18 Jan 2024
Prize Winner at the Prix de Lausanne in 1980, her performances with the greatest choreographers and ballet companies globally have rightfully earned her the title of “prima ballerina assoluta”, a testament to her artistry, talent and dedication. The Prix de Lausanne is thrilled to hand her the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award for her fantastic career.
The Lifetime Award Achievement Ceremony will be held during the Finals’ interlude, on Saturday 3 February.
The competition is live-streamed! If you can’t attend the event in person, enjoy several hours of live-streaming every day on our website, as well as on our Facebook page and Youtube channel.
Described by the New York Times as “one of the greatest dramatic dancers of all time”, Alessandra Ferri was born in Milan in 1963. She trained first at the Teatro alla Scala and consequently at the Royal Ballet School, representing the school at the Prix de Lausanne in 1980, where she became a Prize Winner. She then joined the Royal Ballet, becoming a Principal Dancer at 19 years old.
From the very start of her career, Alessandra was entrusted with the greatest roles in the ballet repertoire, which she performed with an expressive power that was quickly recognized internationally. She worked with many iconic figures, including Sir Kenneth MacMillan, who created new ballets for her, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who offered her the chance to join the American Ballet Theater as a principal dancer at the age of 22, and with whom she shared the stage. Some of her dance partners included Wayne Eagling, David Wall, Anthony Dowell, Rudolf Nureyev, and Julio Bocca. In 1989, Alessandra also began a long artistic collaboration with Roland Petit, dancing in his ballets all over the world.
In 1992, Alessandra became a permanent guest artist at Teatro alla Scala. The famous Milanese theatre named her Prima Ballerina Assoluta, the historic title created by Marius Petipa in 1894.
Between 2008 and 2014, Alessandra directed the dance section of the Spoleto Festival. More recently, Wayne McGregor created for her the role of Virginia Woolf in Woolf Works, and Martha Clarke the role of Lea in Cheri. She has also intensified her long-standing collaboration with John Neumeier, who created Duse for her in 2016. She also produced and danced her own productions, noticeably Maurice Béjart’s L’Heure Exquise, in which she plays Beckettian heroine Winnie.
In recent years, Alessandra has also devoted herself passionately to coaching Principal dancers. In 2023, she has been appointed next director of the Vienna State Ballet. Alessandra is a winner of two Laurence Olivier Awards, the Prix Benois de la Danse, and she was honoured with the title of Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana by President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 2006.