Francesca Velicu and Daniel McCormick performing "Le Corsaire" © Laurent Liotardo


English National Ballet’s newly promoted junior soloist,  Francesca Velicu, was born in Bucharest, Romania and trained at the Choreography High School Floria Capsali. In spite of her youth, she has already had an interesting journey and achieved a great deal.  An Interview by Deborah WEISS.

You also spent some time at the Bolshoi Academy. How did this happen?

I participated in the Youth America Grand Prix, the competition. After that I was offered a place at the Summer Intensive in New York and following that I was invited to go and study at the school in Moscow. I spent two years there.

And then you joined Romanian National Ballet?

I should explain that in Moscow I was put in a higher class than my actual age, so I finished my last year there one year earlier than I was supposed to. I had to come home to finish my school exams like history and all that. While I was in Bucharest, I joined the company for a season.

English National Ballet in “Jolly Folly” by Arielle Smith part of ENB’s Reunion © Laurent Liotardo
“Le Sacre du printemps” by Pina Bausch © Laurent Liotardo

What were the things that made you want to join English National Ballet?

I left Romania very, very quickly actually because Johan Kobborg, who was the artistic director in Bucharest at
that time, he left. I decided I wanted to go as well as I’d always wanted to have a career outside Romania anyway. I went for the first company I thought of because I already knew Alina Cojocaru. It was my number one
company. I knew quite a lot about the company. It was the first company I auditioned for, I got in and I was
here within one week! Yes – very fast! I spoke English because I learnt it in school but I also spoke quite a
lot of English in Russia until I got to learn a little bit of Russian. So when I arrived here, I was completely fine
about speaking English. It was very hard to be away from home but I had got used to it when I was in Moscow.
Living in a city like London and being in such a wonderful company, I don’t get to think about these
things a lot but it does hit me every now and then. But it’s all worth it…

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