Maria Chugai

Maria Chugai


Maria Chugai was born in Donetsk, in a family where both parents loved art and music. Directly after she saw The Nutcracker for the first time, she started ballet training at Vadim Pisarev’s Choreographic School at the age of five and was praised by the admission committee for her natural musicality and expressiveness. When Maria went to summer ballet camp in Norway, she was noticed by professor Irina Trofimova of the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, who suggested that she would audition for the Academy.

At the age of thirteen, Maria was then accepted to the fourth grade of the Vaganova Academy. While studying there, she participated in a joint performance of the Royal Ballet School and Vaganova Academy in London in 2004, dancing the Pas d’Esclave in Le Corsaire. At the age of seventeen, in pre-graduation class, she was chosen by Altynai Asylmuratova, the rector at the time, to dance the leading role in The Nutcracker – which was a rare and big responsibility for a student. After graduating with honours, she was offered a contract with the Mariinsky Ballet, where she was promoted to the rank of coryphée during her second season. Maria also won the second prize of the prestigious Vaganova-Prix Competition in 2006.

Her repertoire with the Mariinsky Ballet included solo roles in classics such as The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, as well as principal and solo roles in the Balanchine-repertoire including Serenade, The Four Temperaments, Diamonds, Theme and Variations, and roles in other works created for the company.

In 2009, Maria joined Dutch National Ballet, where she expanded her repertoire with roles such as Myrtha in Giselle, Queen of Dryads and Mercedes in Don Quixote, Clemence in Raymonda, Louise in Nutcracker & Mouse King, Olympia in La Dame aux Camélias and Zwaantje in Coppelia. She also performed multiple solo roles in the ballets of Balanchine, Van Manen, Van Schayk, Van Dantzig, Wheeldon, Ratmansky, Brandsen, Pastor and other world-leading choreographers.

Starting in 2016, she continued her academic journey at the Vaganova Academy with a bachelor's in Pedagogy and (currently) a master's in the same program.

In 2014 and 2015, Maria participated as a choreographer in New Moves.


With Dutch National Ballet since: 

Place of birth: 
Donetsk (then USSR, today Ukraine)

Career with Dutch National Ballet: 
grand sujet (2014), coryphée (2009)

Previously danced with: 
Mariinsky Ballet, the former Kirov Ballet (St Petersburg, Russia).

Graduated with honour at Vaganova Ballet Academy (St Petersburg, Russia), where in her final year she danced leading roles in The Nutcracker and La Bayadère; obtained her Bachelor’s degree as ballet master/teacher at the pedagogical faculty of the Vaganova Academy in 2020 and is currently following the Master's/PhD program.

2006: 2nd Prize in the International Ballet Competition Vaganova-Prix (St Petersburg, Russia)
2000: 2nd Prize in the International Ballet Competition Tallinn (Estonia), junior group