people and news

UK Government has pledged £1.57bn to support the arts. LINK

And more information HERE

July Birthdays 

3rd Maria Khoreva; 4th Francesca Hayward; 5th Eve Mutso, Eliot Feld; 8th Cynthia Gregory; 11th Julie Kent; 13th Leanne Benjamin, Diana Vishneva; 22nd Adam Cooper, Johannes Öhman, Boris Eifman, Julia Farron (1922 - 2019); 25th Charles Jude; 27th Pina Bausch (1940 - 2009), David Blair (1932 - 1976), Anton Dolin (1904 - 1983); 28th Jacques d'Amboise; 30th Patrice Bart

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Semperoper Ballett
has announced that Marcelo Gomes and Sofiane Sylve will be joining the company next season as ballet masters/principal dancers and Carlo Di Lanno will be joining as a principal dancer. Photos : Chris Mann, David Allen, Chris Hardy


Teatro Realre-opening with socially distanced production of La Traviata. Report in the Guardian HERE

Nikolai Fadeyechev

The Russian dancer Nikolai Fadeyechev passed away on 23 June aged 87. He partnered many of the Bolshoi's top ballerinas including Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya, and was a mentor to many Bolshoi principals dancers — including his own son, Aleksei Fadeyechev, as well as Tsiskaridze, Uvarov, Filin, Ovcharenko and Skvortsov.

Julian MacKay


Julian MacKay in Don Quixote, Ballet Icons Gala, London, 2020. © Emma Kauldhar

San Francisco Ballet and artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson has announced the appointment of Julian MacKay, 22, as principal dancer. A native of Montana, MacKay trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and became the first American to complete both the upper and lower-level school. He has won awards at the Prix de Lausanne, Istanbul International Ballet Competition, Youth American Grand Prix, Young Ballet of the World (Sochi) and the Beijing International Ballet Competition.  At the age of 17, he made his professional debut as Siegfried in Swan Lake with the Russian State Ballet in Berlin, later joining The Royal Ballet as their 2016 Prix de Lausanne prize winner. Shortly after, upon personal invitation from Mikhail Messerer, MacKay joined the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg as a Second Soloist, later receiving a promotion to First Soloist. He  will join San Francisco Ballet for the 2021 season.


Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, has now opened to visitors. More information and tickets HERE


New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet has announced the cancellation of its 2020 Fall Season which was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 22 and continue for four weeks, through Sunday, October 18, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. NYCB has also cancelled its 2020-21 engagement of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, which was scheduled to take place from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 3. NYCB hopes to resume performances at Lincoln Center with its 2021 Winter Season, which is scheduled to begin a six-week run on Tuesday, January 19. As the Company did during the recently cancelled 2020 Spring Season, New York City Ballet plans to present digital offerings during the period of time when live performances will not be possible. NYCB has also created a special Relief Fund for patrons who would like to support the Company and help to sustain NYCB through the very challenging days of the COVID-19 crisis. Contributions can be made at or by texting the word BALLET to 31966. All contributions to NYCB’s Relief Fund are 100% tax deductible and will be matched one to one by an anonymous donor (up to $250,000) through June 30.

Dancing at Dusk

Originally published last year, Gerard Davis's interview with Germaine Acogny tells the story behind Sadler's Wells's latest Digital Stage offering, Dancing at Dusk – a moment with Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring in partnership with Pina Bausch Foundation and École des Sables. Click on the cover to read the interview. The film will be available to view from 1 - 31 July. Tickets £5 HERE


The Rite of Spring - Mohamed Y. Shika at Ecole Des Sables.
Photo: Abdoul Mujyambere

Joffrey Crisis Stabilization Fund
The Joffrey Ballet today announced the cancellation of all performances for the remainder of 2020, a response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. Cancelled productions include MacMillan’s Manon (October 14-25, 2020) and Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker (December 5-27, 2020). The Joffrey’s winter and spring performance dates, scheduled for February and April/May of 2021, respectively, will continue as planned; specific programming will be announced at a later date. Additionally, the Joffrey has established a Crisis Stabilization Fund to recoup financial losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Joffrey Ballet - Geraldine Mendoza and Miguel Angel Blanco in Glass Pieces. © Cheryl Mann

