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  • Writer's pictureJulia Sumzina

La Notte Ballet Top-5: Young and bright #girlspower

Every month we announce Top-5 of Dancers in different categories and “La Notte Ballet Top-5” is going on with the Top-5 female ballet dancers “Young and bright #girlspower”. It is not easy to dance on the top level in the leading companies among many talented and competitive young ballerinas. However the five chosen by La Notte Magazine are starting their big careers and step by step making the furure real.

Alena Kovaleva

Photo: Svetlana Muksinova

Alena Kovaleva was born in Saint Petersburg. In 2016, she graduated Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet (teacher Yulia Kasenkova) with distinction and joined the Bolshoi Ballet Company.

  • ¨Whether etching the linear purity of Balanchine's "Diamonds" or slowly stretching her long arms as Odette, the Bolshoi's Alena Kovaleva is a promising young talent. Majestic port de bras and impeccable legs that draw into textbook-perfect arabesques make her an ideal choice for both classical and lyrical roles.¨

Dance Magazine

Young ballerina with natural grace, fascinating movements and beautiful lines, she has demonstrated her best qualities in Diamonds (III part of Jewels) by George Balanchine, as Myrtha (Giselle), Nikyia (La Bayadere) and the dream role for many ballerinas — Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

  • “This is a performance that you can improve your whole life. Having danced it, you realize that you have to work for a long time - and even harder than before. Moreover, the more you dance, the more you want. You know, such a dependence on the stage appears, and when there are no performances for a long time, you almost jump up with impatience...”

Alena about Swan Lake for

Photo: Nicholas MacKay

Alena is equally bright on the stage in noble classical repertoire and stylish contemporary with such outstanding partners as Jacopo Tissi, Artemy Belyakov etc.

Out of ballet, she is a nice friendly person, who loves going out with friends, dancing, watching films like “Love Actually” (2003) or Bridget Jones, and listening to music. Her Instagram account has more than 32K followers, who admire young ballerina and wait for more new leading roles in Bolshoi.

May Nagahisa

Photo: Yumiko Inoue

Japanese ballerina graduated from the Princess Grace Academy (Monte Carlo) in 2017 and joined the Mariinsky Ballet the same year. Although the young age, May Nagahisa is considered firstly as a prodigy and then a dancer of the highest level. Her phenomenal technique and épaulement made sensation, with The Telegraph praising her "ethereally light upper body."

May has performed various roles in Mariinsky: from The Sylph (La Sylphide), Giselle (Gisellet), Princess Florine (The Sleeping Beauty), Masha (The Nutcracker) or Juliet (Romeo and Juliet) to Symphony in C (I. Allegro vivo) by George Balanchine, In the Night by Jerome Robbins and Concerto DSCH by Alexei Ratmansky.

She impresses audience and critics by her professionalism and talent:

  • “May Nagahisa, who danced in the first variation of the Grand Pas section on Tuesday night, stood out for the liquidlike flow of her dancing, her generous and graceful port de bras, and her fleet and articulate footwork.”

DC Theatre Scene

Photo: Svetlana Avvakum

Reserved and modest May doesn’t try to attract attention out of the stage, in her rare interviews she is fair, intelligent and absolutely not flirty. She prefers to talk about work, for example about her favourite roles:

  • “Giselle is still my favourite role. I have only performed it twice, but every time I either rehearse or perform the role on stage, it’s different. I can play a different Giselle. It’s the same story and the same character, but it cannot be the same Giselle every time...”

May Nagahisa for Dance Europe.

Madison Young

Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper

Madison Young was born in Utah, the USA. She studied at Ballet West Academy and Houston Ballet Academy in Texas. Being a prize winner of the Prix De Lausanne in 2016, she recieved the Beau Riviage Palace 2nd place Award and accepted an apprenticeship for Houston Ballet in the season 2016/17. In 2017 Madison joined the Wiener Staatsballet under direction of Manuel Legris. In 2018 she was promoted to Soloist and in 2019 to First Soloist. With the beginning of the season 2020/21 she is joining the Bayerisches Staatsballet as a First Soloist.

After the Prix De Lausanne she said to the Houston Chronicle:

  • "The work never ends. That's the part I enjoy most - the working, getting onstage and dancing your heart out."

