I contemplated going home right after the performance ended, but at the last minute decided to stop by the reception upstairs in the Opera’s Kantine to congratulate my friends and thank them for a fabulous Friday night (and, if I’m being totally honest, to get a free soda . . . but mostly to congratulate). After hugging and telling the guys “tillykke” (congratulations), our boss, Nikolaj Hübbe, stood up to give the traditional premiere reception speech. This usually consists of giving out flowers and thanking the instructors who helped set the ballets and bring them to a high performance level. That’s exactly what happened this evening. Except after thanking each of the instructors, composers, and choreographers for the respective ballets, he then announced that there was one more person he needed to bring up.
Nikolaj proceeded to say that there was a young man who had recently made himself very noticeable onstage, and that he would like to promote Alban Lendorf to soloist. Promotions are always really exciting to experience – I have witnessed three this season; in addition to Alban, Marcin Kupinski was promoted to soloist while we were on tour in Jylland, and Ulrik Birkkjær was promoted to principal onstage after his debut as Gennaro in this season’s updated Napoli. And this promotion was no exception; when Nikolaj said his name, Alban almost choked on his beer and the room went absolutely nuts. Shortly thereafter, as is normal following a Company promotion, everybody took out their mobile phone/iPhone/whatever and started sending out SMS’s and Facebook updates to everybody else.
I was very glad to have stayed for a little bit of the reception – Alban’s a good friend of mine – and it was really nice to be able to congratulate him in person. He has only been in the company for two years, but he is already a huge talent, not to mention a really fun & funny guy to have around. The reception atmosphere, already buzzing with the success of the premiere, turned pretty celebratory after that and I went home feeling extremely lucky to be part of such a warm, wonderful group of dancers, and to have enjoyed a beautiful evening at the ballet, courtesy of the fabulous men of The Royal Danish Ballet.
When I asked him a couple of days later how it felt to wake up a soloist, Alban told me:
Pretty cool, it’s really exciting and very motivating for me. Plus it was great to be able to share it with my friends after the performance. Not to mention a pretty sweet way to start the summer holidays.
A man of few words, maybe, but then again I think “pretty cool” sums it up quite nicely.