French born and Cuban educated, Jonathan Chmelensky has been appointed to soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet. Chmelensky, who was born in 1988 will be the only soloist under 25 in the company which only can boost one principal dancer under 25 in Alban Lendorf. Hopefully this will be the first of several appointments as the company is bursting with young and impressive talent.
With the layoffs and budgets cuts last year, money is tight at the RDB, and that can unfortunately hinder the progression of talents. Not only are the repertoire limited and performances fewer, making the cake smaller and provides less opportunities for new talents. Some positions are cut for good.
Looking at the rooster the company is strong, but about ten principals and soloists will reach retirement age within the next few years, so it is important to develop new stars. Nikolaj Hübbe is using the young talents well and several dancers have had several leading roles. Hübbe is not afraid to give leading roles ike "The Lesson" and "Agon" to aspirants and first year dancers, but in order to build careers the young dancers should leave corps duty behind to be able to define themselves as soloists and stars.
It is therefore good to see a strong dancer like Chmelensky getting the promotion, he deserves, but I do hope that Hübbe has budget to make more appointments and make them soon. There are as deserving talents that can go all the way to cater for.
Jonathan Chmelensky joined the RDB in 2007 and wast the last dancer hired by Frank Andersen. Over the season he has successfully take on a growing numbers of assignments from character parts like Hr. Mogens in "a Folks Tale" and Gaston in "Lady of the Camilles" to virtuoso dancing like "Bluebird" and pas de action in "La Bayadere". He has done several last minutes replacements as "Nutcracker Prince and in "Bournonville Variations", but is was in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Camilla Ruelykke Holst that he really came in to his own. He is a strong technician who dares to go head to head with Alban Lendorf as seen in "Corpus in December. His alligence to the company can also be seen on YouTube in films he had made on the American tour in 2011.