POETRY IN MOTION: Meet the ‘Iconique’ cast of dancers who will be bringing world-class ballet to the Bahamas

In March 2022, Xander Parish fled St Petersburg – where he had been the principal dancer with the renowned Mariinsky Ballet – in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Now, after bringing together dancers who have been displaced by the ongoing war and getting them back on stage, the Yorkshire-born ballet dancer will be showcasing his talents here in the Bahamas.

Xander is among a group of acclaimed dancers who have joined the UK-based Covent Garden Dance Company to present a special kind of ballet show in paradise.

The “Iconique” performances will take place on February 14 and 16 at Old Fort Bay in New Providence and will be accompanied by a three-course gourmet dinner with paired wines.

The event will be probably be the first time most Bahamians will see the world’s best dancers perform.

Matt Brady is the director of the Covent Garden Dance Company. He told Tribune Weekend: “There will be ballet dancers from five different companies around the world who have come together to put on this special performance.”

Meet the ‘Iconique’ cast


Xander Parish OBE (Photo by Svetlana Avvakum)

• Xander Parish (OBE), now of the Norwegian National Ballet, has the distinction of being the first British dancer to be employed by the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg. He has performed in many ballet productions, including Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, to name a few.


Mackenzie Brown

• Mackenzie Brown is the youngest dancer ever to be promoted to lead principal at Stuttgart Ballet in Germany. She is of the most highly regarded young dancers of her generation. After her debut as Juliet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet on October 22, 2023, as soloist with the Stuttgart Ballet, she was promoted to principal dancer by Artistic Director Tamas Detrich.


Lucia Lacarra and Matthew Golding.

• Lucia Lacarra. Internationally acclaimed and Nijinsky Award-winning dancer Lucia Lacarra has worked with many of the greats, including John Neumeier, Cyril Pierre, Nicolas Le Riche, Roland Petit and many more. She is considered one of the most iconic and talented dancers of her generation and has a career and CV to prove it.

• Matthew Golding is a Prix de Lausanne winner. He has danced with the Royal Ballet, ABT, Hong Kong Ballet and many more. He has danced with Lucia for the last two years as guest principals around the world. Matthew was tipped as Carlos Acosta’s successor and bestowed with the nickname “the Brad Pitt of ballet". He has taken numerous big roles including Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Fate in Carlos Acosta’s Carmen.


Jón Axel Fransson (Photo by Henrik Stenberg)

• Jon Axel Fransson, born in Iceland, is one of the most highly regarded principal dancers with the Royal Danish Ballet. The Royal Danish Ballet is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world and originates from 1748 when the Royal Danish Theatre was founded. He won international acclaim playing the lead in Cathy Marston's Dangerous Liaisons.


Holly Jean Dorger (Photo by Camilla Winther)

• Holly Jean Dorger’s impressive resumé includes leading roles that include Kitri in Don Quixote; Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Giselle in Giselle, and Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, to name just a few. She was trained in the Balanchine technique, so her repertoire stays true to the style invented by legendary dancer, choreographer and teacher George Balanchine (1904–1983). Holly was knighted Ridder af Dannebrogordenen (Knight of Order of the Dannebrog) by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark on November 18, 2016.


Ksenia Ovsyanick

• Ksenia Ovsyanick is British ballet dancer and principal ballerina with Staatsballett Berlin. She started her training in Belorussian State Ballet College, followed by winning a scholarship at Prix de Lausanne to attend the English National Ballet School. She has performed on stages around the world, including that of the Opera National de Paris Palais Garnier, the Royal Opera House Muscat, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace. She has danced all the great leads in works by Petipa, Ratmansky, Nureyev and Balanchine.


Zdenek Konvalina

• Zdenek Konvalina is the international guest principal artist who has worked with the most prominent choreographers, directors and artists around the world. He has performed with the Dutch National Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper, the Slovak National Theatre, Ballet Concerto de Puerto Rico, the National Ballet of Cuba, the Tokyo Ballet, at the Segerstrom Centre for the Arts in Los Angeles, at City Centre in New York, in the Alexandrinsky and Mikhailovsky Theatres in St Petersburg, and at the Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington, DC.


Mara Galeazzi

• Mara Galeazzi was just 18 years old and didn’t speak a word of English when she joined the Royal Ballet in London as an artist. She remained with the Royal Ballet her entire career, winning great acclaim. Her most notable roles in the company include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet; the title role in Anastasia; Tatiana in Onegin, the title role in The Firebird, and the title role in Giselle. She has worked with some of most famous choreographers, including Kenneth MacMillan, Cathy Marston, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor, Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian and William Forsythe


Jason Kittelberger

• Jason Kittelberger hails from Rochester, New York, where he began training and performing at Performance Plus, Draper School of Dance and School of the Arts, studying dance, acting, musical theatre and production design, and where he had plentiful opportunities to perform, choreograph and create. His acclaimed contemporary style and knowledge has also led him to work with Hollywood A-listers such as Emily Blunt and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Tickets for both nights of “Iconique” are now available starting at $450 per person per performance. To book tickets, please e-mail events@coventgardendance.com or go to www.coventgardendance.com.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment