May Birthdays 

3rd Shale Wagman; 7th Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893); 8th Viviana Durante; 10th Fred Astaire (1899 - 1987); 11th Martha Graham (1894 - 1991), Fanny Cerrito (1817 - 1909); 13th Herman Cornejo; 15th Ashley Shaw, David Makhateli; 17th Tamara Rojo; 18th Margot Fonteyn (1919 - 1991), David Hallberg, Natalia Osipova, Thiago Soares; 19th Joshua Hoffalt, Vyacheslav (Sasha) Samodurov; 20th Anthony Crickmay (1937 - 2020); 22nd Irina Kolpakova; 23rd Xander Parish; 25th May Nagahisa, José Manuel Carreño; 27th Alina Cojocaru, Isadora Duncan (1877 - 1927), Bryony Brind (1960 - 2015).

Friedemann Vogel
Congratulations to Stuttgart Ballet principal Friedemann Vogel who has won the  “Outstanding Performer” award of the German Dance Prize 2020. The German Dance Prize was established in 1983 and is currently organized by the "Dachverband Tanz". The Dachverband Tanz Deutsch/and e. V. has been working as an official nationwide platform for artistic dance in Germany since 2006. 

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Winners in Biarritz

Results of the 1st Choreographic Competition From Your Home in Biarritz are: 1st prize – an all-expenses paid stay during the Time to Love festival and a creative day of work with the 22 dancers of Malandain Ballet Biarritz - was won by Nicolas Rombaut for his piece Emporté. The other six winners are: 2nd: Isolation by Graham Kotowich; 3rd: Dessine-moi un arbre by Maylis Arrabit; 4th: Ô maître carré ! by Iban Garat; 5th: Remotely Equal by Carlos Kerr Jr and Valeria Marangelli; 6th: Window Diaries by Laura Engholm and 7th: A History of Masks by Ari Soto. The jury comprised Martin Harriague, Richard Coudray and Thierry Malandain.

Margot Fonteyn

In memory of the prima ballerina assoluta who was born on 18 May 1919, we are posting report of a celebratory gala held last year, originally published in Dance Europe, July 2019. Click to read it HERE. 


Margot Fonteyn in Swan Lake. © Frederika Davis

Yuri Ng

Yuri Ng has been appointed as the new artistic director of City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong. He succeeds Dr Willy Tsao who resigned at the end of last year, and will take part in the future planning of the company with immediate effect before officially commencing his term from 1 January 2021.

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Yuri Ng. ©Vivien LIU@Studio UNIT

Young Dancer

Enzo Plazzotta's Young Dancer statue has graced Broad Court opposite the Royal Opera House since 16 May 1988. The sculptor chose Katie Pianoff, a student at the Royal Ballet School at the time, to pose for the artwork. Katie went on to dance with The Royal Ballet and The Australian Ballet and is now a classical ballet teacher in Australia.

May Nagahisa

The Mariinsky Ballet second soloist joined the company in St Petersburg shortly after graduating from the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco in 2017. She caught the attention of the Mariinsky's ballet director Yuri Fateyev when, having accepted an invitation by YAGP director Larissa Saveliev, she performed at a summer school gala in California. May had won the junior gold medal at the YAGP finals in New York a few years previously. 

Since joining the Mariinsky, May has already danced many principal roles including La Sylphide, Giselle, Juliet and Shirin in The Legend of Love. Dance Europe caught up with the young Japanese ballerina at her home near Osaka.

Click the photo to read the interview

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Didy Veldman. Courtesy of the Royal Ballet School

Didy Veldman

The Royal Ballet School has invited San Francisco Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School, The Royal Danish Ballet School and the Dutch National Ballet Academy to participate in an as yet untitled project choreographed by Didy Veldman. The piece will explore the possibilities of working within the restrictions imposed on dancers by the current lockdown. Video conferencing will bring together over 120 young dancers, who will have the opportunity to choreograph in collaboration with Veldman, divided in six groups.

Anne Heaton
Born 19 November 1930
Died 1 May 2020

Former bbodance director, Anne Heaton, passed away last Friday aged 89. Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, the British dancer and teacher trained in Birmingham and then at the Sadler’s Wells School before making her debut with the Sadler’s Wells Opera in 1945. She joined Sadler’s Wells Theatre Ballet the following year and created roles in many ballets including Frederick Ashton’s Valses nobles et sentimentales. She subsequently moved to Sadler’s Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, where she attained principal dancer status. She created roles in MacMillan’s The Burrow and The Invitation.

