Italy is characterized by being the cradle of many art forms, from painting and sculpture to dance in its different variants: classic, modern contemporary, and even with exponents in urban dance. However, the Italian standard is ballet, whose origins are found in the Italian Renaissance during the 15th and 16th centuries and spread all the way to France with the help of Catherine de’ Medici, where ballet developed further under her aristocratic influence. Renaissance ballet is very different from the form of theatrical ballet known to contemporary audiences, as tutus and ballet slippers where not yet part of a dancer’s wardrobe from those times and choreographies are adapted to the court dance steps.
Currently, ballet has international exponents on the most prestigious stages in the world, and one of them is the Italian dancer Roberto Bolle. Discovering his passion for dancing when he was very young, he began studying in Piedmont, his home región, until he was 12 years old, when he entered the Ballet School of La Scala de Milán. The last time Rudolf Nuréyev appeared at La Scala Theater to stage his production of The Nutcracker, he, who at that time was considered a legend, saw Roberto in the studio and asked the fifteen-year-old, deeply moved, to do some exercises on the bar. After a few days, Nuréyev chose him to play Tadzio in Death in Venice. This meeting would forever influence Roberto’s destiny. At only twenty years, Roberto made his debut in the leading role of Romeo, and Elisabetta Tárabut would promote him as a principal dancer, beginning an outstanding international career.
Roberto played Sigfried for the first time alongside international star Altynai Asymuratova at England’s most important concert hall, in a grand new Derek Deane production, which included 70 swans, acrobats, and jugglers. For the first time, the young Italian artist, at only 22 years old, met some members of the Royal Family, such as Princess Margaret, and the beautiful and unforgettable Lady Diana. In 1998, Roberto danced in Aida in Cairo, which was the first time in 50 years that this production was staged there. The pyramids of Cheops and Khafre set the stage and provided an exceptional backdrop for Aida.
After three years of restoration, the Royal Opera House opened the season and celebrated its reopening with The Nutcracker. Roberto was invited to dance at the prestigious theater for the first time with Darcey Bussell. Since this performance, the exceptional association with Darcey has continued and they have danced together in many classical and contemporary ballets. In addition, he was elected as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and performed Black Swan’s pas de deux with Zenaida Yanowsky on the fabulous stage of Buckingham Palace’s throne room.
Roberto Bolle turned 46 years old on March 26th with important achievements and awards obtained during his wide career. He was the first principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater in New York. Roberto Bolle announced his retirement from the scene last November in a televisión interview: “Dancers retire at forty-seven, so I will retire in 2022. I understand that it is strange to say that at this age someone retires, since for a biological age it is young. Actually, we are not so young anymore, because a dancer’s career, just as an athlete’s, begins very soon”. Roberto Bolle leaves behind a whole legacy to ballet and Italian and international dancers who struggle to achieve and be on the most valuable stages of classical dance.