Ballet Director Igor Zelensky confirmed in office until 2026

At an appointment with State Minister Bernd Sibler on the day Igor Zelensky extended his contract by a further five years until summer 2026: “It means so much to me to continue my work in Munich with this magnificent ensemble, and to be able to go on presenting the best dancers and a repertoire that will be even more diverse in the future to our audiences.  For me, this contract extension is both praise and incentive at once to establish the Bayerisches Staatsballett among the top ballet ensembles, and to also enchant audiences with our dance art in the years to come. I look forward to the interchange with our wonderful performers and will give my all to make every premiere, every performance, every season even better than its predecessors.”

State Minister Bernd Sibler thanked Igor Zelensky for his work over the past three years: “I am so happy we’ve been able to keep Igor Zelensky here in Munich at the head of the Bayerisches Staatsballett! The company has developed extremely well since Igor took office, and performances are often sold out, to everyone’s delight. I am already very excited about the projects he will deliver in the coming seasons with our Staatsballett’s dancers,” Bernd Sibler declared.

Once a dancer himself, Igor Zelensky has been head of the Munich ensemble since 2016. After Konstanze Vernon and Ivan Liška, he is the third Director of the Bayerisches Staatsballett since its foundation in 1990. The company has in particular generated international acclaim with its broad repertoire, and will celebrate its 30th anniversary in autumn 2020.

The Bayerisches Staatsballett’s ensemble boasts internationally coveted principals such as Laurretta Summerscales and Osiel Gouneo, and renowned guest first soloists such as Natalia Osipova, Vladimir Shklyarov and Nancy Osbaldeston also dance regularly in Munich under Igor Zelensky’s direction. Since Igor Zelensky took office utilisation of the Bayerisches Staatsballett has been constantly above 95 percent, and is therefore the highest since the Bayerisches Staatsballett was established.


Biography Igor Zelensky

Igor Zelensky was born in Labinsk, Russia, and studied at the Tbilisi School of Ballet and at the Vaganova Academy in Saint Petersburg. In 1988 he made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre and was promptly entrusted with the main roles of the classic repertoire. For many years he was the leading male first soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet.

During his time as Principal at the Mariinsky Theatre and at the New York City Ballet, Igor Zelensky was also a coveted guest principal at international companies such as the Royal Ballet in London and the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He regularly performed at the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich, among others in the role of Solor in La Bayadère and as Des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan's Manon.

While still active as a dancer, Zelensky was appointed as Artistic Director of the Novosibirsk Ballet, a position he held from 2006 to 2015. He was also Artistic Director of the Ballet of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre in Moscow from 2011 until 2016.

Igor Zelensky took over as Ballet Director at the Bayerisches Staatsballett in summer 2016. 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 each year at the beginning of the Munich Opera Festival provides an insight into the current choreographic creativity of young performers. 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.