Alina Cojocaru is one of ballet’s most remarkable talents. The Romanian born dancer is famed for her rapid rise through the ranks of The Royal Ballet; she became a Principal of the company after two years, aged just 19 years old. After 10 years she moved to English National Ballet, where she remains a Lead Principal and is also a Guest Artist at Hamburg Ballet. In a career filled with awards, acclaim and awe-inspiring performances, we’ve picked just a few highlights from her journey so far…
WORKING WITH CHOREOGRAPHER ALEXEI RATMANSKY
It would be any ballet dancer’s dream to work with Ratmansky. The Russian choreographer and former director of the Bolshoi is widely considered to be ballet royalty. While at The Royal Ballet, Alina danced in his first ever creation for a British ballet company, 24 Preludes. The music of Chopin provided the inspiration for this dazzling piece of choreography for eight dancers in equally resplendent metallic costumes. Each fragment of the ballet evoked a different mood and unique characteristics of the dancers, in a series of solos, duets and trios.
HER FAREWELL PERFORMANCE WITH JOHAN KOBBORG IN MAYERLING
Their partnership has been compared to that of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. As a fellow Principal of The Royal Ballet, Alina met her partner Johan Kobborg in 2001 when the couple danced together in Romeo & Juliet. The pair said a final farewell to The Royal Ballet in 2013 with a memorable performance in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Mayerling, as the leading roles of Crown Prince Rudolf and his young lover Mary Vetsera. This dark tale of death and desire was perfectly executed with extraordinary synchronicity from the esteemed couple. For many ballet fans, the news of their departure marked the end of an era.
HER DEBUT WITH ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET
Alina’s first performance with English National Ballet was the company’s restaging of Le Corsaire: a thrilling pirate adventure, in which she danced the role of the heroine Medora. It was a show-stopping debut, made all the more special with a spectacular set by Hollywood designer, Bob Ringwood (the creator of Batman’s iconic Batsuit!). The Independent described it as a “radiant performance.”
WHEN SHE REINVENTED GISELLE
Alina is no stranger to the role of Giselle. She cited it as one of her favourite roles to dance from the classical ballet canon. In 2016, she was challenged by choreographer Akram Khan to reinvent the role for English National Ballet, drawing from influences from the Indian classical dance style of kathak. Her curiosity was a driving force in the creative process, which she admits was unlike rehearsing previous versions of the Romantic ballet. She told the Financial Times, “when I was trying to just find the movement, I always failed and it never looked right — but the moment we started talking about emotions, I felt at home.” The resulting performance was revered by audiences and critics as one of the most emotionally powerful productions of Giselle you will ever see.
Alina Cojocaru curates and performs a new programme of classical and contemporary dance at Sadler’s Wells from 20 – 23 Feb. Tickets are available?here.