A New Aurora Who’s Been Around the Block

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Kochetkova in Helgi Tomasson's Trio. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

The line-up for ABT’s Sleeping Beauty this week includes some of the company’s greatest stars. Principals Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy, and Veronika Part have all of danced the role before. Hee Seo will be making her debut. And there will be a single soloist, Sarah Lane, who is a natural Aurora (as I discovered five years ago).

But New Yorkers don’t know much about San Francisco Ballet’s Maria Kochetkova, who replaces an injured Alina Cojocaru this Wednesday evening. Based on what I’ve seen of her, I’m pretty excited to witness her Aurora. Last January, she showed two radically different sides of ballet in a single evening at San Francisco Ballet. In Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, she displayed elegant line and sparkling technique—the perfect classic ballerina. Then, in the final piece on the program, she tore into Wayne McGregor’s Borderlands. She thrust her body into his diabolical entanglements with the ferocity of a tigress. I can’t wait to see her dance again.

Sleeping Beauty allows a more modest transformation: from an innocent 16-year-old to a mature, about-to-become-queen adult. It should be a piece of cake for Kochetkova. And—she'll be dancing again with the wondrous Herman Cornejo.

(For full schedule, see ABT’s website.)


Herman Cornejo and Kochetkova after performing Swan Lake last week. Photo by Leena Hassan, Courtesy Kochetkova's Instagram.