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Stéphane Lissner © Elisa Haberer/Opéra National de Paris

Stéphane Lissner leaves Paris Opera 

Paris Opera general director Stéphane Lissner has announced that he is standing down from his post at the end of the year, seven months before his contract was due to expire in July 2021. His successor will be Alexander Neef, who is currently leading the Canadian Opera Company. In recent years, the Paris Opera has suffered a catalogue of challenging events including the terrorists attacks on Paris, the prolonged general strike (which the Paris Opera’s dancers joined) ignited by President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, and Covid-19 that has seen both the Palais Garnier and the Opera Bastille dark since they were lockdowned on 17 March. The multiple crises have left the Paris Opera with a €45 million debt.

Updates regarding audiences in Belgium and the Netherlands

In Belgium it has been announced that cultural activities may now take place, but without an audience. This is expected to be revised from 1 July when audiences of up to 200 people will be allowed providing a 1.5 metre distance is observed. As a result, Rosas, the Concertgebouw Brugge and De Munt (Brussels) will be presenting Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s new solo performance The Goldberg Variations, BWV988, from 1 to 4 July to a limited audience in the Rosas Performance Space at the Rosas site in Brussels. Observing the new rules, Rosas will allow entrance to 40 people every performance. Ticket sales will start 25 June on Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, theatres are now permitted to allow audiences of up to 30 people and this is anticipated to be increased to 100 people from 1 July as long as 1.5 metre distancing is observed by both performers and audience members.


John Neumeier working with Hamburg Ballet. © Kiran West

Ghost Light
In Hamburg, John Neumeier is working on a new ballet involving 60 dancers, in small groups, while respecting social distancing. “Ghost Light is an ensemble work that I am developing in fragments. It is like the separate instrumental lines of a symphony – or a traditional Japanese meal: a sequence of carefully arranged, hopefully ‘delicious’ miniatures. How the separate parts will unite to create a complete work, will depend on the moment we are allowed to come near and touch each other again,” says Neumeier. The title Ghost Light draws on an American theatrical tradition. A single lamp on a metal post is switched on and placed centre stage after rehearsal or performance signifying that no artist is allowed to use the stage. The ghost light burns through the night – until the stage comes alive again.

Third Practice
Tero Saarinen Company has postponed the home season of its latest creation Third Practice from June 2020 to March 2021. Performances at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet's Almi Hall on 2–6 March will launch TSC's 25th anniversary year. Tickets go back on sale on 7 August 2020. Third Practice is a collaboration of Tero Saarinen Company and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. It stars twelve dancers and musicians, tenor Topi Lehtipuu, plus virtual soprano Núria Rial. The work premiered at the Monteverdi Festival in Cremona, Italy, in May 2019. More info available on

Birmingham Hippodrome

Artistic Director and CEO Fiona Allan has announced that the Birmingham Hippodrome “has entered a period of redundancy consultations as a direct result of prolonged business closure due to the COVID-19 Global Crisis. The changes to the Furlough Scheme announced by The Chancellor last week, whilst fair for the broader economy, are not fit for purpose for the theatre industry. With the closure of the job retention scheme on October 31 and no current guidance of when we will we be able to reopen; we do not have the reserves to sustain prolonged closure.” The Hippodrome is, of course, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s home base. 


Nederlands Dans Theater. © Johan Persson


under Lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted those working in the theatre exceptionally and not only the dancers, actors and singers who grace our stages. Almost forgotten are the specialist dance and theatre photographers. Johan Persson and Elliott Franks share their thoughts - read their stories HERE


Elliott Franks playing the cornet. © Elliott Franks

The Other Side

Conceived by Saul Daniele Ardillo  and Simone Giorgi, The Other Side is a collaboration by The National Dance Foundation (Aterballetto), La Toscanini of Parma and Collezione Maramotti. The three bodies are creating a ‘made in quarantine’ video featuring 15 Aterballetto dancers in choreography by Ardillo, Toscanini Philharmonic musicians and an artwork by Luisa Rabbia exhibited at Collezione Maramotti. The Other Side was premiered on Rai5 on 25 June.  

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.

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.