Johan Kobborg has given his last performance with the Royal Ballet, in Tokyo. The last performance was due to have been tomorrow evening for the opening of Swan Lake but he and Alina Cojocaru cancelled. Yesterday, the Royal Ballet announced:
Friday will see the first of five performances of Swan Lake, although unfortunately Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg announced today they will not be performing the leading roles on Friday evening.
So Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez will take over. However a statement from Cojocaru and Kobborg accompanied the announcement:
We are very sorry and sad not to be performing our scheduled performance of Swan Lake with the Company. Unfortunately, due to our recent injuries, although recovering well, we are still unable to meet the physical demands that Swan Lake specifically requires. We both love performing in Japan and look forward to appearing back here soon.
Maybe this has something to do with the heartbreaking message that Kobborg posted on Facebook from his mobile last night:
Wow. So tonite I lost it. I cried. Not after curtain down, as I only felt good vibes from colleagues and Tokyo audience, but later in my dressing room.
My Boss stuck his head in through the door, said well done, asked how I felt, and not to be a stranger in the future. Then left, not a single hug or even a handshake… That was it…
Considering I am leaving on good terms, after 13 yrs of being a principal at RB, and doing productions for the company, I can only imagine, how people leaving because of arguments would have their send off.. Feel bad for the other 3 dancers sharing my dress room to see me lose it like that.
The Tokyo producer wanted to book a taxi for me in the early morning to take me to the airport, just like when I arrived, but as a final appreciation from RB they refused and has given me tickets for the public airport transfer bus. Thank you RB management for some beautiful times over the last + decade, may I never ( dancers excluded) have to ever meet you again.
So that was it. After yesterday's Royal Gala in Tokyo, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg have danced with the Royal Ballet for the last time.
Photo: Twitter photo of Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg at their hotel.
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.
although I see his side… I don`t think he realizes what the Royal Ballet has to deal with here… They`re both very big stars here in Japan. Fans have bought tickets months ago to see their farewell Swan Lake performance. Probably a lot of the publicity has been done around this event…. and they cancel (not unusual for them…) I`m sure Royal Ballet officials had something special planned for celebrating this but I can understand they didn`t feel very compassionate and kind towards him in his dressing room. he just goes back to the hotel, they have to deal with all the bad things around their cancellation…
It certainly seems odd that it didn’t occur to them before that these injuries would make it difficult to confront the Swan Lake roles?
There is obviously far more behind this than meets the eye, but I would say O’Hare’s civil but cold goodbye could have been the result of a couple of days of panic recasting – after all, they are on tour and substituting is far more complex when all the company are not around. Maybe the hug will come later, when O’Hare has managed to sort out the Tokyo mess.
I think what kind of shocked me the most is in the message it says the announcement was made on Wednesday that they wouldn`t be dancing the opening performance of Swan Lake Friday night… fair enough…. Thursday they already had their tickets to fly back to London?… and expecting a taxi as if the world stopped turning for them? I think the tour promoters as well as people from the Royal Ballet had other things to think about than them at that time. Not to mention, knowing how those 2 stars are loved in Japan, there was surely something VERY grand organized for their farewell performance tonight. I`m really not sure they are still in touch with reality. The auditorium will be filled with adoring fans (most schools I go to for ballet masterclasses and coaching have their pictures on their studio walls and there are ballet schools at almost every street corners you can easily imagine how quickly tickets sold out for that particular performance… thank god Steven McRae is also adored here..)
As you said, I think there is much more hidden behind all this
spoilt children can’t even organise their own transport to airport – if they want someone to organise things for them get an agent – but then they would have to pay someone!
well for many years they have been treated like royalty both by the public and their own employers (not to mention by companies who invited them), they didn`t have to lift a finger when on tour (especially in Japan) so of course it must be quite a downfall to have to take a coach to the airport… but I`m sure they didn`t travel economy
Live the life of the common people…. you`ll see …it sucks!
An extraordinary account. If I were those who have commented above, I would be ashamed of what I have written about Kobborg – one of the world’s finest dancers being treated appallingly is not acceptable. As for the drivel from Guy-Paul, it is not even worthy of comment, although I note he writes under his full…ahem…aristocratic name…. sour grapes dear?
well at least I am not using a screen name..
I never said they were not great dancers. I just commented on what was happening and how his reaction was not taking into account the real situation their last minute defection put the company in.
Being great dancers doesn`t excuse everything.
Thanks for the message
It doesn’t seem that he was treated appallingly, only coldly. In the light of yesterday’s news with Cojocaru joining the ENB, there were many things going on behind the scenes which O’Hare must have known about and that, coupled with the headaches of last minute cancellations, could have explain his formal goodbye. Nor do I consider ‘drivel’ the words of Guy-Paul who obviously has first-hand knowledge of the popularity these dancers have in Japan, and therefore the disappointment caused to the most enthusiastic (and wealthy) ballet audiences in the world.
I agree with Guy-Paul de St Germain.Also as an experencied dancer he should had been more professional about the situation.I lost respect for Johan unfortunelly…
Not difficult to see why the RB could not appoint him AD.