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By Kina Poon
Tonight in London, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, one of the Royal Ballet's star couples onstage and off, will take their final bows at Covent Garden as members of that company in MacMillan's Mayerling. In an announcement made just two days ago, the company stated that the pair is leaving the company "to pursue other artistic challenges," and that they will both continue dancing. With Kobborg's expressed interest in directing and having more opportunities to stage and choreograph, we expect to see them at the helm of a company soon. Cojocaru remains cast for a Sleeping Beauty with American Ballet Theatre, where she has been a frequent guest artist, next month. (Citing injury, she recently cancelled performances of Symphony in C in London and Swan Lake here in New York.) Also in July, the couple's final performances with RB are scheduled for the company's Japan tour, and the World Ballet festival in Denmark has announced that the pair will dance there.
Cojocaru, whose magic stems from her dreamy combination of fragile beauty and intense emotional power, graced our cover in March 2002 as a new principal at age 20. About the Romanian ballerina, Margaret Willis wrote, "Her whole body breathes the patterns of the music in elegant, fluid movements. She links each episode seamlessly, her arms are held in graceful epaulement, her back is pliant yet strong, her footwork is exacting, and her turns are vertiginous and accurate."
Terry Trucco, who penned the magnetic Kobborg's May 1995 cover profile, said about that dancer (then still with the Royal Danish Ballet in his native Denmark), "Kobborg perfected the classic Danish quality of making the hardest steps look utterly natural, as easy and elegant as can be. In short, his carefully honed technique rarely gets in the way of the dancing."
We put Cojocaru on our cover again in June 2006, at top, in La Sylphide (Kobborg's own staging.) By then, they were a couple. Kobborg also contributed a "Why I Dance" essay to our September 2010 issue. "I guess one day I am going to wake up to the real world, but for now I am living a dream," he wrote. We look forward to seeing what those dreams may bring.
Kobborg and Cojocaru in MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.