2015 Kyoto Prize nominee VALENTINA TURCU is an outstanding dance artist and choreographer. Her creative oeuvre is comprised of over 130 ballet, theatre and opera productions and her ballets are guesting around the World.

Valentina Turcu’s works are described by critics as sensational emotional experiences, visionary ideas, unique sensual poetry, her sense of theater subtle and strong, fresh, innovative and surprising. Intense expression with statement, precision and unique style in her high aesthetics choreographic writings. She found an inexhaustible source of choreographic inspiration in various grand narratives of our times.

Due to her proverbial and musical perfectionism, strong impact and integrity she successfully can be justifiably admired as a prolific artist that has reinvented the great genre of drama ballet to the greatest degree. Her ethical cosmopolitanism with utmost conviction represents the deepest psychological states and the eternal dilemmas of human civilization.

The Croatian-born artist is trained in classical ballet, and has studied and danced with the great master Maurice Béjart. She has choreographed various productions – from the classical narrative to the avant-garde, from large-scale productions to individual choreographed pieces for gala concerts and directed few theatrical classic plays. Carmen, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Peer Gynt, Master and Margarita, Anna Karenina, Dangerous Liaisons, La Bohéme, The Tempest, Death in Venice, Bodas de Sangre, A Streetcar Named Desire, Eugen Onegin, Don Juan, La Dame aux Camellias are just some of the stand out productions from her extensive body of work.

She creates not only as a choreographer, but also as a director, dramaturge or author of a musical concept earning her numerous awards. Among them the bronze medal from the World Dancing Competition 2002 in Nagoya, Japan, The Most Innovative Choreography in Slovene Dance Competition 2007. In 2008, she was awarded for her work in the field of ballet, opera and drama by the Slovene Association of Ballet Artists. The jury specified: By mastering the dance-theatrical expressions and using in-depth interpretations, she reaches the highest level of stage maturity and awareness. She enriches our stages with her charismatic personality. Her body expression simply opens up new dimensions in the understanding of the art of dance.

Turcu is receipt of the Slovenian State Award for her outstanding achievement as a director and choreographer for the 2012 production of Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, which also has been played with a great success in Riga 2014 and Vilnius 2015, ballet Eugene Onegin, performed at the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor in 2016, is a recipient of the Glazer Award 2017 and was acclaimed as one of the five best premieres in Europe in 2016, by Dance Europe magazine.

In recent years, Valentina Turcu has collaborated with the Theatre Augsburg in Germany, Latvian National Ballet, National Ballet Brno, the Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole in France, the Croatian National Theatre in Split and the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Other collaborations include with the Festival Ljubljana and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival – the latter of which her works received the prestigious Orlando Award 2016.

Declared as creator of a new milestone in the quality and expression of classical ballet today. Turcu is winner of PREŠEREN FUND Award 2018, highest noblest recognition for artists in Slovenia. Her prominent creation of the ballet spectacle – Death in Venice, was declared as – best productions in 2018 by Dance Europe Magazine in London. She got highest Croatian Actors Award as best choreographer and the performance is prized as best ballet production in Croatia 2019. In 2020 she created a brand new creation – La Dame aux Camellias for National Ballet Brno in famous Janaček Theater with tremendous success. Next season will be continuing creating dramatic ballet on famous literature piece – in Croatian National Theater in Zagreb.


ROMEO AND JULIET – Dance Europe Magazine, January 2013
“Female ballet choreographers are still in short supply, but I suspect it won’t be long before Valentina Turcu’s name is more widely known on the strength of this, her first full evening ballet. She has created Romeo and Juliet that is bursting with passion. While signposting every dramatic turn and giving depth to each character, Turcu moves the action forward at a breath-taking pace. The balcony scene pas de deux is one of pure ecstasy. Valentina Turcu has used her innate theatrical instincts and considerable theatre experience throughout. Choreography is firmly built on the classical vocabulary, but used with flexibility and inventiveness to enhance the characterizations. Each scene is given its rightful place and meaning. In the midst of the high passion and the awesome dance there are moments of quiet drama that anchor the ballet. Energy and passion generated by the performers left an audience exhausted and exhilarated.”
Maggie Foyer