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John Field and Anne Heaton. Photo by courtesy of bbodance

Following her retirement due to injury in 1959 she taught at the Arts Educational School and also staged a number of ballets, including Giselle for the Iranian National Ballet.

Together with her husband, principal dancer and director John Field, Anne developed the existing bbodance Classical Ballet syllabus. As a result of their stewardship, bbodance syllabi and examinations were recognised by the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT). The bbodance Classical Ballet syllabi have been carefully adapted to the digital medium in recent years; every care was taken to preserve Anne and John's original work.


Xander Parish

Mariinsky Ballet principal dancer Xander Parish moved from London to St Petersburg ten years ago,  and has just been granted Russian citizenship. He explains: "I decided that I wanted access to Russia without the restrictions and complications of visas, my working visa of course being dependant on my employment. In years to come I want to be able to still come to Russia and reside here if I so choose without needing a visa so citizenship seemed the best option and it’s an honour to have received it." And certainly a welcome boost for cultural relations between the two countries!

His repertoire is now extensive and he was to have made his debut in The Bronze Horseman on 3 May. Unfortunately this is now postponed due to the lockdown. For updates on the situation at the Mariinsky go to

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Nikisha Fogo. © Younsik Kim

Nikisha Fogo

Born in Sweden and a first soloist with Wiener Staatsballett, Nikisha Fogo is joining San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer next season. She trained at the Kungliga Svenska Balettskolan and the Royal Ballet School in London. Her repertoire includes Legris’ Sylvia, Lacotte’s Coppélia, Nureyev’s Don Quixote, Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Neumeier’s Le Sacre, Forsythe’s The Second Detail and Wayne McGregor’s EDEN | EDEN.


Wona Park. © Emma Kauldhar

SFB Promotions

Wona Park and Max Cauthorn are promoted to principal dancer, and corps de ballet members Ellen Rose Hummel, Diego Cruz, Lucas Erni, and Myles Thatcher are promoted to soloist San Francisco Ballet. Apprentices SunMin Lee, Tyla Steinbach, Rubén Cítores, Lleyton Ho and Adrian Zeisel are promoted to the corps de ballet.

April Birthdays

1st Reid Anderson; 3rd Benjamin Pech; 4th Pierre Lacotte; 5th Jennifer Penney; 8th Liam Scarlett; 9th Lar Lubovitch; 10th Matz Skoog; 11th Gillian Murphy; 15th Monique Loudières, Frank Andersen; 16th Vadim Muntagirov; 17th Brenda Last; 18th Vladimir Vasiliev, Marcia Haydée; 22nd Ronald Hynd; 23rd Momoko Hirata; 25th Denys Ganio, Dara Baras; 25th Darcey Bussell; 26th Yasmine Naghdi; 30th Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

Paul Lightfoot
& Sol León

In December 2018, Paul Lightfoot announced that he would step down from the role of artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) as of the summer of 2020, after the 60th anniversary of the company. In this way he would switch to the role of artistic advisor/house choreographer, just as his choreographic 

partner, Sol León. During the recruitment process for the new artistic director, the supervisory board has however decided to end the position of house choreographer. Paul Lightfoot will therefore leave NDT as of 1 December 2020. Sol León will step down as of 1 October 2020. By remaining in position until December, Lightfoot will ensure a smooth transition to the new artistic director in the final months of 2020 and will be available for advice.

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Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. © Rahi Rezvani

Liam Scarlett

The Royal Opera House has confirmed that Liam Scarlett’s position with The Royal Ballet ended on 23 March 2020 and he will no longer work with, or for, The Royal Ballet. The ROH also confirms that the independent investigation has concluded and found there were no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with students of The Royal Ballet School.

Bolshoi Promotions

Elizaveta Kruteleva and Antonina Chapkina have been promoted to soloists at the Bolshoi Ballet.

Tania Wilmer

Dance Umbrella, London’s leading festival of international dance, has announced that Tania Wilmer has been appointed as executive director. She will work closely with Dance Umbrella’s artistic director and executive director, Emma Gladstone.