World-class Ballerina Leaps to a Smaller World

July 14, 2013

This just in: Alina Cojocaru, perhaps the most ethereal classic ballerina of our time, will join English National Ballet.

It was announced just last month that she and her life partner, Johan Kobborg, are leaving The Royal Ballet. Today comes the announcement from ENB that she is to start performing with the company in October. Whatever her problems were at the current Royal Ballet, I hope she finds a more harmonious fit with ENB.


As Giselle. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.


Cojocaru is also a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre, though this last season she was injured and didn’t perform. But when she does perform, ohhhh, it can be transporting. As Giselle or Juliet, she creates a spiritual experience. Two years ago, I found her Giselle at ABT so stirring I couldn’t sleep.

The invitation is a visionary move on the part of ENB artistic director Tamara Rojo. Last November, as our cover subject, Rojo declared she wanted to take ENB to new places. She certainly has, by hiring Cojocaru. A small company that tours the U.K., ENB does not have the clout—or the money—that The Royal Ballet does. But with Rojo at the helm, it’s already doing new things.


Cojocaru with Carsten Jung in John Neumeier’s
Liliom. Photo by Holger Badekow, Courtesy Hamburg Ballett.


Cojocaru will continue to guest with ABT and with Hamburg Ballet, which just celebrated 40 years with John Neumeier as artistic director. Neumeier’s charming, poignant story ballet Liliom was created for Cojocaru, for which she won a Benois de la Danse. Let’s hope that when Hamburg Ballet brings Liliom to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa in February, Cojocaru will be with them.