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  • Writer's pictureJulia Sumzina

Even Capitaine: young and promising dancer of Mariinsky

This winter the ballet audience in St. Petersburg is welcoming Even Capitaine, who debuted on Mariinsky stage as guest soloist last summer as Solor in La Bayadere with Maria Iliushkina in the role of Nikiya. I’d like to tell you a little about this young French dancer, who shows very high and promising level of performance.

Even Capitaine was born in 1997 in France. He got his education at Ballet School of the Opéra national de Paris and the Belarusian State Choreographic College. Then he started his career in the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus ( he danced there in 2016 – 2022), where he was a Principal dancer.

His repertoire in Minsk included the leading roles in the ballets such as The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Carmen Suite staged by Valentin Elizariev, Giselle staged by Igor Kolb, Michel Fokine’s ballets Chopiniana and Schéhérazade.

Even’s first appearance on the Mariinsky stage took place in summer and was curious by confident solo variations and attentiveness in duets with soft and always elegant Maria Iliushkina. It looked fascinating with the soloists’ lines and the freshness of youth in every movement.

The very beginning of 2023 was marked by a few very interesting debuts in the role of Nutcracker Prince in two versions of Mariinsky, the first of them was Even Capitaine’s one. The version choreographed by Vasily Vainonen is both solemn and fabulous. The role of Nutcracker Prince is physically and technically demanding, at the same time, with all the beauty of this role, it’s just “a Prince” and it takes a lot of effort on the part of the dancer to create the personality of this character on stage. Even was able to breathe life into his character from the very first pas: noble and brave fairy tale knight, he was a caring a little naive young man in the III Act. Their duet with Renata Shakirova looked like they had danced together much more than once, a confident ballerina and her attentive partner who easily coped with all the upper lifts caused an enthusiastic reaction from the spectators. I’d like to note the ease with which Even performed in his solo variations: a beautiful posture and a powerful flight jump, combined with beautiful feet and smooth lines, attract the attention of a sophisticated audience.

The Swan Lake is always a great challenge for the leading man as well as for the leading ballerina. The atmosphere created by Oksana Skorik and Even Capitaine in the February performance hypnotized the audience by the cold accuracy of the technique and amazingly passionate emotional range.

The flowing pas de deux of the I Act were on the verge of dream and reality, mesmerizing with their neat smoothness. Even’s Siegfried is an aristocratic character of the romanticism: he is searching, restless, desperate in his desire to escape from the duties of a prince's life, anywhere, whether it is aimless fun or an escape into the forest with a new crossbow. Bright in coda, with beautiful double cabrioles and amazing grand jeté en tournant, Even set the tone for the II Act. Repentance and tenderness of the III Act duets were danced with the same gaze of romantic atmosphere but it looked logically warmer and lighter than the I Act adagio.

In my opinion, it was very interesting to see the new dancer of the company in the big classical ballets, very different and demanding. Even Capitaine is really professional dancer, young and talented, with quite a big experience and in the process of development at the same time. I personally liked his noblesse onstage in combination with inner fire and visible interest to dance itself. It’s a pleasure to see how a dancer works with each role and makes it individual. So, let’s wish Even only good luck and a lot of interesting roles!

Text and photos: Julia Sumzina

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