Raising the barre: Ballet's brightest stars descend on Esplanade for a once-in-a-lifetime performance
Svetlana Lunkina is currently the principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada. She started her career at the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet Academy at just 10 years of age before going on to be the company's principal dancer in 2005. During her first season at the Bolshoi Theatre, Lunkina was chosen to perform the title role in Giselle at the age of 18, becoming the youngest Giselle in the history of the company. Dancing is about feeling and expression for her, and she is known among her peers and audience for her emotive limber gestures and swan-like elegance on the stage. Besides rehearsing with the company, Lunkina does extra sessions independently to push her body to its limits. "When your body is in pain after so many hours, it's hard to believe that you actually need to do more", she says. "I like to see how my body reacts and try things when I'm already tired."
Misa Kuranaga was the first Asian ever to be appointed as the principal ballerina at the Boston Ballet. At 5'1 with a delicate and petite build, Kuranaga defies the traditional tall and long-limbed stature expected of dancers. It was her persistence and passion that carried her through dance competitions in Osaka during her early teens, all the way to being the face of cosmetics brand SKII a few years back. Ballet is not only physically and artistically challenging, but it also requires a certain mental tenacity that Kuranaga believes is the key to her success: "I have a strong head. Even if I don’t have the most beautiful body for a dancer, I’m able to use my whole body. I feel like I have the inner strength to work hard, and that is the quality that helped me become a ballerina."
Yonah Acosta is currently the principal dancer at Munich's Bayerisches Staatsballett. Nephew to one of the best Cuban dancers Carlos Acosta, he has had a whirlwind couple of years; after winning a few rising-star awards while at the English National Ballet, he was hit with a slew of injuries including a torn meniscus and calf muscle. Now, he's back to form, with the spotlight shining firmly on him once again. Just like Kuranaga, his body is different from that of his Caucasian peers. He is muscled, shorter and broader but he is a natural jumper. With so many notches on his belt already, Acosta has only two remaining ambitions on his mind: to dance with the Bolshoi and to appear as a guest dancer at the Paris Opéra.
Besides these outstanding dancers, experience the technical precision and virtuosity of Adiarys Almeida, Igor Kolb, Lasha Khozashvili, Laurretta Summerscales, Mara Galeazzi, Oksana Bondareva, Piotr Stanczyk, Taras Domitro and Vito Mazzeo.
Other than pas des deux from classical favourites such as Giselle and Don Quixote, as well as from rarely seen works like Diana and Acteon and Carmen Suite, International Stars of Ballet will also see the Singapore premiere of works by iconic contemporary choreographers such as Wayne McGregor and Edwaard Liang.
Pas de deux from Giselle
Choreography: Jean Coralli / Jules Perrot
Wedding pas de deux from Don Quixote
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Pas de deux from Le Corsaire
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet
Choreography: Leonid Lavrovsky
Pas de deux from Diana and Acteon
Choreography: Agrippina Vaganova
Pas de deux from Winter Dreams
Choreography: Kenneth Macmillan
Pas de deux from Carmen Suite
Choreography: Alberto Alonso
Pas de deux from Wunderland
Choreography: Edwaard Liang
Pas de deux from Kairos
Choreography: Wayne McGregor
Originally commissioned by Ballett Zürich
Purple pas de deux from Terra Firma
Choreography: James Kudelka
Choreography: Alastair Marriott
Choreography: Mikhail Fokine
Choreography: Vladimir Varnava
*subject to change