Choreographer and producer. Krzysztof Pastor began his ballet training with the Ballet School in his home town of Gdańsk. After his training, he joined the Polish Dance Theatre in Poznań (1975) where he worked with Conrad Drzewiecki, winning the position of one of the company’s leading young artistic personalities. Four years later, he moved to the Teatr Wielki of Łódź.
In 1983 Pastor became a soloist with Le Ballet de l’Opéra of Lyon in France, dancing ballets by Gray Veredon, Hans van Manen, Kurt Jooss and others. From 1985 to 1995, he danced with the Dutch National Ballet (Het Nationale Ballet), working with many well-known choreographers such as Carolyn Carlson, Nils Christie, Nacho Duato, Rudi van Dantzig, Jan Linkens, Eduard Lock, Hans van Manen, Maguy Marin, Toer van Schayk, Nina Wiener, and Peter Wright. He danced major roles in both classical and neoclassical ballets, as well as modern dance works.
Pastor completed his first choreographic work in 1986 for an international gala performance in Łódź. After creating several ballets for the Dutch National Ballet’s workshop programmes, in 1992 he was asked to design a ballet for the company’s main programme: the successful Shostakovich – Chamber Symphony. He worked as a freelance choreographer from 1995. In the 1997/98 season he joined the Washington Ballet as its choreographer in residence, and became the Dutch National Ballet’s choreographer in residence in the 1998/99 season. Pastor has since gained considerable recognition as an international choreographer, creating nearly fifty ballets to date, including the highly acclaimed Do Not Go Gentle…, and In Light and Shadow; the large-scale, full-length production Kurt Weill, Acid City, Don Giovanni, Tristan, and Dangerous Liaisons; as well as Symphony Fantastic for the Australian Ballet.
In 1995 Pastor’s duet Detail IV won the Gold Choreography Award of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. In 2000 he was awarded the Medal of 200 Years of Polish Ballet by the Ministry of Culture in Poland, and the Dancers Fund ‘79 Choreography Prize in the Netherlands. His works: Do Not Go Gentle… (2000) and Kurt Weill (2001) were hailed in the Netherlands as great artistic events of those seasons, and presented as such at the Dutch Days of Dance. In 2001, his ambitious and challenging production Kurt Weill was also nominated at the Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow) for the prestigious international Benois de la Danse Prize in no less than three categories.
In January 2003, Krzysztof Pastor was appointed resident choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet, sharing the position with Hans van Manen. In this capacity, he created Si después de morir, Voice which premiered at the Holland Festival 2004, Don Giovanni, as well as Crossing Paths, Suite for Two, and Visions at Dusk. In December 2007 he was invited by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to work with the Bolshoi’s star Svetlana Zakharova (duet from Tristan and solo from Voice). In May 2008 in Edinburgh with the Scottish Ballet, Pastor premiered his own original, cutting-edge version of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and his pieces Moving Rooms (2008) and Sheherezade (2009) were specially prepared for the Holland Festival premiered with the Dutch National Ballet. His latest works in Amsterdam were Dumbarton Dances (2009) and Nijinsky – Dancer, Clown, God (2010).
Alongside his work for the Dutch National Ballet, Pastor has created ballets for many companies in other countries, such as the Royal Swedish Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Scottish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Opera Dresden, Israel Ballet, Royal Flemish Ballet, Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw (Górecki’s Third Symphony, 1994), National Ballet of Lithuania, National Ballet of Latvia, Donau Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, National Theatre in Brno, Ankara State Ballet, Australian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Hong Kong Ballet.. He has also designed smaller pieces specially for selected ballet soloists.
His works have featured in the programmes of renowned festivals: Holland Festival, Holland Dance Festival, and Edinburgh Festival, and also at international ballet competitions, to great critical and audience acclaim. His choreographic works have been presented by Het Nationale Ballet during the company’s tours of the Netherlands, France, Canada, and Britain. In 2008 the Australian Ballet brought his Symphony Fantastic to its prestigious guest performances in Paris. He has also been invited to be a judge at the International Choreography Competition in Groningen, the Eurovision Young Dancers competition in Warsaw, the New York International Ballet Competition, the Benois de la Danse Prize (the ‘ballet Oscar’), the International Ballet Festival Dance Open in Saint Petersburg, and the Polish National Dance Competition in Gdańsk.
After years of artistic absence from Poland, Krzysztof Pastor was invited by the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw to stage his Tristan to the music of Richard Wagner. Following the choreographer’s first visits to Warsaw, the theatre’s general director Waldemar Dąbrowski asked Pastor to accept the position of director of the Polish National Opera’s ballet company, with the aim of giving the company artistic independence and elevating its position at the Teatr Wielki to that of the Polish National Ballet. Pastor took up his new post on 18 March 2009 while retaining his duties as resident choreographer of Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam. His newest work is And the Rain Will Pass… which was created specially for the Polish National Ballet (2011).
In 2010 director Krzysztof Pastor received the prestigious Terpsichore Award which was presented by the Polish Theater Artists Union. In 2011 he was awarded by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage the highest cultural award, the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for his choreographic achievements around the world and for his artistic and organizational effort to raise the prestige of ballet art in Poland.
Krzysztof Pastor took on the additional duties of artistic director of ballet at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius as of 10 October 2011. Impressed by the achievements of the Polish National Ballet, the general director of the Lithuanian National Theatre, Gintautas Kėvišas, asked the choreographer to breathe new artistic life into the Vilnius ballet company.
(photo: Łukasz Murgrabia)