60 minutes with Marcin Kupinski

by Iben Maria Hammer

Marcin Kupinski, 34 years old and principal dancer at The Danish Royal Theatre since 2011 strikes me as a sensitive, beautiful and very sweet young man. This notion is confirmed when he tells about his interest in reading about psychology and philosophy and coaching others, wanting to give and help other people figuring out the psychology of a group.

“In the theatre I think it is important that everything comes from the heart, to be a good human being, not to hide or put on too many layers, because it will show on stage. Not just to please others, but to be yourself, to be honest to whom you are.”


The Talk and The Move. Marcin Kupinski i Barbara Í Gongini. Foto: The Art Markets


The hard work

Last time I saw Marcin Kupinski dance was at Giant Steps, where he danced in Infra by Wayne McGregor, a beautiful and very emotional piece, showing the fast changing life in a city, and the struggling feelings behind the cool surface of people in the street. “It was a challenging tempo with a little more of a punch and it took an extra effort, because we hadn’t created the steps, but had to reconstruct the ones, that were improvised by the dancers (at the Royal Ballet from London), the piece was created for”.

Marcin loves the hard work and the pressure though and doesn’t like to go on holiday. He likes to move and can’t sit still. “I miss the performances, being on stage, the challenge and the pressure to do it right”.

All the -in my eyes -scary stuff is apparently what he breathes for. Like how to cope or deal with a situation where something goes wrong or to find harmony and peace and not fall into panic under pressure.


To be a principal

Maybe that is what it takes to be a principal, because in the coming season he will be Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake (staged by Nicolaj Hübbe) and also have an important role in Etudes, a ballet by Harald Lander from 1947. “I was looking forward to the principal part in Giselle, but unfortunately it was cancelled”, he says, listing that he will be dancing in The Nutcracker and in the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux (Dance2Go).

Marcin, who was originally trained in the Russian style, will also be one of the two troubadours, namely Béranger, in Raymonda, a Russian piece that is not very common, and he will be performing in a new Nikolaj Hübbe ballet, Weimar that is also presented at Dance2Go.


Marcin Kupinski i Svanesøen. Foto: David Amzallag



Talking about performances that he enjoyed being in retrospectively, the expression avant-garde appears at least five times, and he explains that you actually might characterize him as being a kind of spiritual, curious and interested in experimental art.

Marcin mentions that he had the experience of dancing naked in a piece by the controversial performance group Signa, who was producing an experimental ballet at The Danish Royal Theatre. The group was invited by Corpus, an inner house group that started as a company in the company. “It was a liberating experience to be as you are, to bring harmony into it and not pay attention to others judging you. We were improvising and sort of loosing ourselves”.

Also he has made a little bit of choreography “bits and pieces here and there”, he says, like the avant-garde installation for Barbara I Gongini during Copenhagen Fashion Week. They were looking for dancers and for a choreographer and Marcin took on the task. It was a project for Olympus cameras, a dance commercial where he danced and improvised “The Talk and The Move” in a kind of ping pong with a live band, putting on the clothes little by little till he was fully dressed in the “Barbara I Gongini” mood.


Many interests

It’s said that ballet dancers die twice -the first time when they turn 40! But it doesn’t seem to be a big concern for Marcin who has a great many interests. Also for now he is enjoying every moment of being a principal dancer at The Royal Theatre.

“I enjoy practicing yoga, to coach and to teach a little bit outside the theatre, and would like to do more of that in the future”, he says, referring to the workshops, where he teaches intermediate and professionals, classical techniques. He likes underground music, alternative music, electronic music, jazz and singer- songwriters and rock music too. He has edited videos and made a trailer for a friend’s modern dance company, using Final Cut Pro on his MAC. The only sad thing he mentioned was losing the Ford Mustang he had, which was sort of his baby.


Marcin Kupinski i Don Quixote. Det Kgl. Teater, sæson 2015-2016. Foto: Costin Radu


Kupinski and Kupinski

Marcin has a brother, Dawid Kupinski, who is a principal at the Royal Swedish Ballet. They are two years apart, and Marcin says he learns a lot from his brother, Dawid, who has a lot of energy. They come from a bit of a crazy and artistic family with a talent for performing and entertaining. As kids he and his brother were into karate, when an audition came up at the local dance school. They both got accepted which turned out to be a bit of a sacrifice for the parents, because it takes a lot of commitment and devotion, and the boys weren’t home a lot.

Despite the many years in Copenhagen, Marcins Polish history and upgrowing in Rumia, Gdansk is of course still a part of him, and I immediately add him to my list of great Polish artist that I admire. Like the director of the film Ida, Marcin Wrona the creator of Demon, Kieslowski, the painter Zdzisław Beksiński and the composer Krzysztof Penderecki and many more that I should probably know of.



Barbara I Gongini




Troels Abrahamsen




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