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Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg to leave The Royal Ballet


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3 JUNE 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg have announced they will leave The Royal Ballet at the end of the 2012/13 season to pursue other artistic challenges. Their last performance at the Royal Opera House as members of The Royal Ballet will be in Mayerling on 5 June. They will fulfil their touring engagement with the Company with their scheduled performances on 10 and 12 July in Tokyo. They will both continue dancing and will shortly announce their future plans.

 

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said:

“Alina and Johan have given many memorable performances as members of The Royal Ballet both at the Royal Opera House and around the world. Over the past ten years I have greatly enjoyed watching their unique partnership develop, as I know our audiences have, and I wish them every success in the next phase of their careers.”

 

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg joined The Royal Ballet in 1999. Speaking about their decision to leave the Company, they said:

“We have had wonderful experiences with The Royal Ballet over the years and feel fortunate to have worked alongside so many inspiring artists. We wish Kevin O’Hare and The Royal Ballet's  dancers and staff all the best for the future and would like to thank our loyal and supporting audience for sharing many magical moments with us.”

Edited by Ryo
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So sad to hear this, I saw them for the first time in Romeo & Juliet last year and thought it was one of the most beautiful performances of anything, not just ballet, that I'd ever seen. Was hoping to see them again sometime.

 

Wish them both all the very best for the future.

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This must be very sudden as, of course, they had performances booked for the fall season.  They have given so much joy to us all over the years.  We have SO much to be thankful for.  Perhaps Alina will join as a Principal with a combination of Hamburg (where she is a muse) and ABT (where she is hugely appreciated).  I wonder if she will guest with the Royal.  This departure (e.g., not fulfilling their Autumn commitments) makes one wonder.  I do hope so ... or, if not, that we might get to see at least her dance in London's theatres again with other notable companies.  All best wishes to both of these fine artists.  There is no question now but that Ms. Nunez will deservedly be the Senior Principal of the Royal Ballet.  With Acosta's departure surely in the not too distant future the cry will go out for strong men to fill the RB's principal male ranks, i.e., males who are able to fulfill both classical and new work commitments, and who are able to maintain the Royal;s established international ranking.  These artists are, of course, rare at any time.  (My dibs - for what it's worth - would be for someone of Sarafanov's ilk.   At least his entrechats (which Nureyev said defined 'any significant danseur') would come at lease close to matching those of Kobborg's own keen artistry.  There are certainly VERY few at any time who could.  We have been so, SO very privileged to see and learn from both.  Bless them.

Edited by Meunier
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What a surprise! Alina's website shows the following engagements

 

July 2013

 

3rd - Sleeping Beauty - ABT (Met) - (Cornejo)

 

12th - Swanlake - Royal Ballet/Tokyo Tour - (Kobborg)

 

15-19 - Denmark Tour - (Kobborg)

 

 

June 2013

 

5th - Mayerling - Royal Ballet - (Kobborg)

 

8th - (Mat) Symphony in C - Royal Ballet - (Pennefather)

 

21st - Swan Lake - ABT (Met) - (Cornejo)

 

25th - Liliom - Hamburg Ballet - (Jung)

 

30th - Nijinsky Gala - Hamburg Ballet

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That's a massive shock (to me at least). Does that actually mean that their last performance with the RB is in two days time? I anticipated Johan's departure in the near future, but I can't believe that Alina is going as well. Gosh, that's three principals going this summer, after Tamara's and Sergei's departures last year.

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I'll be savouring Alina's Sleeping Beauty at ABT next month - was hoping to catch her Aurora next season at ROH! 

 

By my count this announcement takes the Royal Ballet down to 7 male and 7 female Principals (with a fair amount of injuries unfortunately at the moment). Will be keeping a keen eye out for the end-of-season promotion announcements - should be interesting!

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I suppose that we'll never know, but I wonder whether this decision was made some time ago but is only being announced now (why so late?) or whether it made only very recently. Alina seems rather young to be going "freelance", but no doubt their future plans will become apparent in the not too distant future and will include contracts of some kind with another company or companies.

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That's a massive shock (to me at least). Does that actually mean that their last performance with the RB is in two days time? I anticipated Johan's departure in the near future, but I can't believe that Alina is going as well. Gosh, that's three principals going this summer, after Tamara's and Sergei's departures last year.

Yes, it will be their last performance in London with the RB.  They are still going on the summer tour to Japan. 

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Very best wishes to Johan and Alina for the future.

 

I was fortunate to see Johan dance a couple of times with RDB (sadly not in the Bournonville rep) before he joined the Royal and have seen him do some memorable performances with RB.  One of the best dancers of his generation.  I've seen less of Alina but enjoyed what I have seen of her.

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Given that a formal 'last performance with the Royal Ballet' in London has been announced as being 'June 5', I doubt sincerely if a ROH 'farewell' (as was granted to the devoted Ms. Rojo and the rather wayward Mr. Polunin) will be forthcoming.  They will have already 'officially' departed and the noted date given for fans to mark their reverence in London has been now noted.  It is ONLY sad that no advance notice of this COULD BE given.  That said, of course, their other performances in the Mayerling string did not materialise.  Who was to know that when the booking was announced .... You pays your money, et al.  Those lucky few (sadly not I) with a ticket for 5th June are most fortunate.  That is, of course, how history crumbles.  I well remember the dates of Vasiliev's Spartacus being changed after the initial casting was announced and having to beg borrow or steal (and blessedly I didn't have to do the latter) my way into those few historic performances which (happily) I did.    

