Riho Sakamoto and Constantine Allen in the Two Pieces for HET

Riho Sakamoto and Constantine Allen in the Two Pieces for HET, music by Erkki-Sven Tüür and Arvo Pärt; choreography by Hans Van Manen. Ballet Icons Gala 2024, London Coliseum, March 2024.

Riho Sakamoto (Osaka, Japan) is a Principal dancer with Dutch National Ballet. She began her ballet training at the age of four. She studied in Japan for several years before moving to Washington DC at the age of ten to continue her training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. In 2010, she won the gold medal at the finals of the prestigious ballet competition the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. In 2014, at the age of 16, Riho was accepted into the Junior Company of Dutch National Ballet. In 2016, she made the switch to Dutch National Ballet, where she became a member of the corps de ballet. The following year, she was promoted to coryphée, in 2018 to grand sujet and in 2019 to soloist. Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet, announced the promotion of Riho Sakamoto to the rank of principal in 2021.

Constantine Allen is a Principal with Dutch National Ballet. Hailing from Indianapolis, Constantine spent most of his early life in Hawaii where he began dancing aged 5, at the Pacific Ballet Academy in Honolulu. At the 2007 Youth America Grand Prix, he took the bronze medal at the junior category final in New York. He was immediately awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Kirov Ballet school where he studied under Vladimir Dioulouhadze and Anatoli Kucheruk from 2007 to 2010. He entered the competition again in 2008 and once again received the bronze medal in the same category. In 2010, he switched style and worked with Peter Pestov and Tadeusz Matacz at the John Cranko school in Stuttgart. In 2011, he won the Grand Prix at the Tanzolymp competition in Berlin. Freshly graduated, he joined the corps de ballet at the Stuttgart Ballet and was promoted to demi-soloist barely six months later, and principal dancer in 2014, rising through the company. Always on the look-out for new challenges, he joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and then became the guest soloist for the Dutch National Ballet, before finally joining the company at the beginning of the 2018-2019 season as a principal dancer.

Arvo Pärt (born 1935) is an Estonian composer of contemporary classical music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs tintinnabuli, a compositional technique he invented. Pärt’s music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. His most performed works include Fratres (1977), Spiegel im Spiegel (1978), and Für Alina (1976). From 2011 to 2018, and again in 2022, Pärt was the most performed living composer in the world.

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

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