2O Years of Junior Ballett

2O years ago, the Junior Ballett at the Opernhaus Zürich was founded. Alongside the International Opera Studio and the Orchestra Academy, the Junior Ballet has established itself as the third existing form of promotion of young artists, and an essential part of the Opera Zurich. Young dancers from all over the world are given the opportunity of being mentored during the transition from the end of ballet education to the beginning of their professional ballet career.

We explore the identity of the young troupe, reflect back upon Junior Ballett productions from two decades and have a word with the dancers.


Every two seasons, the Junior Ballett presents its own ballet evening. For Impulse, the most current evening, which had its online premiere in Winterthur in February 2O21, the Junior Ballet created world premieres with three young choreographers. With further performances in October 2O21 and a guest performance at the Kurtheater Baden in early November, the Junior Ballett celebrates its twentieth anniversary.

Fri 22 Oct 2O21 Opernhaus Zürich
Sun 31 Oct 2O21Opernhaus Zürich

​​​​​​​Wed 3 Nov 2O21 Kurtheater Baden

«Being a part of the Junior Ballett for the past three seasons has enabled me to really discover who I am as a dancer. By working alongside inspiring dancers and world-renowned choreographers, I have really learnt and grown as an artist and as an individual – all of which are crucial parts of being a professional dancer. To have this experience and perform on the stage of the Opernhaus Zürich is truly a gift in itself which I am so grateful for.»

Matthew Bates

«The Junior Ballett is a place where I have grown immensely both as a dancer and as a person. I have made lasting friendships and created memories I’ll have for the rest of my life. This company gave me experiences I have dreamed about since graduating from school and prepared me for all the rewards and hardships in the next stages of my career.»

Isabelle Bratt

«Receiving a contract in Ballett Zürich’s Junior Ballett has meant a great deal to me and my career. It gave me an opportunity to work side by side with the company, getting my first taste of what company life felt like and showing me what was to be expected of me as an artist. It also gave me the chance to work first hand with great choreographers (Lee/Spuck/Thoss) on my Junior Ballett programme, with chances to perform roles that I wouldn’t get in the main company. Working in the Junior Ballet allowed me to be in the back of the studio covering many ballets, to learn and experience works from the best and when the opportunity came I could use that knowledge to improve and push myself. Nine years later I’m still in Ballett Zürich and it’s all thanks to the start I got in the Junior Ballett.»

Matthew Knight

«The Junior Ballett has helped me to go through the transition from my years as a student to being a professional. I could progress further when I needed to continue gathering valuable experience and knowledge. I think it gives young dancers the opportunity to reach and fulfill their own potential, and helps them to achieve their goals.»

Meiri Maeda

«Looking back now to when I joined the Junior Ballett, I realize how helpful it was to have a smooth transition from school to a ballet company. The Junior Ballett has given me the opportunity to work closely with many choreographers at a young age already and immerse myself more into the professional dancing environment. Thanks to the close work with the main company, I was able to learn from the more experienced dancers and to challenge myself every day as well.»

Luca Afflitto

152 dancers between 18 and 22 years of age from 36 different nations have joined the Junior Ballett over the past 2O years. With 19 different choreographers the have created numerous world premieres and danced together with the Ballett Zürich in a large number of productions.

Special: Short film Junior Ballett

Marta Andreitsiv, Luca D'Amato, Théo Just, George Susman and Daniela Thorne explain why they became dancers and what dancing and being on stage means to them.

Choreographers at Junior Ballett from 2OO1 to 2O21


Choreographies from Heinz Spoerli, Filipe Portugal, Otto Bubeníček, Hans van Manen and Nandita Shankardass


Choreographies by Douglas Lee, Christian Spuck and Stephan Thoss 

21 Nov 2O12


Stephan Thoss

Junior Ballett in Bellulus von Stephan Thoss


Douglas Lee

Madoka Kariya in Iris von Douglas Lee


Ben Van Cauwenbergh

Surimu Fukushi in Les Bourgeois von Ben Van Cauwenbergh


Choreographies by Eva Dewaele, Filipe Portugal, Christian Spuck, Ben Van Cauwenbergh and Itzik Galili 

17 Dez 2014


Eva Dewaele

Mackenzie Farquhar in Passing by von Eva Dewaele


Choreophies by Jiří Kylián, Benoît Favre, Filipe Portugal and Cayetano Soto

28 Mar 2O17


Benoît Favre

Dancers of the Junior Ballett in Disrupted by Benoît Favre


Goyo Montero

Emma Antrobus in Submerge by Goyo Montero


Choreographies by Goyo Montero, Louis Stiens and Filipe Portugal  

20 Oct 2O18


Louis Stiens

Junior Ballett in Wounded by Louis Stiens


Choreographies by Craig Davidson, Bryan Arias and Juliano Nunes  

27 Feb 2O21  


Craig Davidson

Marta Andreitsiv and Luca D'Amato in Entropy by Craig Davidson


Bryan Arias

Martina Renau and Achille De Groeve in Pure Coincidence by Bryan Arias


Juliano Nunes

Marta Andreitsiv, Luca D'Amato and the Junior Ballett in Union in Poetry by Juliano Nunes