Dutch National Ballet principal Artur Shesterikov has been announced as the winner of the 28th Alexandra Radius Prize 2016. The in-house prize, which is worth €2,500 and comes with an artwork, was awarded at a special gala last week.
Established in 1989, and founded by Friends of Dutch National Ballet, the annual prize is dedicated to Alexandra Radius, who made her debut with the company in 1957 (then called Nederlands Ballet).
For most of her 33-year-long career, Radius danced at DNB with her husband, Han Ebbelaar, whose world-famous partnership saw them take on all the great roles, from Swan Lake to the ballets of Hans van Manen.
Selected by an independent jury, the award recognises the achievement of DNB’s roster, and is presented in person to the winner by Alexandra Radius herself.
Figures in on this year’s jury were: Alexandra Radius (formal principal with the Dutch National Ballet); Caroline Iura (former principal with the Dutch National Ballet); Eddie Vetter (musicologist and dance critic); Jan Haars (chairman of the Dutch National Ballet Fund); and Anneke van Heertum (Friend of the Dutch National Ballet).
Reviewing Shesterikov’s performance, the jury’s report stated: ‘It was a season in which the men of Dutch National Ballet, in particular, gave some remarkable performances, which did not make it easy for the jury to decide.
‘But if in one season you have danced in Hans van Manen’s Metaforen, Twilight and Live, the roles of Officer Vadime in Mata Hari, Count Albrecht in Giselle and the Prince in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Violin Concerto and Apollon Musagète, and in David Dawson’s Overture, and if you have the quality of a danseur noble and are one of the cornerstones of Dutch National Ballet, then there can really only be one winner.’
Russian-born Shesterikov, who trained at Ballet Academy of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, made the switch from the Tchaikovsky Perm Ballet to the Dutch National Ballet in 2007, where he began his career in the corps de ballet, before rapidly being promoted to coryphée and then soloist in 2010.
It was after a touring performance of Swan Lake in March 2012 that artistic director Ted Brandsen promoted Artur Shesterikov to principal.
Besides his roles in the big classical productions he has danced in works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe and Benjamin Millepied, working with amongst others Krzysztof Pastor, Hans van Manen, John Neumeier, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Natalia Makarova and Peter Wright.
Said Shesterikov: ‘It is a great honour to receive this prize from the hands of one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. I would never have been able to achieve this without the help of all the members of Dutch National Ballet, the company that helps me to keep improving as a dancer.’