Natalia Makarova about Denis Matvienko: “This is Baryshnikov, Nureev and Godunov in one person. The ballet hasn’t seen such a phenomenon for a long time.”
Denis Matvienko was born in Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine). A third generation dancer, at 10, Denis entered Kiev State College of Choreography where he was studying until 1997.
At 17, being still a student at the Choreography College, Matvienko debuted on the stage of the National Opera of Ukraine playing prince Désiré in “Sleeping Beauty” ballet. In 1997 Denis won his first Grand Prix at the Fourth Intentional Ballet Contest in Luxemburg that kick-started his rapid and incredibly successful career.
In less than a year, Matvienko received another Grand Prix at the Third Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Competition in Budapest. The next year, a gold medal and Vaslav Nijinsky Prize at the Third International Competition of Classic and Contemporary Choreography in Nagoya (Japan).
In 2001, Matvienko received an invitation from the Mariinskiy Theatre (St Petersburg, Russia). As the leading soloist for one theatrical season he played the main roles in Don Quixote and Jewels, as well as premièred in Cinderella by Aleksei Ratmansky and The Prodigal Son by George Balanchine.
Starting from 2002 Matvienko was an invited as soloist at the New National Theatre (Tokio, Japan). In 2003 he came back to the National Opera of Ukraine as a premier.
In 2005 together with his wife Anastasia Matvienko, Denis decided to take part in the 10th Moscow Intentional Ballet and Choreography Competition and won Grand Prix there while Anastasia was awarded with a gold medal. Matvienko became the fourth Grand Prix winner in the history of the competition.
In 2007 Denis performed as a “Guest principal” in Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy) and Grand Opera (Paris, France). In 2007 Matvienko was invited as a premier in Mikhailovsky Theatre and in March 2009 — in Mariinskiy Theatre (St Petersburg, Russia).
In 2009, together with Nikolay Tsiskaridze, Marcelo Gomez, Ivan Vasiliev, Guillaume Côté, David Hallberg, Jose Manuel Carreño, Joaquin de Luz and Leonid Sarafanov, Matvienko took part in Kings of the Dance project.
Matvienko has achieved a lot as a classical dancer. Now he strives to master the contemporary choreography. That is why in 2010 Matvienko, together with Leonid Sarafanov decided to create a joint project — a modern ballet. To do this, they invited choreographer Edward Klug and composer Milko Lazar. The cooperation resulted in Quatro ballet. The same year the ballet was nominated for the most prestigious theatre award in Russia “Golden Mask” in four categories and eventually receiving “Golden Mask” in the “Best Actor” group.
In November 2011 Matvienko chaired the National Opera of Ukraine troupe. In one-and-a-half years in the post, he initiated six ballets and noticeably raised the overall level of the ballet troupe. Thanks to his work people started talking about the theatre. The National Opera of Ukraine became the leading theatre on the post-soviet territory, where the legendary Natalia Makarova staged her own edition of Bayaderka ballet. The theatre’s repertoire was enforced with Class-Concert, Radio and Juliet, and Quatro ballets. Radio and Juliet became the first contemporary ballet in theatre’s history.
Today Matvienko acts as a “Guest principal” in New National Theatre (Tokyo, Japan), The Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow, Russia), Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy), Grand Opera (Paris, France), American Ballet Theatre (New York, USA), Mariinskiy Theatre (St Petersburg, Russia) and others.
Matvienko is a prize-winner at “Dusha Tantsa” (The Soul of the Dance) in “Zvezda” (Star) category and a nominee for The Best Male Dancer by the UK National Dance Award critics cycle, and “Golden Mask”.
He is also an inspirer and organizer (together with Chulpan Khamatova's “Give a Life” fund and the Foundation of the Mikhailovsky Theatre) of the charitable ballet performances in support of children with leukemia. He is also winner of the “Person of the Year 2013” prize in the “Artist of the Year” nomination.
In December 2013, together with Konstantin Meladze, Dwight Rhoden and Alena Matvienko, Matvienko started working on The Great Gatsby ballet.