YEVGENY ONEGIN – Dance Europe Magazine, January 2017
“It takes a person of integrity and courage to present a brand new version of Onegin, given the general consensus that John Cranko’s iconic classic is the final word on the subject. The Ballet of the Slovene National Theatre in Maribor has this in Valentina Turcu…she already has 125 productions under her belt as choreographer and director, not just in ballet and contemporary dance, but in theatre, music and opera, too. It is also clear that her great love of literature has had an immense impact on how she translates the written word into movement. Her attention to detail, particularly in drawing the characters, is astute and she has managed to create a production in which both the storytelling and the choreography are as one. There wasn’t a dancer on stage who didn’t believe in what they were portraying and this must be down to Turcu’s commitment and her ability to instil this vital element into her dancers. This is homage to Pushkin and a triumph for The Ballet of the Slovene National Theatre.”
Deborah Weiss

CARMEN – Dance Europe Magazine, July 2017
“The performance begins with full on, no-holds-barred Carmen. In fact, choreography demanded a high level of proficiency from everyone, so it was refreshing to see the entire ensemble attacking their steps without any sign of inhibition or caution, while establishing and maintaining their roles throughout. Carmen displaying astonishing classical technique with fabulous line and extension as well… Don José was particularly impressive, not just through his virtuoso ability but by his heart felt poignancy toward his leading lady. For the music, Turcu chose Rodin Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite, which ebbs and flows nicely in speed and temperament, allowing the choreographer to be punctilious, yet able to capture the full realization of the tragedy without going into overtime. A simple stage design and fetching costumes assisted in making this very watchable and entertaining performance, which suited a company of accomplished dancers very well.”
Alison Kent

DEATH IN VENICE – Dance Europe Magazine, August 2018
“What stands out most is Turcu’s profound understanding of Thomas Mann’s text; her research and subsequent staging reach far beyond a simple recounting of the story, and by delicately adhering to the underlying nuances, she delivers a powerful statement that emphasizes the author’s original intention about passion as doubt and degradation. Production is sleek and elegant, beautifully lit throughout and captures the very essence of Mann’s words. Turcu has set the cast virtuoso sequences containing spectacular lifts that they deliver convincingly, always remaining in character. Valentina Turcu can boast well over a hundred and twenty productions to date, and Death in Venice reinforces how her love of great literature and her attention to the minutiae has transformed the written word into a remarkable piece of dance.”
Alison Kent


1999 Slovene Ballet Artists Association award for best dance production – Tango.
2002 Bronze medal at the World Dance Competition in Nagoya, Japan.
2007 TEMSIG award for the most innovative choreography – Rosemary.
2008 Slovene Ballet Artists Association award for her work in the field of ballet, opera and drama. The jury specified: “By mastering the dance-theatrical expressions and using in-depth interpretations, she reaches the highest level of stage maturity and awareness. She enriches our stages with her charismatic personality. Her body expression simply opens up new dimensions in the understanding of the art of dance.”
2013 Prestigious “Pia in Pino Mlakar Award” for outstanding achievement for directing and choreographing ballet Romeo and Juliet. Declared as a creator of a new milestone in the quality and expression of classical ballet today.
2015 Kyoto Prize nominee in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences as “an innovator in the dance theatre who connects artist’s dedication and humbleness through an original, unique approach in amalgamating classics and contemporary, pulling down the borders between the written word and movement, and sending a profound message to humanity.”
2015 Romeo and Juliet – winner of the Latvijas Annual Award 2015 for the best production
2016 Special Orlando Prize in Dubrovnik Summer Festival for top quality achievements in dance
2017 Glazer Charter winner for her brand new ballet creation Yevgeny Onegin
2018 The Prešeren Foundation Prize winner for the drama ballet Yevgeny Onegin and her unique artistry, choreographic mastery and excellence.
2019 Croatian Actor Awards 2019 for best choreography and best ballet production – Death in Venice – her latest choreographic novelty after Thomas Mann’s iconic novella featuring symphonic oeuvre by Gustav Mahler.