Federico Bonelli was born in Genoa where he trained locally before joining the Zürich Ballet in 1996. He later joined Dutch National Ballet where he was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer.
In 2003 he joined The Royal Ballet as a Principal Dancer and has since danced all of the classical ballets in the company’s repertoire as well as creating numerous roles in the works of many of today’s leading choreographers.
Federico shares some insight into his life and work, plus offers his advice for young dancers.
What are you working on at The Royal Ballet right now?
At the moment I am preparing for The Sleeping Beauty, which I will be dancing with my wife Hikaru Kobayashi; I'm also working on the revival of David Dawson's The Human Seasons.
Where do you feel most at home?
I’m Italian, my wife is Japanese and I’ve lived in Zurich, Amsterdam and now London. But I definitely feel at home in London, both as an artist and as a person.
Yumiko Takeshima was one of your dance partners. Do you ever wear Yumiko dancewear in rehearsals or class?
Yumiko and I danced together a lot in Amsterdam at the Dutch National Ballet. The first time I danced The Nutcracker Prince was with Yumiko! I think she was very patient with me... I was quite young and had a lot to learn!
I have many Yumiko tights, but my favorites are some of Yumiko’s first pieces. Special tights she gave me when she was experimenting with new design styles in Amsterdam. Those first tights were nothing fancy, just great quality with an exceptional fit. It was more than 15 years ago and I still wear them!
At the moment I’m also wearing Yumiko’s costume designs onstage in David Dawson’s The Human Seasons.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a dancer?
Isn't everybody a dancer? What else can you do for a living?
Any advice for young dancers?
This is a difficult profession - there will be hard work and likely frustration ahead. But if you are passionate about it, it will be worth it!