“The essence of all art is having pleasure
― Mikhail Baryshnikov
Denys Cherevychko, Principal Dancer of the Wiener Staatsballett, was born in the city of Donezk, Ukraine. At the age of 5, he showed interest in dancing while attending folk dance classes with his older sister. His enthusiasm, strong will and passionate energy, awarded him a place at the Ballet Academy of Vadim Pisarev the age of 6 (a year earlier than the acceptance age).
From a young age Denys was inspired by the well known Ukrainian dancer; Vadim Pisarev, as well as many other world class dancers of the time, brought to Donezk for the annual ‘World Ballet Stars International Festival’ , organised by Pisarev himself.
At the age of 11, Denys and his family were faced with difficulty and hardship, severely threatening Denys’ opportunity to continuing his training and education as a dancer. Thankfully, Iryna Pisarev (Director at the time, of the Ballet Academy of Vadim Pisarev), believed in Denys’ immense potential and passion and therefore awarded him a full scholarship to continue his training. Was it not for her generosity and belief, Denys would not be the great dancer he is today.
Denys Graduated in 2004 and shortly after won the Gold Medal in KIev and therefore awarded a two-year scholarship to the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation/Ballet Academy in Munich. Here, Denys was trained by Alexander Prokofiev who played an exceptionally influential role in his artist developement.
In 2006, Denys received his first professional contract with the Wiener Staatsballett. Very quickly, he was promoted to demi-soloist in 2007, soloist in 2009 and became a young Principal dancer in 2012. Since the start of his professional career, Denys has performed a wide variety of roles and gained knowledge and wisdom from many world class choreographers and dancers.
One of his first soloist roles, was the role of Alain in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal Gardee. This very light hearted and ‘English’ style Ballet, gave Denys the opportunity to reap knowledge and experience from the Royal Ballet’s Alexander Grant, on whom this role was created on and who mentored Denys through the rehearsal process.
Another legend Denys had the privilege to work with, French dancer and Choreographer Roland Petit. During Denys’ rehearsal process for ‘Die Fledermaus’. “It was such an honor to meet Roland during his time”
Denys always had one particular role, created by Roland Petit, which he dreamed to dance; Frederi in the love story of L'Arlésienne. Despite his desire to perform this Ballet, he was disappointed to never be casted or in rehearsals. However, the day before a performance,the dancer who was casted was seriously injured and Denys was handed recording and asked to learn the role for the following day. With no time to perfect the technical movement or to prepare the emotion and style of the character; Denys had the freedom to instinctively interpret the role as he always dreamed and envisioned himself doing. He still recalls this as one of his best performances. .
Another unplanned performance, was the Wiener Staatsballett’s premiere of Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty. This surprise came the morning of the Premiere and without knowing the choreography, Denys was supported and guided by Sir Peter Wright and the rest of the cast, through the Three Act Ballet.
One the contrary, one of the roles Denys has had most time to prepare for, perfect and perform, is the role of Basil in Don Quixote. This challenging role demands for strong virtuoso, technique and a fiery personality; precisely the reason for which Denys was casted to star in the Wiener Staatsballett premiere of Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote in 2011. With this role, he also had the ‘unforgettable’ opportunity to dance on the Paris Opera stage. Another unforgettable opportunity and incredible honour, was for Denys to perform with the legendary Alessandra Ferri, in Florence 2015. They performed The Young Man and Death (Le Jeune Homme et la Mort) - another intensely dramatic Ballet by Roland Petit.
Denys has also had the opportunity to perform and interpret John Neumeier Ballets. In particular, ‘Joseph’s Legende’, premiered in 2015 with the Wiener Staatsballett. Denys describes the experience of dancing Neumeier’s Ballets as “not just living the moment on stage, but actually being on stage and becoming someone else”.
Other honourable mentions in Denys’ repertoire includes dancing the role of Conrad in Manuel Legris’ ‘Le Corsaire’, James Ruben in La Sylphide and Prince Siegfried in Rudolf Nureyev's Swan Lake.