The Polish National Ballet receives a boost of youthful energy with the creation of a 10-person strong junior company made up of mostly Polish dancers freshly graduated from local ballet schools. PNB Junior is supported by the Polish ministry of culture.

Ten young ballet dancers in dance poses in the lobby of the Polish National Opera

Pictured: The 2023/24 PNB Junior dancers: Łucja Ulbrych, Paweł Dobrzyński, Kamila Lechowska, Mikołaj Spiżewski, Maria Grzymała, Roberto Olivieri, Cezary Szlachta, Julia Skubis, Maciej Duda, Weronika Gałązka. Photo by Ewa Krasucka

The new initiative of the Polish National Ballet seeks to bridge the gap between ballet school training and the demands of professional ballet companies. PNB’s newly created, 10-person strong junior company will work separately from the major company for a year or two to hone their artistic and technical skills and attain the qualifications needed to join PNB or another Polish ballet company as a professional dancer. The junior dancers will be offered special coaching from PNB’s experienced artists and master classes led by international ballet masters. They will present their own artistic programmes on our small stage and subsequently in other Polish theatres, as well as take part in the major company’s daily programme and shows.  

As of the 2023/24 season, the PBN Junior dancers are: Maria Grzymała, Julia Skubis, Paweł Dobrzyński and Cezary Szlachta (graduates of the Warsaw Ballet School); Weronika Gałązka and Maciej Duda (Gdańsk Ballet School); Kamila Lechowska and Mikołaj Spiżewski (Łódź Ballet School); Łucja Ulbrych (former students of the ballet school in Warsaw and Gdańsk, and graduate of the Piruecik Dance and Ballet School in Warsaw), and Italy’s Roberto Olivieri (graduate of the Rome Opera Ballet School).

The young dancers will be coached by PNB’s long-standing Soloist Irina Wasilewska and Principal Dawid Trzensimiech, who graduated from the Bytom Ballet School, then trained at the Royal Ballet School in London and subsequently danced with the Royal Ballet for a few years. This year they will be supported by visiting teachers: Natalia Hoffmann, former soloist of the Dutch National Ballet who is now a Professor at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, as well as Rafael Sady, former soloist of the Cullberg Ballet and stager of Mats Ek’s ballets. Other international teachers are set to work with PBN Junior later in the season, including former Royal Ballet Principal, David Makhatelli.

This season the junior company will present two mixed bills on our small stage titled Juvenalia. The first is set to open on 24 November as part of this year’s Days of Dance. The other will premiere in the summer of 2024.