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Bolshoi Welcomes First American Dancer into Its Ranks

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David Hallberg (Photo courtesy ABT)

David Hallberg, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, will join the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, the first American to do so. The Bolshoi said he would have a starring role for the 2011-12 season, according to The New York Times.

The move comes 50 years after the historic defection of Rudolf Nureyev from the Kirov (now Maryinsky) Ballet of Leningrad. Since then many Russians have joined Western troupes, but Hallberg, 29, is the first to move in the opposite direction on a permanent basis, The Times reported. He will continue to appear with ABT and other companies for limited periods.

Hallberg, born in Rapid City, South Dakota, joined ABT’s corps de ballet in April 2001. He was promoted to soloist in January 2004 and principal in May 2005. His roles with the company have included the Boy in Afternoon of a Faun; the title role in Apollo; Solor in La Bayadère; Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet; Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty; Prince Siegfried, von Rothbart (Act III), and Benno in Swan Lake, and James in La Sylphide.

Sergei Filin, who took over as the Bolshoi’s artistic director this year, had seen Hallberg perform during a “Kings of the Dance” tour in Russia, as well as during an ABT visit. “He is a remarkable romantic and classical dancer,” Filin told The Times.

Hallberg looks forward to dancing with Bolshoi star Natalia Osipova. “The Bolshoi style is bigger and more emotional, in a way that I love,” he said. To see the full story, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/arts/dance/american-to-join-the-bolshoi-ballet.html?_r=1.

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