Former Principal with both The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet and current permanent guest artist with Hamburg Ballet, Alina Cojocaru was joined In Conversation by dancer and dance writer Daniel Pratt. They talked about Alina’s career from child gymnast in Bucharest to producer of La Strada, due to open at Sadler’s Wells at the end of January. Alina described the journey that took her from Bucharest to the Kyiv Ballet School and then, via the Prix Lausanne, to The Royal Ballet School. She turned down an offer of a place in the RB corps de ballet to become a principal in Kyiv where she danced Kitri in Don Quixote at the age of 16. Attracted by the range of repertoire she returned to The Royal Ballet where she was quickly promoted, becoming a principal at 19.
Alina talked about her first encounter with the work of John Neumeier, which has proved so important to her career, and her creation of the role of Julie in Liliom in 2012 (interestingly, it was during those rehearsals that he suggested she watch La Strada ). She also talked about that other crucial relationship, with her on and off-stage partner Johan Kobborg, and her experience of motherhood – they have two children.
In 2013 Alina joined English National Ballet, under the direction of Tamara Rojo, to seek new experiences. She was impressed by the buzz of energy between the dancers and their focus on working as a team. Spending about half of her working life dancing with the Hamburg Ballet, was not always easy, but the experience was exciting. ENB provided an essentially classical repertoire while in Hamburg there was a more eclectic mixture of work.
The conversation turned to La Strada, which Alina commissioned and in which she will play the role of Gelsomina. She was enthusiastic in describing working with choreographer Natalia Horecná a video extract was shown.