Why did you start dancing?
I started with ballroom dancing, then hip-hop and a bit of break dance… one thing led to another and I happened to enter ballet school.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Natalia Makarova; Gelsey Kirkland.
Which dancer do you most admire?
What’s your favourite role?
Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet; Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Marguerite Gautier from The Lady of the Camellias, Tatiana in Onegin, and Manon.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
It could be any story ballet if it is danced by a true artist. In general I don’t go to watch ballet to see a “ballet performance”. I go to watch an artist performing it and bringing something special out of any performance, whether it’s a classical full-length or new work.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Kenneth MacMillan and John Cranko for the simplicity and depth they have created in ballets, and David Dawson for taking ballet to another level and giving dancers a possibility to go beyond their abilities and look fierce.
Who is your favourite writer?
I don’t have a particular one, although I very much like Russian writers of the 19th century.
Who is your favourite director?
Who is your favourite actor?
Meryl Streep; Jack Nicholson.
Who is your favourite singer?
Freddie Mercury; Adele; Annie Lennox; Axl Rose.
What is your favourite book?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
What is your favourite film?
Which is your favourite city?
London; New York.
What do you like most about yourself?
Inner strength and willpower.
What do you dislike about yourself?
I usually suffer from being honest… I wish I could learn to sometimes be “correct” instead of “honest”.
What was your proudest moment?
To become a mother.
When and where were you happiest?
Every morning: waking up with my husband by my side and seeing my son’s smile when he wakes up. And on stage where I feel I can let go and lose myself completely.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Losing people I love.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That’s not for everyone to know!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To be where I am under the conditions I have had.
What is your most treasured possession?
Honesty and love.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I like quality in everything.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
I try to not lie & that usually gets me in trouble .
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
An actress or a surgeon.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Willpower and stubbornness.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
My best friend.
What do you most dislike?
When people lie to my face and think that I don’t know the truth.
What talent would you most like to have?
Would like to have talent in the kitchen.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
To be grateful for what we have.
How would you like to die?
Quickly. But after I tell my loved ones how much I love them.
What is your motto?
Do your absolute best or don’t do it at all.
Jurgita Dronina – a biography
Jurgita Dronina was born in Russia in 1986, and graduated from the ballet department at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art in Vilnius, Lithuania, and also studied at the Munich International Ballet School, under the directorship Konstanze Vernon.
Jurgita became a Principal Dancer with the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2005, and has been a Principal Dancer with the Het Nationale Ballet since 2010.
Her repertoire includes: Nykia in La Bayadère (Natalia Makarova), Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (Peter Wright), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Kenneth MacMillan; Rudi van Dantzig), Giselle in Giselle (Oleg Vinogradov), Odette/Odile in Swan Lake (Natalie Conus; Anna-Marie Holmes; Peter Martins; van Dantzig), Kitri in Don Quixote (Alexei Ratmansky; Rudolf Nureyev; Maria Grazia Garofoli), Olga in Onegin (John Cranko), Sylvia in Sylvia (John Neumeier), Medora in Le Corsaire (Garofoli), Esmeralda in Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Pär Isberg), Swanhilda in Coppelia (Marc Ribaud), Queen Sofia Magdalena in Gustav III (Patrice Bart), Olga in On The Dnieper (Alexei Ratmansky), Tchaikovsky pas de deux (George Balanchine), Waltz in Serenade (Balanchine); 2nd Movement of Symphony in C (Balanchine), Sugar Plum (Clara ) in The Nutckracker (Isberg; Wayne Eagling), Cinderella in Cinderella (Christopher Wheeldon), Paquita (Marius Petipa), Les Sylphides (Michel Fokine).
Jurgita has also created main parts in contemporary work by Mauro Bigonzetti, Christian Spuck, Krzysztof Pastor, Nils Christe, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Benjamin Millepied, Juanjo Arques, Hans Van Manen, Sidi-Larbi Cherkaoui, Rudi van Dantzig, Toer van Schayk, and David Dawson.
Repertoire that has been created for Jurgita includes Queen Sofia Magdalena in Gustav III by Patrice Bart, Minos by Juanjo Arques, Moving Glass by Nils Christe, Labyrinth by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, day4 and Overture by David Dawson
Jurgita has participated in International Ballet Competitions winning Gold at the IBC in Grasse in 2003; Silver in Helsinki in 2005, Silver in Moscow in 2005, and Silver in Jackson in 2006.
Guest Appearances include Principal Guest Dancer with Arena Di Verona (2009) in Don Quixote (Kitri); (2010) in Le Corsaire (Medora); Principal Guest Dancer with Norwegian National Ballet (2009) in Swan Lake (Odette/Odile); Principal Guest Dancer with Het National Ballet (2010) in Don Quixote (Kitri); Principal Guest Dancer with Royal Danish Ballet (2010) in Swan Lake (Odette/Odile); Principal Guest Dancer at the Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Festival, Kazan, Russia 2011 & 2013.
Various prizes include the Rotary International award (2008); Swedish-Danish cultural Grant (2009); 1st, 2nd and 4th International ballet Festival ‘Dance Open’ in St Petersburg in 2010, 2011 and 2013; and European Dance Magazine “Dance Europe” voted her Outstanding Dancer of the season in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 for interpretations in MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Kitri, Aurora, and the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux.
Top photo: Jurgita Dronina in Don Quixote, by Daria Klimentova
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.