The Berlin State Ballet has poached Nacho Duato from St Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theatre, one of Russia's oldest ballet and opera houses. The Spaniard, who was described at the announcement by Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit as "one of the most respected directors in the world of ballet", will take up his new post as artistic director in Berlin in 2014. Duato has been the artistic director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre since 2011 and will continue to contribute as a regular choreographer. The announcement comes just weeks after the Berlin State Ballet's current artistic director, Ukrainian-born Vladimir Malakhov, said he would not renew his contract because of a lack of support from the city's authorities.

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