ABT star David Hallberg joins Bolshoi Ballet


David Hallberg as Ballet Dancer performs in Act 1 of American Ballet Theatre's production of The Bright Stream on January 21, 2011. American Ballet Theatre at The Kennedy Center. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post)

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.

Sarah Kaufman received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She is the author of THE ART OF GRACE: On Moving Well Through Life, coming in Nov. 2015. She has been The Washington Post's dance critic since 1996, and after logging time in opera houses, black boxes, and dive bars, what moves her most is seeing grace happen where she least expects it.

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