in Stepanov notation) at the Sergeyev Collection at Harvard…


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After Tamara Rojo, another prima ballerina has taken over an important managerial role in one of the most prestigious European theatres. Eleonora Abbagnato is a world-famous ballerina, the only Italian etoile at the Paris Opera Ballet after Carlotta Zambelli (dating back to the XIX century). However, not everyone may know that she has recently been appointed director of the corps de ballet at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and has big projects for the theatre.

Her first official presentation was held at the National Theatre in via del Viminale before the Lezione Aperta (open class) of the School of the Rome Opera Ballet on the 10th of May. Organised by Laura Comi, it was a presentation of the different technical levels of the ballet students in the form of a real every-day class routine, with the presence of the teachers on stage.

After the huge loss following Riccardo Muti’s departure, the acquisition on board of such an important figure feels like a new start for the theatre.

Italy has always been in my heart and I believe the Rome Opera House needs people with passion who believe in ballet.

These were Eleonora’s first words at the press conference.

Eleonora Abbagnato during the press conference.

Eleonora Abbagnato during the press conference.

My plan is to keep my role as an etoile at the Paris Opera Ballet, where there is now a new director who is the same age as me, Benjamin Millepied. I do not exclude, however, the possibility of dancing again for the public in Rome.

She announced that her aim is to bring the company to the same level as its historical rival, the La Scala Theatre in Milan, and has very clear views on how to make it possible:

Long-term contracts for the corps de ballet are essential for the growth of the company. It’s also important for the dancers to be followed by the same coaches and teachers.

For this reason, she has already appointed, as permanent maitres and repetiteurs, Patricia Ruanne, Frédéric Jahn (long-term collaborators of Nureyev at the Paris Opera Ballet) and Stephane Phavorin.

Patricia Ruanne and Frederic Jahn with then Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, Rudolf Nureyev.

Patricia Ruanne and Frederic Jahn with the then Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, Rudolf Nureyev.


The world’s premier of the new ballet “Hamlet” is scheduled for the 11th of March and it will run until the 15th of the same month.

A ballet in two acts choreographed by the innovative Radu Poklitaru, director and artistic manager of the Kyiv Modern-Ballet, and staged by the English director Declan Donnellan on two Shostakovich symphonies.

While the casting has yet to be made official, a short video of the rehearsal was released starring Bolshoi principal Artem Ovcharenko and Diana Kosyreva, member of the Corps de Ballet.

Artem Ovcharenko

Artem Ovcharenko

Diana Kosyreva

Diana Kosyreva

The Royal Ballet has just announced promotions, joiners and leavers for the 2013/14 Season.

Melissa Hamilton has been promoted to First Soloist.

Melissa Hamilton

Olivia Cowley, Elizabeth Harrod and Fumi Kaneko have all been promoted to Soloist.

Olivia Cowley

Olivia Cowley

Elizabeth Harrod

Fumi Kaneko

NOTA: Fumi Kaneko is the girl in the rehearsal video of the Nutcracker.

Hayley Forskitt, Francesca Hayward and Tristan Dyer have been promoted to First Artists.

Francesca Hayward and Tristan Dyer in “Infra”

Annette Buvoli and David Donnelly will join as Artists from The Royal Ballet School.

Masaya Yamamoto joins The Royal Ballet from the Prix de Lausanne.

Masaya Yamamoto

Masaya Yamamoto

As previously announced, Natalia Osipova joins the company as Principal, and Anna Rose O’Sullivan, Luca Acri and Marcelino Sambé joined as Artists during the 2012/2013 Season.

Leaving the company are Principals : Mara Galeazzi, Leanne Benjamin, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg.

Born in 1987 in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, she graduated from the Ballet School of the Dnepropetrovsk Opera and Ballet Theatre in 2002. That very same year she joined the Ballet Company of Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. She also trained in 2008-09 at the Moscow State Ballt Academy.

