Monday, February 27, 2012

Fan Post - Zenaida Yanowsky

I "only just" discovered her, as I saw the fabulous bit from Alice In Wonderland. Actually, I don't remember when was the first time, last year anyway... But it's amazing how funny and yet beautiful the role work was! In my opinion, it takes a great dancer to be able to play/dance the part without making it too "clowny" or then again, too boring (not funny enough).

Here it is, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" - The Royal Ballet - 2011 - chor. Christopher Wheeldon - Queen of Hearts: Zenaida Yanowsky. (A parody of the Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty.) (p.s. LOVE the tutu!!!)

Had to search a bit more information about her and here's some of what I found:

* Born 23.12.1975 in Lyon, France
* Parents also dancers (in Lyon Opera Ballet)
* Later moved to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria -> parents opened a dance school, where also Zenaida took classes
* 2 siblings also dancers (brother in Boston Ballet, 1 sister in Het Nationale Ballet, Netherlands)
* Won the silver medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition (1991) -> received an invitation to audition for the Paris Opera Ballet -> joined the company the same year
* Won the gold medal at the Eurovision Young Dancers Competition (1993)
* Won the gold medal at the Jackson International Ballet Competition (1994)
* Left POB in 1994 -> joined The Royal Ballet
* Got promoted to the status of Principal Dancer in 2001
* Won the Best Female Dancer award at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards (2003)
* Was voted Dancer of the Year by readers of the magazine Dance Europe (2005)
* Married to baritone Simon Keenlyside (since 2006), two children (a son & a daughter).

Here's the contemporary solo she performed in the EYDC in 1993 -> 
"Alquibla" - chor. Anatol Yanowsky (her father)

Here's the classical variation from the same competition (wasn't able to share it here, sorry) ->

In Esmeralda, just Look at her face! How many can interpret that well at that age? Very precise and mature working in general. No wonder she won. 

Other facts:

* Height: 5 feet 8 inches (about 173 cm's?)

* At first wanted to be a painter, then a singer (soprano) -> at the age of 14 or 16 (depends where you read the info) decided on ballet career

* The only one (at her time) in POB being Not French, Nor trained at their school. As she was asked then to represent Spain in EYDC and her room mate France, And she came back with a medal (room mate didn't) - that was it for her future in Paris (her own words). - "After that I was axed from everything."

 *  When moving to RB, she got some important solo parts (like Lilac Fairy), but the big ones kept waiting for themselves. She would've needed a tall partner and there were some big names ahead of her (Darcey Bussell, Sylvie Guillem). 

* Often cast in modernist ballets that demand "brains and sensibility as much as pure technique" - considered a very intelligent person.

* Also a natural for the more contemporary works, especially those with psychological depth.

* When finally got to dance Sylvia (with David Makhateli), at first thought the company had made a terrible mistake. "We were watching some old footage of the ballet and I just laughed and said, you've got the wrong dancer. They are all so tiny and so fast. I'm up here and my legs are stretched to out there." - ...Rapidly then seduced by the role :)

Swan Lake (Odette/Odile) in 2004 (with Kenneth Greve, who's the head of Finnish National Ballet these days!!!). 

* Other roles include: Lilac Fairy & Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Nikiya & Gamzatti in La Bayadère and Myrtha in Giselle. From Ashton's ballets: Lady Elgar in Enigma Variations, Natalia Petrovna in A Month in the Country, Josephine in Wedding Bouquet and Monotones II. From MacMillan: the title role in Manon, Empress Elisabeth in Mayerling, The Chosen One in The Rite of Spring and First Sister in My Brother, My Sisters.
Photo by Bill Cooper.

My sources, some interviews and other interesting pages:

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