David Hallberg, 29, American Ballet Theatre’s most poetic and classically pure male dancer, is leaving New York to join the Bolshoi Ballet, the Bolshoi announced today. It is, according to the Moscow company, the first time in its modern history that a foreign dancer is joining the Bolshoi on a permanent basis, and not as a guest star.
Sergei Fillin, the Bolshoi’s artistic director, said in a statement that Hallberg “possesses all the best qualities of a classical dancer--perfect technique, refined manners and outstanding acting abilities. I hope that our collaboration will be to the benefit of us all.” Hallberg’s first appearance with the Bolshoi is expected to be in “Giselle,” opposite Natalia Osipova. Last April, he guest-starred at the Bolshoi in the same ballet with Osipova.
In his career at ABT, Hallberg, like other dancers, had frequently sought out other guest appearances. He was hungry to learn dramatic roles in great depth--and this is a specialty of the Bolshoi Ballet, which has long been known for the emotional caliber of its performances as well as for technical brilliance. In February 2009, Hallberg danced with the Washington Ballet in its “La Sylphide” production, and he told me then that his chief interest was to immerse himself in the myriad details of the leading male role, which he learned from the Royal Danish Ballet’s Thomas Lund and Sorella Englund, who staged the ballet here.
“At ABT, it’s so different, things happen a lot faster,” Hallberg said at the time.
From Lund, Hallberg said, he gained “more texture, more details; his musical timing, his phrasing, his reactions to what’s happening.”
Hallberg joins the Bolshoi as a premier danseur as of this month.