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Trained by the great Russians including Tamara Karsavina and Lubov Egorova, and later Rosella Hightower, Maina Gielgud has had an incredibly diverse career creating works with Maurice Béjart’s Ballet of the 20th Century, performing all the great classical ballets as a principal with London Festival Ballet (today English National Ballet) and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (today Birmingham Royal Ballet), and being partnered by Rudolf Nureyev in The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixotte with the Ballet National de Marseille. She then pursued a career for several years as an international guest artist. As such, she performed on a variety of occasions with the Hungarian National Ballet, first in a Bejart gala programme with Jorge Donn and Daniel Lommel, then dancing her first full length Swan Lake with Victor Rona, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle with Imre Dozsa, as well in other seasons, as Etudes, Webern opus V, and the Shades from La Bayadere. She was artistic director of the Australian Ballet (1983-1997) and the Royal Danish Ballet (1997-1999). Freelancing since 1999, she stages works (her own highly acclaimed Giselle for several companies such as the Australian Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Ballet du Rhin), made a comeback as a dancer and actress in Béjart’s L’Heure Exquise, and guest teaches and coaches around the world. From 2007 to 2012, her principal affiliation was with English National Ballet, where she was regular guest teacher, principal coach, and artistic advisor. She staged Lifar’s Suite en Blanc for English National Ballet; in April 2012, Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Don Quixote for Boston Ballet; in June 2012, Maurice Bejart’s Song of a Wayfarer, and in January 2013, Suite en Blanc for San Francisco Ballet. Also in 2012/2013, she had a long guest teaching engagement with the Australian Ballet, as well as teaching and coaching for the National Ballet of China in Beijing. In May 2013, she staged Erik Bruhn’s last production of La Sylphide for the Ballet of the Rome Opera House, and in June, Nureyev’s Swan Lake for La Scala, Milan, coaching Natalia Osipova and Claudio Coviello in the principal roles. In October she restaged Suite en Blanc for San Francisco Ballet’s New York season.
Maina Gielgud