 

On a side note, I wonder if this paves a further way for Vasiliev to join the ranks of the RB to 'fill a bravura breech' left as t'were not only by the hugely respected and wonderfully consistent Mr. Kobborg but also the departure of that self professed 'celebrity' Russian (and I've always thought Ivan came across quite modestly in interviews) formally in the RB employ  ... (I have now promised myself I will type his name no more than once in any one posting - that of the departed one that is).  Please know I'm not here making any statement as to the overall prudence of such for the RB, (that is arguably debatable as McKenzie made it clear it was for ABT), but simply remarking that this MIGHT now be an advanced possibility knowing as we do that (a) Vasiliev is 'moving to London' alongside his inordinately talented partner in life who IS joining the RB ranks and ( B) - given the sudden nature of this current pronouncement - a distinct feeling that the overall climate/hunger for such might well have altered given all the varying tributaries that WILL need to be balanced in order for the current realities of the RB to effectively flow.   

Edited by Meunier
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I think that the RB is going to have to recruit at least one principal ballerina from another company. Four female principals will have gone, with only one replacement. Apart from Yuhui there's no-one ready for promotion in the RB (IMO).

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Well, Aileen, if they brought Sarafanov ... they could HAPPILY bring Novikova into the RB fold  ... She would thrill in Alina's rep ... knowing, sadly, Alina will not be there to do it for her glorious self.  Both of these couples have a similar purity/truth in both the commitment and refinement of their artistry.  Like Alina and Johan, once seen they are never forgotten.  How blessed we have been.

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I sincerely hope that Ivan Vasiliev does not join the RB, though his circus tricks amuse many, I'd prefer a classicist to replace Kobborg. Could we poach another Dane I wonder, or perhaps arrange some sort of guest deal with someone at POB? Would settle for Matvienko or Sarafanov though.

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Right on both counts, Aileen .... but they, of course, guest around the world ... and for WORLD CLASS BALLET COMPANIES (which I will here, of course, include the RB) ... I assume ALL is fair in love and war.  Sarafanov left the Mariinsky as noted not (as I understand it) for money but to further his career and seeking a freedom to dance a more diverse repertory of choreography.  I would assume given the Royal's fabled established rep (can you imagine him and her in Month in the Country - delicious) and the fine current RB Director's rightful focus on the purvey of the new (bless him for his courage on the behalf of everyone's future) this would, I'd imagine, be a substantive draw.  Surely the economic circumstances would not differ substantially for someone at THIS level.  Their Mariinsky background would here be key and somehow I think the days of free-flowing dosh radiating from the Mikhailovsky's 'banana coffers' is - like, say, British banks - at least somewhat in doubt.  (I'm not entirely certain - with respect - I'd be so quick to put Mr. Golding on a similar plane just as yet.  As with EVERYTHING else in life ALL is about agendas and TIME - as Shakespeare was so fond of reminding us - rules.)  Moreover, it would allow this talented couple to be established together in one place, knowing as we do that they already have the joy of an infant child in tow .... and, hey, just think of THOSE feet!!)  

Edited by Meunier
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Kobborg was intimating months ago on Twitter that June 5th was going to be a very special performance, so I doubt this has been arranged suddenly.  My guess is that it has only been confirmed this late because there was a question mark over Cojocaru's participation.

 

With four principals going, this is indeed going to leave a major hole in the company, and I don't see four "in-house" dancers being in a position to "step up".

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I am too, Dave, but as Alison said - at least in HIS regard - I think we ALL saw this coming for some time.  I remember when he went out of the Oneign his text said the would be out 'for a LOOOONNNGGG time'.  Alina will know better than anyone what she NEEDS to do to husband her resources.  I am sure she has made the right decision for herself and, therefore, for us all.  How lucky we were to see that Rose Adagio at her gala.  It too wasn't originally printed in the programme as the decision on her performance in it was obviously held until the very last moment.   

Edited by Meunier
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 .... and, hey, just think of THOSE feet!!)  

Indeed...and that arabesque... the purity of line and the ability to fly.

Even when he delights with multiple tours en l’air it never comes across as a circus trick.

 

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There's no doubt that timing is everything in ballet (as in so many other fields). There are some talented dancers coming through but they are not yet ready to "step up" and the RB will almost certainly have to import some senior dancers. Unfortunately for those talented company dancers, by the time they are ready there may not be any spaces for them. The RB needs to look at its "succession planning" so that it does not find itself in the same situation in a few years time.

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This will leave some holes in next season's casting. Alina was due to appear in October in the new production ofDon Q with McRae (I think, from memory).  And Kobborg was supposed to be choreographing part of the opera les Vepres siciliennes, with principals from the RB and with the corps from the upper school, again with performances in October this year.  It sounds as if this will not be happening, though nothing was stated about this. 

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I'd heard there was a question-mark over that.

 

BTW, I just noticed on the Mayerling page "Although all seats are sold out online there are still boxes available for each performance. Ring the Box Office on 020 7304 4000 to book."  Maybe worth trying?

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