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Natalia Osipova to join The Royal Ballet as a Principal Dancer

Russian ballerina to join the Company in 2013/14 Season.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

8 April 2013 at 1.38pm | 57 Comments

Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova is to join The Royal Ballet in the 2013/14 Season. Her first performances will be as Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, partnered by Carlos Acosta.

Natalia currently dances with the Mikhailovsky Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She performed with The Royal Ballet as a Guest Artist in Swan Lake earlier in the 2012/13 Season.

Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare said ‘I’m delighted that Natalia will be joining us next Season and look forward to seeing her take on a full range of the Company’s heritage and modern repertory. She is a wonderful addition to our world class roster of Principals.’

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

8 April 2013 at 1.38pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged joining, Natalia Osipova, Principal

This article has 57 comments

  1. I think that is great news as Osipova is a great ballerina - but what about promoting some of the present RB's home-grown and talented dancers that are 'waiting in the wings'? They just seem to 'import' principal dancers nowadays instead of nurturing the huge amount of talent within the company

    • Gigí responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:03pm

      Agree..English style is unique

    • Lady Rouge responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:14pm

      Fabulous news.
      I do agree with you ver much though Mr Simmons.
      PS Olivia Cowley for Principal!

    • JJ responded on 13 May 2013 at 3:40pm

      It's the money, dear. It is much more costly to nurture someone, who might or might not attract a large number of audience, than hiring an already-famous.

  2. Donald Hutera responded on 8 April 2013 at 1:50pm Reply

    Hurrah! Great news! She's fab!

    • Farhang responded on 10 April 2013 at 3:37pm

      Yes, she is fab and perhaps the best dancer anywhere in the world today, but so is Ivan Vasiliev. Both of them have had fabulous performances with other dancers, but there is such a chemistry and a feeling of trust between them that together they create real magic, which is wonderful to watch. It would be a real pity if they are not together. They are both great actors as well as dancers and they read each other's minds.

  3. LizzyB responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:09pm Reply

    Fantastic news. With Tamara gone, things were looking bleak...
    Looking forward hugely to seeing her dance Swan Lake.

  4. Nicolas responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:10pm Reply

    Are there plans to have Ivan Vasiliev as a guest? I guess you don't need male principals as much as women.

  5. Rana responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:10pm Reply

    Great news. Why Vasiliev was not offered the same contract?

    • Nana responded on 16 June 2013 at 4:46am

      It's a good idea to offer the same contract to Vasiliev. He is the creme de la creme of the male ballet dancers!

  6. Nicolas responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:12pm Reply

    Oh, and won't she perform in Don Quixote? Before the announcement I would have assumed she would guest.

  7. John Mallinson responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:14pm Reply

    Great news, but it's not clear from your announcement whether she's to be coming as a full company member or as a Guest Principal.

  8. Best wishes and a successful season Natalia Osipova and the entire The Royal Ballet Team. :D :P

  9. E brown responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:24pm Reply

    Fantastic news! Very excited to see her with Carlos in Romeo and Juliet. I assume with the amount of principals that have been lost in the last year or are retiring this year, we can expect to see plenty in the way of new faces and promotions!

  10. Hilary responded on 8 April 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

    It will be wonderful to be able to see Natalia dance more often, but we also want to see Ivan Vasiliev with whom she has an outstanding partnership.

  11. J Gingell responded on 8 April 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

    This is a great opportunity for Osipova's talent to be matched by the outstandingly high dramatic standards of the Royal Ballet stagings. It was dispiriting to see her last week in the poor staging and puerile drama of the Mikhailovsky's Don Quixote and Laurencia - even the best dancers can't fulfill their potential without a meaningful production in which to perform.
    However, I do agree with J Simmons - the RB is slow to promote within its own ranks. Choe's talent, for example, is just crying out for promotion.

  12. Karen responded on 8 April 2013 at 3:06pm Reply

    According to the new Season Guide she is a Guest Principal (as Acosta is and Guillem was). Interesting this does not mention Cory Stearns also apparently joining as Guest Principal.

    Hope to see some promotions from the ranks though. This is a bit of a weakness at the RB, IMO.

    • Lee McLernon responded on 9 April 2013 at 1:18pm

      The season guide lists the current company, not the company as it will be next season.

  13. anja responded on 8 April 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

    I too would rather see some of the RB dancers promoted. Yuhui Choe should've been promoted years ago.

    • Anna Harvey responded on 10 April 2013 at 7:27am

      Absolutely agree. Saw her in the La Bayadere rehearsal recently and thought she was marvellous.

