Joined Ballet Arizona: 2003
Training: Jordan Misja Choreographic Ballet School of Albania, Baku Choreographic University of Azerbaijan, School of American Ballet
Other Companies: Azerbaijan Opera Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre
Ilir’s early exposure to Albanian folk dancing led him to ballet lessons at age 11 at the Jordan Misja National Ballet School of Albania. He graduated from the Baku Choreographic University of Azerbaijan, and then joined Azerbaijan Opera Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer. Ilir came to the United States in 1999 and after studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City, he joined Carolina Ballet as a soloist. There he danced in The Firebird, Coppélia, Carmina Burana, and Balanchine’s Who Cares?. Ilir joined Oregon Ballet Theatre for the 2007-2008 season, performing as a principal in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Christopher Stowell’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and James Kudelka’s Almost Mozart. He was also featured in Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, which he reprised at the Kennedy Center in June 2008. Since joining Ballet Arizona in 2003, Ilir has appeared as a principal in many of Ib Andersen’s original ballets; Play, Topia, Mosaik, Don Q, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ilir has also performed principal parts in George Balanchine’s Violin Concerto, Divertimento No. 15, Serenade, The Four Temperaments, Agon, La Valse, and Walpurgisnacht. Other ballets in Ilir’s repertory as principal dancer with Ballet Arizona include Paquita, La Sylphide, Off Screen from Alejandro Cerrudo and Jerome Robins’ In the Night. In his spare time Ilir enjoys exploring new restaurants with his beautiful wife, Sarah, teaching and coaching ballet and lots of outdoor activities.