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Hey, that’s no way (for a ballet company) to say goodbye

We’ve been sent a farewell message on Facebook by the retiring Royal Ballet dancer, Johan Kobborg. Be warned: it’s not dainty. Is all well at the ROH?

Wow. So ton­ite I lost it. I cried. Not after cur­tain down, as I only felt good vibes from col­leagues and Tokyo audi­ence, but later in my dress­ing room.

My Boss stuck his head in through the door, said well done, asked how I felt, and not to be a stranger in the future. Then left, not a single hug or even a hand­shake… That was it…

Con­sid­er­ing I am leav­ing on good terms, after 13 yrs of being a prin­cipal at RB, and doing pro­duc­tions for the com­pany, I can only ima­gine, how people leav­ing because of argu­ments would have their send off.. Feel bad for the other 3 dan­cers shar­ing my dress room to see me lose it like that.

The Tokyo pro­du­cer wanted to book a taxi for me in the early morn­ing to take me to the air­port, just like when I arrived, but as a final appre­ci­ation from RB they refused and has given me tick­ets for the pub­lic air­port trans­fer bus. Thank you RB man­age­ment for some beau­ti­ful times over the last + dec­ade, may I never ( dan­cers excluded) have to ever meet you again.


Johan kobborg

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  1. acoustictourist says:

    Dancers always have it harder than musicians, especially the boys. Kind of puts all our recent (musican) moans about low wages and conditions into perspective.

  2. Theodore McGuiver says:

    If that’s what happened it was pretty shabby treatment.

  3. Kobborg had a distinguished career with the Royal Danish Ballet and later the Royal Ballet. The partnership between Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru (his wife) has been one of the Royal Ballet’s highlights for the past 12 years. It was widely reported that Kobborg had been offered the directorship of the Royal Danish Ballet but was also under consideration as the Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet. Instead, the RB selected Kevin Hare. One would have expected more graciousness on the part of the RB, but my guess is that Kobborg will lead the RDB, if not now, then within a year, and that is not a bad consolation prize.

  4. Two corrections: Cojocaru and Kobborg are engaged but not married. The current Director of the RB is Kevin O’Hare.
    It was announced today that Alina Cojocaru is to join ENB as a Lead Principal. Would be interesting to see what Kobborg does. Not sure he is actually retiring from the stage…

  5. I’ve had a lot of supervisors like that. Of course, I’m not a star performer in ballet.

  6. Shabby indeed, embarrassingly so. I do hope that Kobborg will lead the RDB, and within a year … so that those dreadful people will have to eat some crow.

  7. As a stylistically congruent company that has maintained its style with integrity, RDB is certainly a great “consolation prize”. Let’s hope Kobborg gets it.

    I don’t expect that any of Kevin O’Hare’s recent predecessors would have treated this last performance very differently; emotional distance (or lack of emotional intelligence) is a hallmark of the RB’s management. But the taxi business is really petty.

  8. Steve Foster says:

    This is the job he chose. He just happens to have worked for a less-than personable boss. Happens all the time. EVERY one looks for additional accolades.
    Ugh…get over it.

  9. KoHSupporter says:

    I’m sorry to hear of this but wish to speak up on behalf of the current AD who is actually a very personable man indeed. An extremely capable dancer, company manager and exec director, and very well liked by both dancers and staff.
    The current year has seen 2 female principals retire, another leave to take over the directorship of another company and just one “defect”. With Johann, it must feel like a blow to lose another.
    Additionally, the former director is, some would say, overly present in the house, making it more difficult for
    the new incumbent to consolidate his directorship – a chance he deserves.

    • Be all that as it may, it was still an incredibly mean-spirited way to act – I would hardly call that the action of ‘a very personable man indeed’. O’Hare could at least have invited Kobborg for a drink or a farewell meal. And the business with the taxi is just petty spite. O’Hare and the RB management should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. Get over it. He got paid, didn’t he? And if a taxi to the airport was really that important, he could always have booked one himself.

    • With all due respect, I believe it’s critical to understand that money really isn’t everything. That he was paid is simply his due for having done his job: as you or I or the taxi-driver, for that matter, should be paid for his or her work. The point here is the gesture, the courtesy, between colleagues and -in this case- to an artist. Not to give the artist supper after the concert or make sure her transport to the next event is taken care of is just gauche. Embarrassingly so!

  11. KoHSupporter says:

    He gave in his notice almost at the end of the season in a shock announcement, as far as I am aware, presumably making it difficult to easily find a replacement. He will have flown home 1st class – and flown everywhere else 1st class whilst a principal at the RB. He will have collected a very large salary for his work – deservedly so. It is just ridiculous to claim this one episode is “shameful”. It was petty, little more.
    What, in my personal view, was shameful, was the behaviour of another artistic director in another company in the early noughties – and the fact that, contrary to other recent scandals, it has almost completely escaped public scrutiny.
    Kevin is not infallible, but he is decent.

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