Her professional awards include medals at The World’s Young Ballet International Competition in 2008, the XI Moscow International Ballet competition in 2009 and the Seoul International Ballet Competition in 2010.

She’s currently a First Soloist at Mikhailovsky Theatre.





Here are a couple of videos of her taken during rehearsals: the first one is the Gulnara variation from Le Corsaire and the second, well, it’s just her showing off…

Video 1:

Video 2:

Freddie – Royal Ballet Rehearsal.

Just found this and it made me smile a lot.

Freddie Mercury rehearsing with Royal Ballet.

Some of the top ballet dancers from all around the world stretching and warming up during class all together for the Dance Open International Ballet festival which took place last April.

Photos by Mark Olich

Very sad news for one of the showpiece productions of the forthcoming Royal Opera season. One of Giuseppe Verdi’s lesser known operas Les vepres siciliennes (I vespri siciliani), it has never been performed at Covent Garden and was due to feature a 40-minute lavish ballet on the theme of the four seasons. The new staging, a co-production between the Royal Opera and the Royal Danish Opera, was to have featured principals of both The Royal Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet in choreography by Kobborg.

As a result of artistically differing approaches to the project between Johan Kobborg and director Stefan Herheim, Johan Kobborg and The Royal Ballet will no longer be working on this production. In the official press statement released last friday, ROH assured there would still be ” a strong element of dance in the production” even though it will be performed by freelance dancers.

The production, which opens on the 17th of October, will be conducted by musical director Antonio Pappano and is one of the most anticipated of the season, celebrating the bicentenary of Verdi’s birth.

All in all, a very unpleasant event, concerning one of the most talented and renowned ballet dancers and coreographers, Johan Kobborg, who already announced his departure from Royal Ballet together with partner Alina Cojocaru.

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in “Mayerling”, announced to be their last performance as members of the Royal Ballet.

Here is the official statement by ROH on this subject.

For the 12th time the Dance Open International Ballet Festival was held in St. Petersburg, April 18-22. It is starting to become one of the most important ballet festivals around the world, recently ranked by the English newspaper “The Independent” among the top ten.

Originally it was conceived to give talented ballet students the opportunity to take master classes with outstanding teachers from the Vaganova Academy, Dance Open has recently grown to include a “gala” section with the most famous and renowned ballet dancers from around the world and a final competition as well.

The mornings were scheduled for five masterclasses with prominent Russian teachers and dance instructors from the Vaganova Ballet Academy and Mariinsky Theater, while the evenings where dedicated to the main performances. For the first time since its inception, it featured a triple bill of contemporary works performed by three top ballet companies: the Slovene National Ballet Company, the Semperoper Ballett Dresden and the Bolshoi Ballet. The third night was dedicated to a themed gala entitled “A History of Russian Ballet” and on the final night the “Gala of International Stars”, an incredible gathering of some of the world’s top dancers competing for the prestigious crystal replica of the bronze cast of Anna Pavlova’s foot.

The judges for this event were nine company directors – Vladimir Malakhov, Denis Matvienko, Yuri Fateev, Boris Eifman, Igor Zelensky, Kevin O’Hare, Edward Clug, Galina Stepanenko and Aaron Watkin – and two choreographers – Hans van Manen and David Dawson.

Final winners?

Lucia Lacarra.

Lucia Lacarra.

BEST DUET: Jurgita DroninaFabien Voranger and Elisa Carrillo CabreraMikhail Kaniskin

From left to right: Fabien Voranger, Jurgita Dronina, Mikhail Kaniskin and Elisa Carrillo Cabrera.

PEOPLE’s CHOISE AWARD: Daniel Ulbricht
MR. VIRTUOSO: Joseph Gatti

From left to right: Daniel Ulbricht, Ashley Bouder and Joseph Gatti.

MS. VIRTUOSO: Ashley Bouder and Iana Salenko

Iana Salenko in “Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux”


Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin in ‘Thiais’.

MR. EXPRESSIVITY: Herman Cornejo

Herman Cornejo with Iana Salenko in “Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux”.