Misa Kuranaga Nominated for Prestigious ‘Benois de la Danse’ Award

by Mary Hierholzer

 Misa Kuranaga by Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet

Misa Kuranaga by Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet


This morning, Boston Ballet announced that Principal Dancer Misa Kuranaga has been nominated for the Benois de la Danse award for best female dancer for her 2016 performances as Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin and Medora in Ivan Liška’s Le Corsaire. For the festival, Ms. Kuranaga will travel to perform at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, May 30 and 31.

“I’m excited to be nominated for a Benois de la Danse award,” Kuranaga said in the Boston Ballet press release. “It is truly an honor to return and share the stage with some of my most talented peers for one of the highest honors in ballet. This will be my third time dancing on the Bolshoi Theatre stage. I performed there when I was a young dancer.”

Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo will serve as on the Jubilee Jury, a panel of seven Benois laureates. In 2010, Elo received the prize for best choreography for his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and for Slice to Sharp. Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Kathleen Breen Combes was nominated for the award in 2012, for her performances as Titiana in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Juliet in Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet.

“Being nominated for a Benois de la Danse award is an incredible honor for an artist,” Elo said in the press release. “It is considered the ‘Oscars of dance,’ and it is a privilege to serve on the jury as well. I received the prestigious award in 2010 for the best choreography. This year’s nominees represent some of the top talent from across the globe coming together to celebrate their incredible artistic accomplishments.”

Ms. Kuranaga has received critical acclaim for her performances with Boston Ballet, such as Odette/Odile in Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake and Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. Her prominence in the ballet world extends internationally—the jet-setting ballerina’s Instagram page is frequently filled with her travels in dance, having been invited to perform worldwide among some of the biggest names in ballet. Ms. Kuranaga fits right in—her dancing is consistently marked by excellent technique that distinguishes her as a top-tier ballerina.

Out of 13 dancers total—six women and four men—Ms. Kuranaga is one of only four nominated dancers who represent U.S. ballet companies. The list includes former Boston Ballet Principal Jeffrey Cirio, who is currently a Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theater. While at Boston Ballet, Mr. Cirio and Ms. Kuranaga frequently danced together as partners.

“We are very proud that Misa has received this recognition,” Boston Ballet Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen said the press release. “She works hard on every role with Boston Ballet and there’s no doubt she deserves it.”