Krzysztof Pastor

Director of the Polish National Ballet

Choreographer and producer. Krzysztof Pastor began his ballet training with the Ballet School in his hometown 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 choreograph 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 seventy ballets to date, including the highly acclaimed Do Not Go Gentle…, and In Light and Shadow; and the large-scale, full-length productions: Kurt Weill, Acid City, Don Giovanni, Tristan, and Dangerous Liaisons; as well as Symphonie fantastique 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 Amsterdam, he created Si después de morir, Voice - premiered at the Holland Festival in 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 Scheherazade (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 Ballet Flanders, Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw (Górecki’s Third Symphony, 1994), Lithuanian National Ballet, Latvian National Ballet, Donau Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet, National Theatre in Brno, Ankara State Ballet, The Australian Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Hong Kong Ballet. He has also choreographed smaller pieces, especially 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 Symphonie fantastique 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 until June 2017. From the moment he took the position of the Polish National Ballet’s director he staged in Warsaw his earlier ballets: Kurt Weill (2009), In Light and Shadow (2010), Moving Rooms (2012), Romeo and Juliet (2014), The Tempest and Bolero (2016) and also some new works created especially for PNB: And the Rain Will Pass… (2011), Adagio&Scherzo (2014), Casanova in Warsaw (2015), his own original version of Swan Lake (2017) and Chopin’s Concerto in F minor (2018).

From 2011-2020, he took on the additional duties of artistic director of ballet at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius. He staged there his ballets i.a.: Tristan, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Bolero and The Miraculous Mandarin. In recognition of his contribution to the development of Vilnius ballet he was awarded the Cross of Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania and Honorary Golden Star from Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.

Pastor received special prizes from the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Polish Theatre Artists Union and Polish Society of Authors and Composers and was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the ‘Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis’ Gold Medal. He was also awarded the title of an ‘Outstanding Pole’ from Polish Promotional Emblem Foundation ‘Teraz Polska’ (2017). In 2021 he was appointed to the Program Board of the Polish National Institute for Music and Dance.

(photo: Łukasz Murgrabia)

Most significant awards

    • 1995: Gold Choreography Prize, International Ballet Competition in Helsinki (Finland)
    • 2000: Medal of 200 Years of Polish Ballet from the Ministry of Culture (Poland)
    • 2000: Choreography Prize, Dansersfonds ‘79 (the Netherlands)
    • 2010: Terpsychora (Terpsichore) Award from ZASP (Polish Performing Artists Union)
    • 2011: Golden Gloria Artis Medal (Poland)
    • 2014: Prize of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (Poland)
    • 2015: Officer’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order
    • 2016: Association of Authors and Composers (ZAIKS) Award for choreographic achievements (Poland)
    • 2016: Honorary Golden Star of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
    • 2017: Statuette and a tittle of an „Outstanding Pole” from Polish Promotional Emblem Foundation “Teraz Polska”
    • 2019: Performing Arts Western Australia Dance Award for Dracula as Best New Work in 2018
    • 2021: Cross of Officer of the Order for Merits to Lithuania

Significant choreographies

    • 1992: Shostakovich Chamber Symphony (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 1993: Les Biches (The Israel Ballet, Tel Aviv)
    • 1993: Stop It! (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Washington 1998)
    • 1994: Górecki’s Third Symphony (Ballet of the Teatr Wielki, Warsaw; Amsterdam 1996)
    • 1995: Don’t Look Back… (DonauBallett, Györ / Amsterdam)
    • 1996: Firebird (The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Wellington; Perth 1999)
    • 1997: Gershwin Concerto (The Israel Ballet, Tel Aviv)
    • 1997: Altri canti d’Amor (Teatro Massimo, Palermo)
    • 1997: Carmen (Lithuanian National Ballet, Vilnius; Riga 2001, Budapest 2002)
    • 1997: Gershwin’s Piano Concerto (The Washington Ballet, Washington)
    • 1998: Passing By (The Washington Ballet, Washington)
    • 1998: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lithuanian National Ballet, Vilnius)
    • 1999: Bitter-Sweet (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 1999: Brahms’ Sonata (The Washington Ballet, Washington)
    • 1999: Hin- und hergerissen (Semperoper Ballet, Dresden)
    • 2000: Do Not Go Gentle… (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Warsaw 2019)
    • 2000: The Silver Veil (Latvian National Ballet, Riga)
    • 2000: In Light and Shadow (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Stockholm 2003; Edinburgh 2006; Ankara 2007; Hong Kong 2010; Warsaw 2010; Perth 2020)
    • 2001: The Rite of Spring (Latvian National Ballet, Riga)
    • 2001: Kurt Weill (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Warsaw 2009)
    • 2001: Bach Divisions (The Israel Ballet, Tel Aviv)
    • 2002: Tao (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2002: Acid City (Lithuanian National Ballet, Vilnius)
    • 2002: Encounters (The Royal Ballet Flanders, Antwerp)
    • 2003: Si después de morir… (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2004: Opium (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2004: Voice (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2005: Don Giovanni (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2006: Tristan (Royal Swedish Ballet, Stockholm; Warsaw 2009, Vilnius 2012
    • 2006: The Dangerous Liaisons (Latvian National Ballet, Riga; Poznań 2010, Brno 2011)
    • 2006: Crossing Paths (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2006: Suite for Two (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2007: Visions at Dusk (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2007: Symphonie fantastique (The Australian Ballet, Melbourne)
    • 2008: Romeo and Juliet (The Scottish Ballet, Edinburgh; Warsaw, 2014; Joffrey Ballet, Chicago 2014; Vilnius 2016)
    • 2008: Moving Rooms (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Warsaw 2012)
    • 2009: Chopin Dances (The Israel Ballet, Tel Aviv)
    • 2009: Scheherazade (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2009: Dumbarton Dances (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2010: Nijinsky – Dancer, Clown, God (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2011: And the Rain Will Pass… (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw)
    • 2012: Chapters (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam)
    • 2012: Bolero (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Vilnius 2015; Riga 2015; Warsaw 2016; Rome 2020)
    • 2014: Adagio & Scherzo (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw; Augsburg 2016)
    • 2014: The Tempest (Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Warsaw 2016)
    • 2014: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Lithuanian National Ballet, Vilnius) 
    • 2015: Casanova in Warsaw (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw)
    • 2015: Crisantemi (50th Anniversary Gala of Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam)
    • 2017: Swan Lake (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw)
    • 2018: Dracula (West Australian Ballet, Perth)
    • 2018: The Miraculous Mandarin (Lithuanian National Ballet, Vilnius)
    • 2018: Concerto in F minor by Chopin (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw
    • 2018: Polish DancesPolonaise & Mazurka by Moniuszko (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw)
    • 2019: Kilar’s Toccata (Polish National Ballet, Warsaw)