10 MOST CHARMING BALLERINAS TODAY
10 beautiful women
ALESSANDRO BIZZOTTO talks about beauty with the ten female dancers he believes to be the most charming ones dancing today, to find out that for them, external beauty is not that important. Ten portraits of ten stunning ballerinas that can marvelously combine glamour and artistry.
The Royal Ballet
Born in Boston, she has always been a beautiful head of the class. Trained in her home city by Tatiana Nicolaevna Legat, she was awarded a Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton after being named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
When she left the US to move to London and join the Royal Ballet, it took just two seasons for her to become a Principal. Her technique is astonishing, but according to her «pure technique can’t ever produce a true artist. I think charisma and intelligence in interpretation have also to exist».
Berlin State Ballet
The Russian-born Principal trained in her home country before heading to Germany, invited by Heinz Spoerli to join the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duesseldorf. The true star of the Berlin State Ballet, she is an incomparable artist: a pure classicist, a lyrical dramatic ballerina, and a phenomenal modern dancer too.
«Technique is not enough» she tells me, «a ballerina must be an actress too. Charm and personality are essential for a ballet artist».
Seo Hye Han
Born in Seoul, Korea, she studied ballet at Korean University of Arts and her training included one year at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. «But I do not think just having talent and technique is enough to reach the rank of Principal» she maintains. «Many people think being a great ballerina is about how many turns she can do. But ballet is an art form. The technique is definitely important but more important is how it makes people feel. As a Principal, your technique has to be strong but what makes you a great dancer is how you can connect with your audience and how you can tell a story».
The Royal Danish Ballet
Admitted at the age of seven at the Royal Danish Ballet School, she is the quintessential Danish ballerina. Blond and charming with a flawless Bournonville technique. It's no coincidence that she literally shone in all the leading roles of the world-famous Danish ballet master and choreographer’s ballets, such as La Sylphide, Napoli , A Folk Tale and The Kermesse in Bruges.
«I do think a ballerina or a male dancer needs charm, while on stage, to reach all the way to the top» Susanne reveals me. «What fascinates me, for instance, is intense honesty combined with a relaxed appearance».
The National Ballet of Canada
The Canadian Principal received ballet training in Spain and in Montecarlo before getting back to her home country to join the National Ballet of Canada. Her radiant beauty and impeccable technique make her a joy to watch when she is on stage.
«As a dancer, there is nothing more beautiful than when you are able to lose yourself in a character» she claims. «It is really special to see a dancer take on a role and be true to the choreography while being able to make it her own».
Trained at the Moscow Choreographic Academy, where she studied under Sophia Golovkina, she won a Gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow. Her rise at the Bolshoi Ballet was meteoric – her classical technique and her modern energy have always been a heady cocktail.
Imperially beautiful, Alexandrova has both an athletic figure and an authoritarian stage presence. «To me, a Principal dancer must be an actor as well» she tells me. «He or she must be able to show his or her own world, when on stage, to the audience and to his or her colleagues too. You cannot hide your personality, while dancing, in a way. And it is nearly impossible to do so without a true beauty – the beauty of soul».
Paris Opera Ballet
The exquisite première danseuse at the Paris Opera Ballet mixes charm and keen musicality in a unique way. Born in the Pays Basque, she studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School and became one of the most admired ballerinas of the French opera house. «You can find fantastic dancers everywhere» she tells me, «but the most admirable ones, to me, are those who are able to make us forget about technical difficulties».
San Francisco Ballet
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, her ballet training mixed Russian and American tradition – she studied at the Kirov Academy and at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. After an apprenticeship in St. Petersburg, she immediately joined the San Francisco-based company.
It seems she prefers not to talk about beauty, in some way, when the question comes to her. «I don’t know about charm or beauty per se» she answers me, «but now that I’m in my 20th year at San Francisco Ballet, I feel like the combination of artistry with my technique has made me the dancer I am today, at this level».
The German ballerina, born in Dresden and raised in Berlin, was previously a Principal at the Stuttgart Ballet, where she graced the stage dancing roles such as Aurora, Juliet, the Sylph and Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée. Then, when Christian Spuck left Stuttgart to become artistic director of the Zurich Ballet, Wünsche left Germany too and became a Principal at Switzerland’s largest ballet company.
«I think that beauty comes from the inside» she says. «If you have charisma, if you are self-confident and if you truly know what you are dancing, it automatically translates on stage. Charisma is almost more important than technique – that’s what ultimately touches the audience. Talent and technique are very important, but most of all because they enable you to express all of that».
Australian-born and trained, she also spent four months at the Royal Danish Ballet to learn the Bournonville technique. Her repertoire is full of dream roles for every ballerina – Cinderella, Manon, Aurora, the Sugar Plum Fairy. Her luminous charm radiates out with delightful vigour every time she steps out on stage.
«I have several years’ worth of memories dancing Odette-Odile in Swan Lake» she tells me. «But I really loved dancing the Lady in Stephen Baynes Molto Vivace too, and of course Manon and Onegin provided many special moments».
Photo: Maria Alexandrova in 'Don Quijote' © Damir Yusupov