Benois de la Danse nominee

Maria Eihwald was born in Talgar/ Kazachstan on October 26, 1974. She studied at the National Ballet Academy of Alma-Ata, and after graduation joined the National Ballet of Kasachstan and was quickly promoted to soloist. Having German ancestors, she left Kazachstan in 1995 for Germany.

In September 1996 she joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munchen as a corps de ballet dancer but was promoted to soloist the following season. Already in her first season she danced Olga in John Cranko's Onegin, the 3rd movement in George Balanchine's Symphony in C. John Neumeier chose her as first cast of Olympia in his Lady of the Camellias, and she was also chosen as second cast for the title role. In 1998 she danced Nikija in the B-premiere of Patrice Bart's La BayadПre. In the same season she was Helena in Neumeier's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. In 1999 she was promoted to principal dancer. Since then she has danced many leading roles of the classical and modern repertoire, including Giselle, Juliette in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliette and Cinderella in John Neumeier's A Cinderella Story as well as one of the ballerinas in Leonid Jacobson's Pas de Quatre. Her modern repertoire includes choreographies William Forsythe, Balanchine and Lucinda Childs.

After dancing Madame Lescaut in Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, she appeared in the title role in January 2001. That same year she also danced her first Kitri in Don Quixote. New roles planned for 2002 are the title role in Raymonda and Kate in John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew.

She was awarded the special prize for the most promising young dancer by the Free State of Bavaria in 1998, followed in 1999 by the award Dancer of the Year by the popular Munich newspaper.

With her partner Alen Bottaini she danced as a guest ballеrina with the National Ballet of Kuba and they appeared at the Gala Les Etoiles du XXIe siecle in Paris.