Classical ballet dancer and professional choreographer, Kyoto prize nominee, Valentina Turcu is one of the most highly regarded artists in Slovenia and neighboring countries. Her creations range from award-winning classical ballet performances to contemporary dance works as well as choreography and stage movement for operas, theatre plays and instrumental and dance concerts.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Valentina discovered her passion for theatre at an early age. She mastered the classical ballet technique with her parents, internationally renowned ballet artists. In search of further development, she was admitted to Béjart Ballet Lausanne and was tutored by Maurice Bejart. Her modern dance skills were developed at Rudra Béjart Academy, where she enriched her repertory and knowledge with many challenging roles.
After returning to Slovenia, the appearance in Edward Clug’s Tango established her as one of the most accomplished dancers in the region. Among her other notable appearances were in the international theatre production Silence of the Balkans on music by Goran Bregović, directed by Tomaž Pandur and choreographed by Edward Clug and Architecture of Silence that opened the Singapore Arts Festival in 2008. In October 2013, Turcu received Slovenian State Award for Outstanding achievement for directing and choreographing ballet Romeo and Juliet. For the Association of Ballet Artists of Slovenia, Turcu’s work is setting a new milestone in quality and expression of classical ballet today.
In 2016, Valentina Turcu created a whole new music concept, dramaturgy and choreography for Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin at the SNT Maribor. The production was highly prized and awarded by critics and public in Slovenia and abroad. Working in Germany, in April 2017 – she made for Augsburg Ballet a brand new exhilarant version of ballet Carmen.
For 2017 she is working on a brand new ballet production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni that will be created for Latvian National Ballet of Riga.
In 2018 she is creating Death in Venice by Thomas Mann – a world premiere for Croatian National Ballet in Zagreb.
Valentina’s most acclaimed choreographies until now are Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet created in November 2012 for the Ballet of Slovene National Theatre of Maribor, Latvian National Ballet of Riga 2014 and Metz Metropole Opera, France, in 2015. In April 2014, she designed the music concept, dramaturgy and staging of the novel Anna Karenina for the Croatian National Theatre’s Ballet in Zagreb. In August 2014, she created and co-choreographed a new ballet Dangerous Liaisons for the co-production of Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Ljubljana Festival and Slovene National Theatre Maribor.
Bizet/Schedrin’s Carmen was created in 2011 for the Ballet of Croatian National Theatre of Split, and was re-created with the great success in 2014 for the Slovene National Theatre of Maribor. Ravel´s Bolero, was also choreographed for the Ballet of CNT Split. It was performed in Istanbul, as a part of the performances marking the town’s European Capital of Culture 2010. Other notable choreographies include Brahms’ Hungarian dances and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Waltz for the SNT Maribor; Tarde, J. S. Bach’s Partita and Handel’s Lascia ch’io pianga were created for the Slovene International Ballet Galas 2011 and 2012.
In July 2012, Valentina was invited to make a choreography of a new piece for the Covent Garden Dance Company and to take a part in their programme International Stars of Ballet and Dance.
During the season 2011/2012 a very successful creation of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader enriched her directing experience. She worked with a soprano Allison Bell on exciting project Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg. Her choreographies for opera divertissements and stage movement for Lakmé, Carmen, La Bohème, Die Fledermaus, Les contes d’Hoffmann, My Fair Lady, Coronazione di Poppea were described as fresh and surprising, containing musical precision and a unique style. Using the technique of a pastiche she created a biographical play La Callas, a tribute to the legendary soprano, comprising opera and ballet in a visually enchanting setting to create a total work of art.
Turcu choreographed more then 40 theatre performances, including Christopher Hampton’s Dangerous Liaisons, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Henry IV, Molière’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, Cervantes’s Don Quixotte, Stoker’s Dracula, Ionesco’s La Cantatrice chauve, Les Rhinocéros, Andersen’s Snow Queen, Lorca’s Bodas de sangre, Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper, Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and Bulgakov’s Master and Marguerite.
Valentina received numerous awards, among them the bronze medal from the World Dancing Competition in Nagoya, Japan. Her choreography titled Rosemary was regarded as The most innovative choreography by the jury at the Slovene Ballet Dancers Competition in 2007.
In 2008, she was awarded for her work in the field of ballet, opera and drama by the Slovene Association of Ballet Artists. The jury specified: By mastering the dance-theatrical expressions and using in-depth interpretations, she reaches the highest level of stage maturity and awareness. She enriches our stages with her charismatic personality. Her body expression simply opens up new dimensions in the understanding of the art of dance.