Kobborg in 2006
|Born||5 June 1972|
Johan Kobborg (born 5 June 1972) is a Danish ballet dancer, choreographer, director and visual artist. He is most noted as a ballet dancer, having been a principal dancer with both the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London, as well as making guest appearances with other ballet companies. Following his departure from the Royal Ballet in 2013, he was the artistic director of the Romanian National Ballet Company until 2016.
Johan Kobborg was born in Odense, Denmark into an artistic family; his mother is a former showgirl and actress and his brother is an actor. From a young age, he trained as a tenor, but left singing to take up dancing.
Kobborg began his professional training at the late age of 16, attending the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he was tutored in the Bournonville method of classical dance. He graduated in 1991.
After his graduation, Kobborg joined the Royal Danish Ballet and was promoted to the rank of principal dancer in 1994, following his debut in the role of James in La Sylphide. He joined the Royal Ballet in 1999, and has danced most of the leading parts in the repertory — among them, the Prince (The Nutcracker, Cinderella), Siegfried, Romeo, Onegin, Albrecht, Oberon, Rudolf, Des Grieux, Désiré and Prince Florimund. His guests appearances include dancing with the Mariinsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, La Scala Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Hamburg Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet and Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
One of the highlights of his career is his partnership with Romanian ballerina, Alina Cojocaru. The partnership began in 2001 after the two danced in Romeo and Juliet together after Cojocaru filled in for an injured Miyako Yoshida. Since then, Kobborg and Cojocaru's partnership has been named one of the greatest of all time and has even been compared to the partnership of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. They have danced together not just at Covent Garden, but also worldwide due to international popularity.
Despite media speculation that Kobborg would retire from the stage to replace Dame Monica Mason as Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet in 2012, it was later announced that Kevin O'Hare would be her successor. Kobborg previously declined an invitation to bid for the directorship of the Royal Danish Ballet, but in an article for the Daily Telegraph he stated that he would definitely accept such invitation to run the Royal Ballet. Following O'Hare's appointment, press speculation about Kobborg's long-term future with the company intensified. In June 2013, he announced that he and Cojocaru would leave The Royal Ballet at the end of 2012/13 season. Their last performance in London was in Mayerling on 5 June, his 41st birthday, followed by scheduled performances on 10 and 12 July with the company in Tokyo.
In December 2013, Kobborg became the Artistic Director of the Romanian Nation Ballet Company in Bucharest, for which he was given a four-year contract. Cojocaru also joined the company as a principal dancer. However, in 2016, actions by new leadership at the Bucharest National Opera House resulted in both Kobborg and Cojocaru resigning, triggering protests by dancers. The new management then apparently banned them from even setting foot in the theatre.
Kobborg's Romeo & Juliet, premiered in the Arena di Verona on 26 August 2019 and attended by more than 10,000 members of the audience from all over the world was considered a great success. Music by Sergei Prokofiev (but shorten to one and half-hour), scenography by David Umemoto and with performers such as Sergei Polunin, Alina Cojocaru, Valentino Zucchetti, Nikolas Gaifullin, etc., the show won overwhelming praises. One critic wrote,
"…… Kobborg has created graceful and appropriate dances for the various gatherings: elegant for the ballroom; impressive in the fight scenes; mournful at the funeral procession. A complementary chorus for the two leading protagonists. The ballet is set in a society without time and place, and this is underlined by the costumes …… Very glamorous fashion show …… Even David Umemotot’s scenery isolates us from any sense of time or geographical setting ……Fifteen minutes of applause and a standing ovation.....".
"Critics and audience alike were wowed at the sensational world premiere of the ballet in the Arena di Verona ...... Johan Kobborg's version of the world's greatest love story marries classical dance with a contemporary twist to create a dynamic, vibrant and modern re-telling of this ageless drama of all-consuming love, passion, ecstasy and heartbreak. Set to Prokofiev's powerful, exquisite score, and with a striking stage set design by Canadian-based sculptor David Umemoto, the story follows the narrative of Shakespeare's play with the classical ballet vocabulary as its core language."
Kobborg has also been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Nureyev International Competition (Grand Prix 1994), USA International Competition, Jackson, USA (Grand Prix 1994) and the Erik Bruhn Competition (1993) and received a 2006 Laurence Olivier Award nomination for his production of La Sylphide.
Kobborg's performance as Albrecht in Giselle, alongside Alina Cojocaru as the title role was recorded in 2006 and aired in England on Boxing Day. It was released on DVD the following year.
Kobborg lives with his fiancée, Alina Cojocaru. Following the formation of their partnership, it was officially confirmed in 2005 that they were having a romantic relationship off-stage. In May 2011, whilst Cojocaru was making a guest appearance with the American Ballet Theatre, her dance partner was injured so Kobborg flew to New York City unexpectedly to fill in and surprised Cojocaru when he proposed to her on her 30th birthday at the Metropolitan Opera House. Their engagement was announced shortly afterwards.  In May 2017, Cojocaru announced on Twitter that she and Kobborg are expecting their first child. On 10 October 2017, Kobborg announced via Twitter that Cojocaru had given birth to their daughter Thalia Chulpan. On 31 July 2020, Cojocaru announced on Twitter that the couple are expecting their second child.
- Sulcas, Roslyn (7 February 2007). "A Star Dancer Looks for a New World to Conquer". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
- Brown, Ismene (17 March 2008). "Johan Kobborg: I'd jump at the chance to run the Royal Ballet". Daily Telegraph, 19 March 2008. London. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg to leave The Royal Ballet at the end of 2012/13 season". Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Romanian Ballet Company Loses Its Leading Lights". nytimes.com. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "Famous Danish choreographer resigns from the Romanian National Ballet Company after management scandal". Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "After Bucharest, a Ballet Power Couple Move On". nytimes.com. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- "Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg banned from the Bucharest National Opera". Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- Redazione (27 August 2019). "Oltre diecimila spettatori per la prima mondiale di Romeo&Giulietta con Sergei Polunin all'Arena di Verona". Voce Di Mantova (in Italian). Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- ""Romeo & Giulietta" all'Arena tra passato e presente". www.danzaedanzaweb.com. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Fino all'ultimo respiro. L'appassionato Romeo e Giulietta di Polunin e Cojocaru". Delteatro.it (in Italian). 1 September 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Bonelli, Valetina, "Romeo & Giulietta: reviews for Johan Kobborg’s new ballet for Polunin Ink", Dance Europe, issue 243, October 2019, p.50.
- Desk, BWW News. "Sergei Polunin Back in London For UK Premiere of ROMEO & JULIET at the Royal Albert Hall". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- The White Crow, retrieved 14 January 2020
- "In fact, there are lots of dancers playing dancers". Dance Magazine. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- Deeley, Laura (10 February 2007). "Not just anybody: Alina Cojocaru". London: Times Online. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
- Sulcas, Roslyn (31 May 2011). "At Ballet Theater, Popping the Question After the Plié". The New York Times.
- "Alina Cojocaru on Twitter". Twitter. 16 May 2017.
- "Johan Kobborg on Twitter". Twitter. 10 October 2017.
- @DancingAlina (31 July 2020). "What an amazing Christmas present for us this year ❤️! Looking forward to be back dancing and performing early 2021! ✨✨✨✨ @KOBBORG😘" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Ballet Magazine, Jane Simpson, October 2005 December 2014: Balerinul Johan Kobborg, directorul Baletului Naţional Român, la Adevărul Live