Daria Klimentová will hang up her pointe shoes on 22 June this year after a performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Albert Hall with the English National Ballet.
Farewells are never on a single day: the last time dancing a favourite role; the last time dancing in a particular country, city, theatre; the last time dancing with a certain colleague, a friend… it is a long countdown. 15 May marked the last time that Klimentová danced in Prague, her home town, a place she has returned to annually with galas and masterclasses. To the city where she started out 25 years ago she brought her partner Vadim Muntagirov and they danced pas de deux from Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and a Don Quixote suite. Such is her popularity that tickets sold out in just 23 minutes.
Klimentová discussed retirement with Muntagirov, who has been her main partner over the last few seasons, last year; she has just turned turned 43, and felt that it was enough – “my body has started to hurt” – and Muntagirov, twenty years her junior, was straining at the leash for new challenges. So as Klimentová leaves the English National Ballet at the end of this season, he too will leave to join the Royal Ballet just around the corner.
Klimentová ‘s “Thank You” gala in Prague had long standing ovations for the local girl.
The Czech woman's magazine, Blesk (Flash), asked her if she'll miss the applause:
I'm very shy, and it is very difficult for me to climb onto the stage in front of so many people. Every time I have to create a bubble around me and imagine that I am all alone and nobody is looking at me. If I saw how many people were in the audience, I'd never get on stage. I never danced for success or applause, but because I enjoy telling stories through dance, to experience the love of Juliet or Manon… and I love ballet costumes!
Mary Matz in the online Czech Magazine, Opus Osm, writes,
It's easy to see why Daria Klimentová is a stand-out. Expressive, emotive, and graceful are weak little words to describe her awe-inspiring on-stage persona. Whereas all dancers are physically strong — and some show it more than others — Daria Klimentová is, too, but rather more lithe. And Vadim Muntagirov is her perfect match, not only in ability, but even physically — their body forms and movements are so similar it sometimes seems like they are dancing in just one body of two parts.
The dancing may stop, but dance will not. She told Czech Radio,
I have many plans, so I'm certainly not going to sit around at home. I have had invitations to coach in companies such as the Tokyo Ballet, and to teach at the Royal Ballet School in London. I can also be a freelance teacher and travel the world. I'd also be interested to run a ballet company. My life after the end of my dancing career will continue to revolve around ballet.
Exclusive photos by Dasa Wharton Photography
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.