Jurgita Dronina as Kitri in "Don Quixote." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

Jurgita Dronina on Making the Role of "Kitri" Her Own

When Jurgita Dronina first danced Kitri for a guest performance of Don Quixote with Teatro Filarmonico-Fondazione Arena Di Verona, she was in essence cast against type. "Before Kitri, I was dancing only lyrical or dramatic roles, so I had to start from scratch in finding my own signature in the steps and my own interpretation of the character," says Dronina, who was dancing with Royal Swedish Ballet at the time.


Jan-Erik Wikström, her coach and colleague at RSB, helped her dig deep into the role. From Wikström she learned that a flashier character like Kitri doesn't have to drift into cliché. She used the feisty choreography to begin discovering the bravura side of herself, while maintaining her expressive elegance. "Jan-Erik allowed me to experiment with port de bras and transitions," says Dronina. "The biggest liberty I have taken is the movement of the fan and port de bras—there are so many ways to use a fan. Those movements of the head and upper body must define the character, since the steps must follow the choreography and staging."


Jurgita Dronina with Isaac Hernandez in Alexei Ratmansky's "Don Quixote" with Dutch National Ballet. Photo Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

Playing with the phrasing also helped Dronina make her mark. "There are still plenty of places to be lyrical and soft," she says, "to contrast the other parts that are very quick and on fire. I like to play with those differences, as well as try to find the right balance between humor and charm in her character." Little did she know that developing her Kitri would alter the trajectory of her career: After a guest performance in Alexei Ratmansky's Don Quixote with Dutch National Ballet, Dronina was invited to join the company, a move that eventually led her to become a principal at the National Ballet of Canada.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Courtesy Boylston

Is the #EsmeraldaChallenge Quarantine's Next Big Thing?

By this point in the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, people are completely burned out on dancing at home. So it's no surprise that last week, all-around dance superstar Alex Wong posted a video on Instagram performing the famous La Esmeralda variation... but in his living room. And with a frying pan instead of a tambourine.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks