After 23 years with The Royal Ballet, last night Zenaida Yanowsky gave her final curtain call on the Covent Garden stage.
Her final performance at the Royal Opera House was in Marguerite and Armand where she danced alongside Roberto Bolle. Her last performance with the Company, however, will be in Australia in July, performing Paulina in The Winter's Tale at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre as part of The Royal Ballet's summer visit to Brisbane.
Yanowsky joined The Royal Ballet in 1994 and was promoted to Principal in 2001, and has performed leading roles in the classical and contemporary repertory: Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Raymonda, Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country, Kenneth MacMillan's Manon andMayerling, George Balanchine's Agon and Apollo and Jerome Robbins's In the Night. Christopher Wheeldon created The Queen of Hearts on Zenaida for his ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as well as Paulina in The Winter's Tale.
She has worked with a wealth of leading contemporary choreographers in new creations and existing works including Wayne McGregor, Liam Scarlett, Mark Baldwin, Kim Brandstrup, Christopher Bruce, Siobhan Davies, Nacho Duato, Mats Ek, Flemming Flindt, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Cathy Marston, Ashley Page, Alexei Ratmansky, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp and Will Tuckett. She also received a 2016 Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Female Performance in Elizabeth by Will Tuckett. Liam Scarlett created Symphonic Dances for her in May 2017.
Zenaida Yanowsky was born in Lyon in 1974 and raised in Spain. She comes from a family of dancers and trained with her parents, Anatol Yanowsky and Carmen Robles, at their dance school, Centro Choreographers, in Gran Canaria. After winning a silver medal at Varna in 1991 she joined Paris Opera Ballet. Further awards include gold medals at the 1993 European Young Dancers Competition and the 1994 Jackson International Ballet Competition.
Yanowsky has danced in a number of short dance films including Duet and The Sandman for Channel 4, the BBC's Riot at the Rite, Leda and the Swan choreographed by Kim Brandstrup for Deloitte Ignite 2014, and a short film directed by Will Tuckett for the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at Tate Modern.
Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O'Hare, comments,
Zenaida has been an incredible member of The Royal Ballet for over 20 years and has illuminated the Royal Opera House stage in numerous performances with her extraordinary artistry and vivid dramatic skills. I have greatly admired her across the amazing range of roles in the repertory she has performed with the Company, and I hope we will have the opportunity in the future to collaborate on new projects in the next stage of her career.
On behalf of all of us at the Company, I extend grateful thanks to Zenaida for her wonderful contribution to the artistic life of The Royal Ballet.
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.
I was moved to tears by that amazing performance.
I was really moved when the curtain got up and Zenayda was in tears embraced by Roberto Bolle. Such a human reaction, revealing a great love for this wonderful art.