Eleonora Abbagnato and Sergio Bernal in Proximity or Closeness

Étoile Eleonora Abbagnato and Sergio Bernal in Proximity or Closeness (UK Première), music: Gustav Mahler and Alfred Schnittke; choreography by Ermanno Sbezzo. Ballet Icons Gala 2024, London Coliseum, March 2024.

Eleonora Abbagnato (born in 1978) is an Italian ballet dancer, model, and actress. Between 2013 and 2021 she was Étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet. She was born in Palermo. Abbagnato started dancing at 5 years old, and at 12 she moved to Monte Carlo to enroll in the dance school of Marika Besobrasova. At 13, she toured Europe with Roland Petit’s The Sleeping Beauty, in the role of Aurora as a child. She was then admitted, after a private audition, to the École de Danse of the Paris Opera as a fellowship student. In 1996, at the age of 18, Abbagnato graduated and joined the corps de ballet of the Opera, where she made a rapid ascent: Coryphée in 1999, Sujet in 2000, Premiere Danseuse in 2001 and Étoile in March 2013.

In 2015, Abbagnato was appointed director of the corps de ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Abbagnato was first set to retire from Paris Opera Ballet after a performance of Le Parc in 2019. However, due to the dancers’ strike, her farewell had to be delayed. She eventually bade her farewell to the stage on 12 June 2021.

Sergio Bernal was born in Madrid in 1990, He began in 2002 at the Real Conservatorio de Danza de Madrid. His professional career began when he joined Rafael Aguilar’s company as a principal dancer and later joined the Workshop of the National Ballet of Spain In 2009 he was part of the Carlos Saura company and toured internationally with Flamenco Hoy. In 2012 he joined the National Ballet of Spain as a soloist, becoming a principal dancer in 2016. In September 2019 he left the National Ballet of Spain to form his own company together with Ricardo Cue.

© Photos by Jack Devant Ballet Photography with kind permission of the Ballet Icons Gala, special thanks to Olga Balakleets

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