Iana Salenko and Marian Walter in Swan Lake © Carlos Quezada

Iana Salenko becomes “Berlin Chamber Dancer”

After her captivating performance as Giselle at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Iana Salenko, esteemed Principal Dancer of the Staatsballett Berlin, will be honored with the prestigious honorary title of “Berlin Chamber Dancer” on March 17, 2024.  Senator Joe Chialo, responsible for Culture and Social Cohesion, will personally present this well-deserved honor to Iana Salenko. Her exceptional artistic contributions have left an indelible mark on Berlin’s cultural landscape, and this recognition celebrates her remarkable talent and dedication. In addition to her outstanding performances on stage, Iana Salenko’s commitment extends beyond the footlights. Her unwavering dedication to her homeland, Ukraine, during the Russian attack has been commendable. Born in Berlin’s partner city, Kyiv, she has tirelessly supported war victims and artists in Ukraine through initiatives like her ballet gala, “Ballet for Live,” which benefits needy children.

Iana Salenko herself is delighted with the recognition, which she now shares with her husband Marian Walter, who has also received this award.

«I feel very honored to receive this German honorary title. And I am proud that my husband Marian and I are currently the only chamber dancer couple. The award inspires me to reach new heights in my career. I am looking forward to more exciting dance moments.»

The Berlin Senate expresses profound gratitude to Iana Salenko for enriching the city’s cultural heritage and recognizes her as an exceptional artist. This honor is shared with her husband, Marian Walter, who has also received the same award.

Iana Salenko and Marian Walter in Romeo and Juliet by John Cranko, Staatsballett Berlin © Bettina Stöß

Iana Salenko, an exceptional artist, graces the international stage with outstanding technique and complemented by a great joy of playing.  Throughout her illustrious career, she has breathed life into iconic roles in classical ballet productions, leaving an indelible mark on the world of dance. Iana embodied leading roles in the most important classical productions such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Onegin, Giselle, La Esmeralda, La Péri and Cinderella. She dances choreographies by renowned choreographers such as Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Auguste Bournonville, John Cranko, Pierre Lacotte, Marius Petipa and Anton Dolin. In personal collaborations, she was able to bring her interpretation to works by Patrice Bart, Yuri Burlaka/Vasily Medvedev, Nacho Duato, Boris Eifman, Marcia Haydée, Giorgio Madia, Vladimir Malakhov, Alexei Ratmansky, Peter Schaufuss, Heinz Spoerli, Christian Spuck and Víctor Ullate.

Iana Salenko and Xander Parish in La Bayadère © Andrej Uspenski
Jana Salenko und Marian Walter © Mariia Kulchitska

Iana Salenko completed her ballet training at the Pisarev Ballet School in Donetsk, where she also received her first engagement. In 2002, she became a First Soloist at the Ukrainian National Opera in Kiev. After meeting her husband Marian Walter, she joined the State Ballet Berlin as a Demi-Soloist, where she was promoted to Soloist in 2006 and First Soloist in 2007. Since then, she has danced leading roles especially in classical productions and received invitations for guest appearances in over 20 companies worldwide. From 2013 to 2017, she was a Principal Guest at the Royal Ballet in London. Since 2022, she has been committed to her home country, Ukraine, by founding the annual charity gala Ballet for Life by Iana Salenko.

The title «Berliner Kammertänzer*in» has been awarded only to Oliver Matz (1995), Raffaela Renzi (1995), Gregor Seyffert (1999), Vladmimir Malakhov (2014), Michael Banzhaf (2017), Polina Semionova (2017) and Marian Walter (2018). The rare honorary title is awarded by the Berlin Senate for outstanding artistic achievements and a minimum of five years of uninterrupted affiliation with a theater.