“We danced our first Romeo & Juliet in February 2001, and that was it,” says Johan Kobborg of his on and off stage partner, Alina Cojocaru, both Principal dancers with the Royal Ballet. “I never looked back,” he adds. Cojocaru stepped in on that fateful evening as a last minute replacement for an injured colleague and over the past two weeks at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the golden couple have recreated their special moment in Kenneth MacMillan’s modern masterpiece about Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” says Kobborg.
But there is a fundamental fact in the life of Kobborg, 37, and Cojocaru, 28, reared in Bucharest in Ceausescu’s Romania, that for most of us would seem at best unwise, at worst, madness. They live and work together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 months of the year. How do they cope when the only obvious way out of a stressful domestic is the imposition of a severe shaking of your other half? Needless to say, Danish born Kobborg’s answer is Nordic cool. “When you do the same job, in a way it gives you more tolerance, it makes you more understanding.” Cojocaru continues, “I’m a perfectionist and sometimes in rehearsal I get very frustrated, and take it out on the pianist, the teachers and Johan. I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. I don’t try to be perfect every day.”