Johan Kobborg (born 5 June 1972) is a Danish ballet dancer, choreographer, director and visual artist. He is most noted as a ballet dancer, having been a principal dancer with both the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London, as well as making guest appearances with other ballet companies. Following his departure from the Royal Ballet in 2013, he became the director of the Romanian National Ballet Company until 2016.
Johan Kobborg was born in Odense, Denmark into an artistic family; his mother is a former showgirl and actress and his brother is an actor. From a young age, he trained as a tenor, but left singing to take up dancing.
Kobborg began his professional training at the late age of 16, attending the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he was tutored in the Bournonville method of classical dance. He graduated in 1991.
After his graduation, Kobborg joined the Royal Danish Ballet and was promoted to the rank of principal dancer in 1994, following his debut in the role of James in La Sylphide. He joined the Royal Ballet in 1999, and has danced most of the leading parts in the repertory — among them, the Prince (The Nutcracker, Cinderella), Siegfried, Romeo, Onegin, Albrecht, Oberon, Rudolf, Des Grieux, Désiré and Prince Florimund. His guests appearances include dancing with the Mariinsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, La Scala Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Hamburg Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet and Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
One of the highlights of his career is his partnership with Romanian ballerina, Alina Cojocaru. The partnership began in 2001 after the two danced in Romeo and Juliet together after Cojocaru filled in for an injured Miyako Yoshida. Since then, Kobborg and Cojocaru's partnership has been named one of the greatest of all time and has even been compared to the partnership of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. They have danced together not just at Covent Garden, but also worldwide due to international popularity.
Despite media speculation that Kobborg would retire from the stage to replace Dame Monica Mason as Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet in 2012, it was later announced that Kevin O'Hare would be her successor. Kobborg previously declined an invitation to bid for the directorship of the Royal Danish Ballet, but in an article for the Daily Telegraph he stated that he would definitely accept such invitation to run the Royal Ballet. Since the announcement of O'Hare's appointment, press speculation about Kobborg's long-term future with the company has intensified.
In June 2013, he announced that he and Cojocaru would leave The Royal Ballet at the end of 2012/13 season. Their last performance in London was in Mayerling on 5 June, his 41st birthday, followed by scheduled performances on 10 and 12 July with the company in Tokyo. Following his departure from the Royal Ballet, in December 2013, Kobborg became the Artistic Director of the Romanian Nation Ballet Company in Bucharest, for which he was given a four-year contract. Cojocaru also joined the company as a principal dancer. However, in 2016, a management scandal ensued, which resulted in both Kobborg and Cojocaru resigning from the company. The two were then subsequently banned from the Bucharest National Opera House.
Kobborg has also been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Nureyev International Competition (Grand Prix 1994), USA International Competition, Jackson, USA (Grand Prix 1994) and the Erik Bruhn Competition (1993) and received a 2006 Laurence Olivier Award nomination for his production of La Sylphide.
Kobborg's performance as Albrecht in Giselle, alongside Alina Cojocaru as the title role was recorded in 2006 and aired in England on Boxing Day. It was released on DVD the following year.
Johan Kobborg – one of the most distinguished dancers of his generation. On completing his studies at the Royal Danish Ballet School in 1991, he joined the Company. Having made his debut in La Sylphide, he was promoted to principal soloist. Since 1999, he has been principal dancer with London‘s Royal Ballet. He has mounted several ballets by August Bournonville. La Sylphide, in his production, opened the 2005/06 season at Covent Garden. He has often danced in Bolshoi Theatre productions.