19 October 2020

This season, our ballet ensemble has been joined by two soloists from Japan, Mao Fujita and Soyoka Iwata, and two soloists from Italy, Jody Bet and Francesco Pio De Benedictis.

Mao Fujita was born in Tokyo, and at the age of four had already begun dancing at a local ballet studio. She has won several awards. During her dance education at the Australian Ballet Company, she performed in various roles and productions such as Princess Florina in Sleeping Beauty, as well as in Who Cares? and in George Balanchine’s Serenades. She has also participated in the choreographies of Simon Dow, Margaret Wilson, Stephen Baynes, Mark Annear, Main Gielgud, and others. She is very excited to be joining the Rijeka Ballet in September 2020 and begin her professional career in the beautiful Croatia.

Also from Tokyo is Soyoka Iwata, a student at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She has performed in shows by Hans van Manen, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, Johan Inger, Medhi Walerski, and others. She joins our Ballet as an intern (Erasmus +) in the 2020/2021 season.

Jody Bet comes from Italy. As a member of the Junior Balletto di Toscana, he danced in the performances Romeo and Juliet by choreographer David Bombane, Bella Addormentata by choreographer Diego Tortelli, and in the choreography Months by Valerio Long. As a member of the Nuovo Balletto di Toscana, he danced in Cenerenoli, in Arianna Benedetti’s Pulcinella, uno di noi, and in Roberto Doveri’s Inner Ballad. Over the course of his dance career, he has had the opportunity to dance in Giovanni di Cicca’s choreography of the opera Aida produced by Teatro la Fenice in Venice, as well as in Alessio Maria Romano’s choreography for the opera Fernand Cortez produced by Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Italian dancer Francesco Pio De Benedictis performed in the show Carmen in Lecce. From 2015 to 2018, he was employed as a soloist at the Romanian National Theatre Oleg Danovski. After his first working experience at the national house, he signed a contract with Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Split, where as a demi-soloist he dances the classical, neoclassical and modern ballet repertoire in collaboration with choreographers such as Igor Kirov, Stephan Delattre, Douglas Lee, Daniel Cardos, Maša Kolar and Kristian Lever.