  14. Robert Wall responded on 8 April 2013 at 3:32pm Reply

    Disagree with Ms. Gingell's comments vis a vis the Mikhailovsky Company but agree with the vast number in the British critical community who reviewed those same productions. There are a great number of fine dancers in that company and they showed themselves to wonderful effect in a great many instances. (Who could forget the truly stellar Novikova/Sarafanov Giselle). Osipova's addition to the RB roster helps to secure it on a TRULY world basis. I think the new RB Director has done a very fine job in being judicious in his casting decisions and revealing with care new talents in the RB ranks without applying undue pressure. He obviously is doing this with an eye towards the international scale of the company as a whole. I applaud his exchange programme with ABT (who shares much repertory with the RB and has done so since the Dowell years) and only hope that after Mr. Acosta comes to retire that he employs the monies for that guest principal contract (developed for Guillem, the last ballet star who truly sold tickets on a global scale prior, of course, to Ms. Osipova and her partner, Ivan Vasiliev) to encourage a variety of key world talents to share their gifts with all RB artists as much as they will have an opportunity to learn in the process as well. (An effective indication of this were the stellar performances by Mr. Jason Reilly with the Royal's beautiful Alina..) Bravo Mr. O'Hare I say for making his own mark in a world very different from the concrete developments so carefully shaped by his noted predecessor.

    • J Gingell responded on 8 April 2013 at 7:36pm

      Yes - lots of fine dancing in the Mikhailovsky last week - but I was referring to the (lack of) stage direction and dramatic cohernce. It was not a criticism of the dancers.

    • Morton D. Paley responded on 10 April 2013 at 3:12am

      Congratulations, Royal Ballet! You now have the world's greatest ballerina.

  15. Fiona Dunn responded on 8 April 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly about Yuhui Choe. She deserves to be promoted to Principal Dancer.

    • Margaret Perkins responded on 15 April 2013 at 11:13am

      Yes, agree on Yuhui Choe. Powerful performance at the recent La Bayadere rehearsal. Always a delight to watch.

  16. Sabina a responded on 8 April 2013 at 4:07pm Reply

    Am very excited about the news, Natalia Osipova is one of the best.

  17. May responded on 8 April 2013 at 8:05pm Reply

    There's a bit of a gap in the female principal ranks with both Ms Galeazzi and Ms Benjamin retiring after summer. If Ms Osipova is only Guest Principal Artist (or Principal Guest Artist, lol) then there is still room for one more to be added to carry the workload. I'm guessing Yuhui Choe will be one of the frontrunners, as she has taken most of the major leading classical and modern roles already. If it is as a guest principal, it really comes as no surprise given how popular Ms Osipova's Swan Lake performances were.

  18. Claire responded on 8 April 2013 at 8:31pm Reply

    I'm also delighted to see Osipova joining. I would LOVE to see Vasiliev join too though may go bankrupt from excess ticket buying if he does. :)

    • Hilary responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:45pm

      Maybe the ROH should realise that there are a great many people who would buy extra tickets just to see Ivan Vasiliev dance any role. Witness the booking for 'Flames of Paris'. The 16th August is almost a full house last time I looked.

    • Lucia responded on 18 June 2013 at 4:20am

      I would love to see Ivan Vasiliev join ROH, too. It would be wonderful for me to travel to London and have the chance to see Ivan's outstanding dancing...I would kill two birds with one stone!

  19. mavin responded on 8 April 2013 at 9:16pm Reply

    Thrilled that Osipova will be dancing with the RB. Would love to see her dance the RB repertoire (Ashton, Balanchine, MacMillan, Wheeldon, Scarlett mainly) and to partner other RB men aside from Acosta. In my opinion O'Hare made the right decision, for whatever reason not to include Vasiliev as guest. Smart couple for not sticking together! Vasiliev, for all his brilliance would a be a poor fit for the RB.
    As for promoting within the company: I totally agree. However there aren't any dancers worthy of principal rank, as yet. Definitely NOT Ms Choe, possibly Mr Hristov as he has proven himself time and again. But the one to watch is Ms Naghdi by a million miles!!

  20. Natalia Osipova is one of the best ballerinas in the world, if not the best. This is a great coup for the Royal Ballet.

  21. Gabrielle responded on 8 April 2013 at 9:34pm Reply

    I've come and will return to the RB because of Cojocaru Choe, Nuñez, Yanowsky, Marquez, McGuire ....and ...and.., (not to mention in this case all the fantastic male dancers- Bonelli, Kish, Watson, McRae, Stepanek and ..and). It will be a pleasure for me as a foreigner to see Osipova in addition to the RB artists.

  22. Merkuriev fan! responded on 9 April 2013 at 9:23am Reply

    Natalia coming to RoH is a mixed blessing. But I don't suppose she'll be here all season, maybe some guest performances so that she can experience ballets not in the Russian repertoire. Although I love Acosta, it will not be the same with him partnering her - Ivan and Natalia together is what I would like to see!

    • Coco responded on 9 April 2013 at 3:04pm

      I'm totally agree with Merkuriev fan. Natalia and Ivan are perfect together. I wish he can join too the ROH.
      It will be just a dream to see them dance again in London. I went to see all their performances at the coliseum. It was just so amazing.
      I cried when I was watching Don Q. Absolutely beautiful.