In Vienna Madison demonstrated her talent in such roles as Olga (Onegin) and Gulnare (Le Corsaire) and in the ballets Eden | Eden by Wayne McGregor, The Jewels by George Balanchine etc. Her versatility makes her able to perform various repertoire and her career in Bayerisches Staatsballet started with Myrtha and Giselle in the ultimate romantic ballet.

Photo: Ashley Taylor

About Balanchine’s choreography she says:

  • “...I was very lucky to get the second Pas de deux (Emeralds, The Jewels – author’s note) and variation and I love Balanchine. I can be free… It feels natural to me and his movement is very organic. It’s tiring, it’s super tiring but it’s enjoyable.”

So, let’s look at the developing of Madison’s career because it promises to be very exciting.

Daria Ionova

Photo: Julia Sumzina

Born in Kaliningrad. Graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy (class of Professor Lyudmila Kovaleva), Daria Ionova joined the Mariinsky Ballet in 2018. She is one of the brightest ballerinas of the new generation of Mariinsky ballet company.

  • “ the Mariinsky Ballet, the beautiful Daria embodies the typical image of the Russian ballerina, blonde and delicate.”

Vogue Italia

Her repertoire contains Gulnare (Le Corsaire), Princess Florine (The Sleeping Beauty), Diane (Le Réveil de Flore), The Maiden (Le Spectre de la rose), the parts in Raymonda (Grand pas); choreography by Marius Petipa, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev, Chopiniana (by Michel Fokine); Jewels (Emeralds), Apollo (Calliope), Symphony in C (II. Adagio) all by George Balanchine, also we can see Daria performing In the Night by Jerome Robbins or Concerto for Contrabass by Yuri Smekalov, etc.

Having a big repertoire, Daria says to Pointe Magazine:

  • "And then I perform, sometimes every night of the week. I get tired, but I just tell myself to stay strong."

Photo: Natalia Razina

Being famous around the world and having one of the top ballet Instagram accounts, Daria is concentrated on her work and development as a dancer and person:

  • “I strive and want to strive to ensure that my dance comes from within, not to stop learning, not to lose interest in development and remain myself. I try to avoid excessive pretense, be sincere on stage and give people joy, aesthetic pleasure by my work.”

Daria Ionova for La Personne

Gracious, technically skilled ballerina makes her roles absolutely charming by inspired and noble performance and it’s a real pleasure to see Daria on stage.

Diana Ionescu

Photo: Delia Știrbu

Diana Ionescu was born in Constanţa (Romania). After the graduation Tanzakademie Zurich in 2017, she became an apprentice with the Stuttgart Ballet. Already at the beginning of November 2017 she was taken in the Corps de ballet. In the 2019/20 season she was promoted to Demi Soloist. Already one season later she was promoted to Soloist.

Diana has been very successful at the competitions: in 2013 she won the first prize in the junior category at the Youth American Grand Prix, in 2016 won the gold medal at the Tanzolymp in Berlin. At the Prix de Lausanne 2017 she won a scholarship. In the 2020 Critics' Choice of the dance magazine tanz she was named as "Dancer of the year".

  • “Diana Ionescu, a young lady as delicate as a snowdrop vine, but with an impressive talent, doubled by an extraordinary work force and an iron will, has already become a model for the little ballerinas who dream of shining on stage.”

Her repertoire includes ballets by Edward Clug, Akram Khan, Jiří Kylián and roles in the big ballets as Crown Princess Stephanie in Mayerling (Kenneth MacMillan), Princess of Hungary in Swan Lake (John Cranko), Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty (Marcia Haydée after Petipa) and about her Olympia in The Lady of the Camellias (John Neumeier) Esslinger Zeitung says:

  • “...Diana Ionescu draws attention as the sparkling Olympia.”

Photo: The Stuttgart Ballet

  • “Dance for me is something I cannot explain with words. It’s much easier to dance.”

Diana notes for SWI

Her dancing is admirable, so it needs no explanation.


You can vote for category for September by e-mail by choosing from the list:

The masters of ballet

Classical Idols

Contemporary Stars

Newcomers 2020

Just send your name and the category you've chosen.

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