"Gradimir Pankov's revolution at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal continues, with breathtaking results." John Rockwell, The New York Times
Macedonia native Gradimir Pankov has been in love with dance for 54 years. He began his career as a brilliant dancer in the former Yugoslavia and in Germany, before successively taking over the artistic direction of Nederlands Dans Theater II (the Netherlands), National Ballet of Finland (Helsinki), Cullberg Ballet (Sweden), and Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève (Switzerland). He has also served as a guest instructor with the most prestigious ballet companies in the world: Paris Opera Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Cullberg Ballet, Gulbenkian Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. On his road to success, he met and made lasting friendships with what are today's leading ballet figures, including Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and rising stars like Didy Veldman and Stijn Celis.
A man of passion and openness, Pankov is passionate about all forms of expression. Undaunted by challenges, he aspires to make Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal into a company that stands out both in the world of ballet and that of culture in general.
Gradimir Pankov succeeded Lawrence Rhodes as artistic director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal in October 1999. By his own admission, he turned Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal into one of the most exciting companies in the world of ballet – between respect for tradition and a willingness to innovate.
Born in Bolzano, Italy, in 1964, Ivan Cavallari received his initial training at the Teatro alla Scala Ballet School in Milan. His teachers recognized his talent by awarding him a scholarship to the Bolchoi Ballet School in Moscow in 1981, where he continued his training until 1983. From 1984 to 1985, he danced with the Scala Ballet School before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 1986, where he became a soloist and then principal dancer under the successive directorships of Marcia Haydée and Reid Anderson. He danced all the leading roles of John Cranko’s ballets and regularly staged the latter’s works with the Royal Ballet Covent Garden in London, La Scala in Milan, the Czech National Ballet, among many other companies. He also staged numerous works by Uwe Scholz, and choreographed ballets for the Stuttgart Ballet, the State Opera Ballet in Hanover, the Lodz State Opera Ballet in Poland, the Mannheim Ballet, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, and the Staatsgallerie Stuttgart.
From 2007 to 2012, he was the Artistic Director of the West Australian Ballet, the oldest dance company in Australia. In 2013, he was named the Artistic Director of the Ballet de l’Opéra national du Rhin, where he staged such works as Dolly in April 2013, and his own choreographies of Pinocchio in 2014 and The Nutcracker in 2016.
At Les Grands Ballets, he will act as Artistic Advisor for the 2016-2017 season before taking over as Artistic Director of the company for the 2017-2018 season.