Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg have announced they will leave The Royal Ballet at the end of the 2012/13 season to pursue other artistic challenges. Their last performance at the Royal Opera House as members of The Royal Ballet will be in Mayerling on 5 June.
They will then go to Tokyo with the company as planned and dance for the last time with the Royal Ballet on 10 and 12 July.
While surely the announcement has little to do with Natalia Osipova's arrival next season, with the loss of principals Mara Galeazzi and Leanne Benjamin who are retiring in the next couple of months, it will leave a lot more pointe shoes empty than Osipova will be able to fill. O'Hare will have to get out his cheque book and do some very careful shopping ASAP.
Director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O'Hare, said,
Alina and Johan have given many memorable performances as members of The Royal Ballet both at the Royal Opera House and around the world. Over the past ten years I have greatly enjoyed watching their unique partnership develop, as I know our audiences have, and I wish them every success in the next phase of their careers.
The couple, offstage as well as on, joined The Royal Ballet in 1999. They said of their decision,
We have had wonderful experiences with The Royal Ballet over the years and feel fortunate to have worked alongside so many inspiring artists. We wish Kevin O'Hare and The Royal Ballet's dancers and staff all the best for the future and would like to thank our loyal and supporting audience for sharing many magical moments with us.
Photograph: Johan Kobborg as Romeo and Alina Cojocaru as Juliet. © Elliott Franks
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.