Q&A With Albjon Gjorllaku
By Lidia Haderaj
July 10, 2023
Albjon Gjorllaku. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
Albjon Gjorllaku was born in London, England and trained at The Royal Ballet School in London. Albjon joined The National Ballet of Canada as an RBC Apprentice in 2019 and became a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2022. In 2023, he was a recipient of the Patron Award of Merit. As one of the newest members of the Corps, Albjon brings his skillful technique and dynamic stage presence to each production.
When did you first fall in love with dance and where does that passion come from?
When I was 10 years old I danced in The Royal Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. After seeing the art form up close, I understood how intriguing, difficult and meaningful it can be.
What roles challenged you the most last season?
Dancing Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet. Conveying the character's personality, building upon those feelings and developing them throughout the performances was very enjoyable. Understanding how to embody the character and adjust the way I interact with my fellow dancers (whether I’m dancing with Jack Bertinshaw or with Siphesihle November as my Mercutio), was both a challenge and a pleasure.
Artists of the Ballet in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Bruce Zinger.
What was it like to travel to New York City with the company?
A dream. Dancing Angels' Atlas in New York is an experience I will always cherish. Getting to travel with so many dear friends of mine at the company, explore the city and share the stage with them was an incredible reminder of how connected we are as dancers. Being able to bring these productions to different audiences is the absolute pinnacle of our work.
What are you most looking forward to as a dancer representative for donors?
Connecting with all the amazing people that support the National Ballet. Sharing laughs, sharing stories, getting to know each other and strengthening everyone’s connection to the company. The art form belongs to us all.
What are your goals for the 2023/24 season?
To push myself to keep improving.
To push myself artistically in the choreography and in terms of how I portray different characters, making that resonate with our audiences even more.
To push myself technically in the repertoire, focusing on dancing with more clarity and detail, and allowing that work to convey the intention and meaning of the ballet.
How has The National Ballet of Canada supported your artistic growth?
I’ve been able to dance so many roles that pushed me to grow and improve. Performing Alleged Dances by Rena Butler helped me strengthen my understanding of interpretation and detail as an individual dancer while learning to collaborate with a choreographer alongside the collective body of dancers. Romeo and Juliet helped improve my understanding of characterization and storytelling. These experiences have really helped me grow and improve as an artist.
Albjon Gjorllaku at Dance About. Photo by Bruce Zinger.
Outside of dance, what inspires you as a young person today?
I am particularly inspired by how many young people, particularly artists, use their work to raise awareness around various issues and bring them to the forefront of public conversations. Whether it be through their artistic endeavours or social platforms, it’s empowering to see a generation share their insights and challenge the issues so prevalent in our world today.
The short answer: young people trying to enact change and improve our society!
Learn more about Albjon