Guadalajara ballet star Isaac Hernandez has picked up one of the most prestigious awards the dance genre has to offer: the Prix Benois de la Danse.
Hernandez was named Best Danseur of 2018 at a ceremony held in the majestic Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on June 5. The awards, founded in 1991 by the International Dance Association, are judged by a panel of prominent ballet professionals. The Prix Benois prizes are sometimes called the "Oscars” of ballet.
The 27-year-old was garlanded for his exceptional performances in “La Sylphide” with the English National Ballet, and “Don Quijote” with the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, in which he was directed by legendary dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Hernandez joined the English National Ballet in 2015 as a lead principal, having previously been with San Francisco Ballet and a principal with Dutch National Ballet.
Hernandez quickly showed his delight in winning the prestigious prize, posting images of himself on social media holding his statue outside the iconic Russian theater.
The next day, dozens of accolades started to pour in, including one from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “Many congratulations for this important recognition of your talent and trajectory,” he tweeted.
In a message on his Facebook account, Hernandez dedicated his prize to “the Mexican people who have always supported me” and all those who “believed in me and pushed me to become a better person and professional.”
According to several sources, the Prix Benois de la Danse carries $US1 million in prize money, split across six categories.
One of 11 siblings, Hernandez began his dance career as a seven-year-old in the yard of his modest Guadalajara home, under the tuition of his father, a former dancer. After winning numerous awards a child, he enrolled in Philadelphia's The Rock School for Dance Education, before starting his illustrious professional career.
Hernandez’s next appearance in Mexico will be a reprise of his spectacular show, “Despertares,” at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City on August 25. This show features pieces from some of world’s most famous classic and contemporary ballets, performed by stellar international invitees, with Hernandez taking center stage.