Kochetkova in Helgi Tomasson's Trio. Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Maria Kochetkova to Leave San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet announced this morning that principal dancer Maria Kochetkova will leave the company at the the end of the 2017–18 season. Her final performance date has not yet been announced, but it will be sometime during the company's Unbound Festival, April 20–May 6.


Kochetkova joined SFB as a principal in 2007, hired out of the corps at English National Ballet. In a statement, Kochetkova thanked SFB artistic director Helgi Tomasson for the opportunity: "I'll forever be grateful to Helgi for putting his trust in me, for taking a risk and giving me a principal contract."

Born in Russia and trained at the Moscow State Choreographic Academy, Kochetkova was deemed too short for its affiliated Bolshoi Ballet. No matter—she would become a huge star at SFB, dancing leads in classical full-lengths and creating principal roles with choreographers like Tomasson, William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Edwaard Liang and Yuri Possokhov.

She would also become a huge social media star, cultivating hundreds of thousands of fans around the country and world. In addition to becoming an in-demand international guest artist (as well as somewhat of a fashion icon), Kochetkova also danced with American Ballet Theatre from 2015–17, splitting her time between New York City and San Francisco. "I really wanted to learn more and also try to balance my repertoire," she told Pointe in the December 2015/January 2016 issue.


Photo by Quinn Wharton.

Her reasons for leaving SFB are still unclear. In a statement and on Instagram, she says: "The time has come for me to move on to other opportunities. I don't know what my next step is going to be, but I'm excited to see where it takes me." We're looking forward to seeing what else she has on the horizon.


Latest Posts


Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks