Herman Cornejo was born in Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina and began his ballet studies at the age of eight at the Instituto Superior de Arte at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. In 1995 when he was fourteen he received a scholarship from the School of American Ballet, the dance school of New York City Ballet. On his return to Buenos Aires he was invited to join Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino.
At the age of 16, Cornejo was the Gold Medal winner of the VIII International Dance Competition in Moscow (1997), the youngest dancer ever in the history of the competition. Upon his return from Moscow Cornejo was then promoted to principal dancer with Ballet Argentino, alternating with Julio Bocca in all the principal roles in the repertoire during the company’s worldwide tours. In 1999 he joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet, was promoted to Soloist in August 2000 and to Principal Dancer in August 2003.
His roles with the Company include Solor and the Bronze Idol in La Bayadère, the Red Cowboy in Billy the Kid, Pyotr in The Bright Stream, the fourth movement in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, the Jester in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Franz in Coppélia, Conrad, Ali, Lankendem and Birbanto in Le Corsaire, It Was Spring in Dim Lustre, Basilio and the lead gypsy in Don Quixote, Puck in The Dream, the first sailor in Fancy Free, Colas and Alain in La Fille mal gardée, Ivan in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, the Peruvian in Gaîté Parisienne, Albrecht and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, The Profiteer in The Green Table, The Man in HereAfter (Heaven), the Joker in Jeu de Cartes, Lescaut in Manon, the Lead Pontevedrian Dancer and the Maitre D’ in The Merry Widow, the Nutcracker-Prince and the Cavalier in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, the Nutcracker-Prince in Alexei Ratmansky’sThe Nutcracker, Cassio in Othello, Petrouchka in Petrouchka, the Piper in The Pied Piper, the Son in Prodigal Son, Abderakman and Bernard in Raymonda, Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Désiré and the Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose, Prince Siegfried, Benno and the Neapolitan dance in Swan Lake, James and Gurn in La Sylphide, Aminta and Eros in Sylvia, the third movement in Symphony in C, Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew, The Boy in Whipped Cream, Le Grand Pas de Deux, Sinatra Suite, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Theme and Variations and roles in Amazed in Burning Dreams, Ballo della Regina, Baroque Game, Black Tuesday, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Brief Fling, Clear, Company B, Diversion of Angels, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Gong, In The Upper Room, Jabula, Marimba, Mozartiana, Overgrown Path, Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, and workwithinwork.
Cornejo created the role of Fortune in HereAfter, Rabbit in Rabbit and Rogue and Caliban in The Tempest, and leading roles in The Brahms-Haydn Variations, C. to C. (Close to Chuck), Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, Glow - Stop, Pretty Good Year, Serenade after Plato's Symposium, Seven Sonatas, Symphony #9 and I Dig Love in Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.
Cornejo is also a principal dancer of Corella Ballet Castilla y León in Spain and made his debut with the company in September 2008 at Teatro Real de Madrid. His repertoire with Corella includes Solor in La Bayadère, Siegfried in Swan Lake, Henry in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII, the second couple in Wheeldon’s DGV, and the third movement in Angel Corella’s String Sextet. He has made numerous guest appearances around the world including performing as a principal guest dancer with Ballet del Teatro Argentino de La Plata, Compañia de Danza Comtemporánea de Cuba, Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet and Sapporo Ballet.
As a young dancer, Cornejo was a first prize winner at several major competitions in South America. Other awards and citations include the 2000 Peace Messenger prize from UNESCO, the 2005 nomination for best dancer for the Benois de la Danse, in 2010 the Mr. Expressivity prize at the 9th International Ballet Festival “Dance Open” in St. Petersburg, where he performed his first work of choreography, Tango y yo, with the music Fuga y Misterio by Astor Piazzolla and, in 2013, a Bessie Award for outstanding performer.
Mr. Cornejo's performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Sheila Grant.