Maria Kochetkova to Leave San Francisco Ballet


Maria Kochetkova In Millepied's The Chairman Dances at the 2017 Gala Performance. (© Erik Tomasson)
Maria Kochetkova In Millepied's The Chairman Dances at the 2017 Gala Performance. (© Erik Tomasson)

Popular principal dancer will give her last performance during the Unbound Festival

San Francisco Ballet has announced that popular Principal Dancer Maria Kochetkova will leave the Company following the 2018 Repertory Season. She will give her last performance during the Unbound Festival at a date to be announced later.

A native of Moscow, Russia, Kochetkova joined the San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 2007. She danced with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London and has performed as a guest artist with the Bolshoi and Stanislavsky Theaters in Moscow, the Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky Theaters in St. Petersburg, American Ballet Theatre, Rome Opera, and the Tokyo Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson said, "Masha is a beautiful dancer and it's been a pleasure to watch her grow and further develop her exceptional talent during the past eleven years here at SF Ballet. Along with San Francisco audiences, we will miss her, but we wish her all the best in her next adventure."

On her Facebook page, Kochetkova said, "I'm very lucky and grateful for the career I had with San Francisco Ballet. I want to thank the dancers I shared the stage with and all the choreographers and teachers that I worked with in the past eleven years who made me the dancer I am now. I'll be forever grateful to Helgi for putting his trust in me, for taking a risk and giving me a principal contract. Thank you to the people in the audience for coming to see my performances and supporting me. Thank you to everyone who helps to make this Company a special place. The time has come for me to move on to other opportunities. I don't know what my next big step is going to be, but I'm excited to see where it takes me."

Kochetkova performed the Grand Pas de Deux in San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker in 2008, which was televised by PBS and won the solo gold medal in the NBC series Superstars of Dance. The broadcast was watched by over 10 million viewers. She danced the role of Juliet in the 2015 film of Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet.

Kochetkova's prizes and awards include the Isadora Duncan Award for the role of Giselle and medals at the International Ballet Competitions in Seoul (Gold, 2005), Rome (Gold, 2005), Riety (Gold, 2005), Luxembourg (Gold, 2003), Varna (Silver and the Press Jury Prize, 2002), Moscow (Bronze, 2001). She is also a winner of the Prix de Lausanne (2002) and was nominated for the best dancer award in the Benois de la Dance (2013) and National Dance Awards (2014).

Kochetkova has danced numerous leading roles in full-length ballets with the San Francisco Ballet, including in Helgi Tomasson's Giselle, Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, and Swan Lake. At American Ballet Theatre, she danced Ashton's Sylvia, Holmes' (after Sergeyev/Petipa) Le Corsaire, and Ratmansky's Golden Cockerel. 

Her honors include an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Giselle, gold medals at three international ballet competitions, and a Benois de la Danse Award nomination.

More information is available on the biolography page of Maria Kochetkova's web site.