Trained by the great Russians including Tamara Karsavina and Lubov Egorova, and later Rosella Hightower, Maina Gielgud has had an incredibly diverse career creating works with Maurice Bejart’s XXth Century Ballet, dancing as a principal with London Festival Ballet and Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, as an international guest artist, and being partnered by Rudolf Nureyev.
She was then Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet (1983-1997) and the Royal Danish Ballet (1997-1999). She was principal coach with English National Ballet (2007 - 2012). Maina made a comeback in 2003 and 2008 as a dancer and actress in Béjart’s L’Heure Exquise.
Free-lancing since 1999, Maina’s own stagings of classical productions are much in demand: her highly acclaimed Giselle for The Australian Ballet (staged also for Boston Ballet, Ballet du Rhin, Houston Ballet and Conservatorio Annarella), The Sleeping Beauty (The Australian Ballet, Jo’burg Ballet), as well as Coppelia, and Cinderella in her own choreography. She also stages works choreographed by Maurice Béjart: Serait-ce la Mort, Bhakti, Webern opus 5, and Song of a Wayfarer; by Kenneth MacMillan: Manon; Serge Lifar: Suite en blanc; Rudolf Nureyev’s productions of Don Quixotte and Swan Lake, and classical favourites such as La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose, Paquita.
She guest teaches and coaches in major companies all over the world, as well as in renowned schools, and is regularly invited to judge ballet competitions. Coaching the Coaches is an innovative interactive workshop, dedicated to discussion and examples of methods of coaching professional dancers for their solo and principal repertoire, as well as students for repertoire and ballet competitions.
Maina’s activities continued unabated over the last three years: In 2019 her staging of Maurice Béjart’s Song of a Wayfarer for the Joyce Festival in New York, with David Hallberg and Joseph Gordon received an immense and emotional response. While some exciting projects for 2020 were postponed due to Covid… but thanks to Zoom technology, Maina remained busy throughout, giving private classes as well as coaching and repertoire classes to professional companies and schools.
From late June 2020 to the end of July 2021, with the ultra-talented students of Conservatorio Annarella, she staged Anton Dolin’s Pas de Quatre and Variations for 4, the full-length Giselle, full length Swan Lake, Aurora’s Wedding, all rehearsed in studios live without masks - and performed live and streamed. In April 2021 She staged Anton Dolin’s Variations for 4 for Ballet West (all on Zoom!), In early June 2021, she restaged Bejart’s L‘Heure Exquise for Alessandra Ferri in Ravenna. This was performed mid-October at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and continues successfully touring internationally. Her new production of Giselle for Cape Town City Ballet opened to wide acclaim in March 2022.