Igor Zelensky studied at the Tbilisi Ballet Art State School, where he was a student of the legendary Vakhtang Chabukiani amongst others. He graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. He made his Mariinsky Theater debut in 1988 and quickly became familiar with the leading roles of the classical repertoire. For many years he was one of the top Principals of the Mariinsky Ballet (formerly Kirov Ballet). In addition to his work with the Mariinsky Ballet , Igor Zelensky was a sought-after guest soloist with such international companies as the New York City Ballet and London’s Royal Ballet.
While still serving as Principal Dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Zelensky took over as Artistic Director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, a position he has held from 2006 to 2015. From 2011 to 2016 he also was Artistic Director of Moscow’s second major ballet company, the Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater. In Athens he gained experience as a director of the major classics, producing Don Quixote, Raymonda, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère between 2001 and 2006.
Since his first appearance with the Bayerisches Staatsballett at the Terpsichore Gala I in October 1999, he has also been a regular guest soloist in Munich. Amongst other roles he danced the role of Solor in La Bayadère and as Des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon.
In August 2016 Igor Zelensky became Ballet Director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett and commited several outstanding dancers to Munich, amongst others, Ashley Bouder, Vladimir Shklyarov and Sergei Polunin.
As his first premiere he presented the Bolshoi classic Spartacus by Yuri Grigorovich, which quickly became a box-office hit. With works by Christopher Wheeldon, Christian Spuck, Wayne McGregor and Andrey Kaydanovskiy he extended the repertoire with pieces by crème de la crème contemporary choreographers. He also introduced the À Jour – Contemporary Choreographies format, which provides an insight into the current choreographic creativity of young performers every year at the beginning of the Munich Opera Festival . In spring 2019 as part of the Campus programme for children the first in-house produced ballet cushion concert, Die Spielzeugschachtel (Toy Box), celebrated its world premiere at the Bayerisches Staatsballett. With the premiere of Roland Petit’s Coppélia, in October 2019 a piece by one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century will also be performed for the first time in Munich’s Nationaltheater.