  23. This is the most fantastic news - to have Osipova here in London. As an aside, I cannot agree with J. Gingell's comments about the Mikhailovsky's Don Q with Osipova and Vasiliev at the Coliseum a week ago - presumably she was not actually there to see the standing ovation for the whole troupe - and there was absolutely no problem with the set.

    • Hilary responded on 9 April 2013 at 4:50pm

      The Mikhailovsky season was a triumph. I was at every performance which Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev gave and they received a standing ovation every night. All of the company were excellent.

    • J Gingell responded on 9 April 2013 at 5:03pm

      Yes, I was there, and I thought Osipova and Vasiliev gave fabulous performances. I am criticising the stage direction.

  24. Belinda Taylor responded on 10 April 2013 at 10:00am Reply

    It is indeed really great news, bravo Kevin! Osipova is glorious and I long to see what she does with an expanded repertoire - thrilling prospect. Like others, I so hope it won't impede opportunities for current Company dancers - Emma Maguire instantly springs to mind - whose chance to grow will, surely, only come if they can attempt big roles early enough? Emma as Juliet for instance, or, as a beautiful Ashton dancer, Titania?

  25. I can't imagine why ROH arranged only one performance for Osipova and Vasiliev's 'the flame of Paris'. The tickets are almost sold out while there are still plenty of available tickets for other dancers or other performances...
    Please arrange one more performance!

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 21 April 2013 at 4:30pm

      Dear M

      The performances by The Bolshoi Ballet are not overseen by The Royal Ballet or the Royal Opera House, but by Victor Hochhauser. Any feedback on the programming should be passed directly to them:

      Best wishes


  26. CAROLINE responded on 19 April 2013 at 10:20am Reply

    What a shame that yet again, a principal dancer at RBS is hired from outside the UK...what is Mr O'Hare doing to support home grown talent? Public money and major Ku charitable trusts' money is going towards dancers who have no links with this country, and who are imported at the top of their game. Whilst I can see the value in having a mix of international talent in a company, how can it be there is only one English female principal at RBS? What is the pint in aspiring to join the Reyal Ballet School? There must be something wrong with the training in this country in both the top schools and the companies. How sad. On another note, personally whilst I can admire her technique, I found Yuhui Choe completely miscast in La Bayadere,

  27. Cristina Carvalho Araujo Fortes responded on 22 April 2013 at 11:43am Reply

    Congratulations to The Royal Ballet for the wonderful news ! Natalia Osipova is a great ballerina !! I wish a very sucess season for her ! Hugs from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil !

  28. Cant wait to see Osipova dance Juliet with the Royal Ballet. Greatest ballerina in the world, just wish she was dancing it with Ivan.

  29. Bonnie Ward responded on 13 July 2013 at 11:55am Reply

    Unless I am mistaken... Isn't Matthew Ball also joining the company?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 16 July 2013 at 1:38pm

      Hi Bonnie

      I believe that you are mistaken.

      Best wishes


  30. Put me out of my misery...please! Is Osipova going to replace Cojacaru with MacRae in DQ on October 8? I've got my tickets and I'm waiting...waiting... ;-)

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 11 August 2013 at 7:05pm

      Dear Nick

      We will put you out of your misery as soon as possible! The Royal Ballet will be back from holiday at the end of the month and I'm sure that they will be keen to confirm casts as soon as possible.

      Best wishes


  31. Ta for speedy reply...I'll keep on chanting...;-)

  32. Stopped chanting - heard that she'll be dancing in Rome that date...sigh...

  33. Diana Mitchell responded on 21 August 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

    I still don't understand the thinking behind not inviting Ivan Vasiliev as well as Osipova. They are not just 'a couple on and off stage' but often dance with other dancers.

    This is a great lost opportunity for the Royal Ballet.

  34. Louise Keane responded on 23 August 2013 at 10:36am Reply

    Which ballets is Osipova going to be performing? And when...? I've trawled a fair bit of the forthcoming productions and can't find her name. I'm desperate to see her again.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 23 August 2013 at 11:18am

      Hi Louise,

      At present Natalia is scheduled to dance in Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and Giselle. Other performances will be added in due course.


      Content Producer

  35. Louise Keane responded on 23 August 2013 at 4:48pm Reply

    Thanks Chris. Do we know what dates? Presumably she's not doing every performance of those ballets!

  36. lynne brown responded on 24 September 2013 at 10:35pm Reply

    Yes what is the point of the royal ballet school. They hardly ever take students at graduation into the school and you have to be from somewhere else to progress. Personal experience of the rbs.wouldent recommend you send a child there

  37. Cant' wait to see Natalia Osipova dance the Nutcracker in December. Do not agree that Ivan Vasiliev would not be a good fit for The Royal ballet. In fact I think the company would be greatly enhanced by having these two wonderful dancers in their company. I thought their season at the Coloseum was wonderful, and why did she not dance Don Quioxte at the Royal. She is the most stunning dancer in the world today.

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