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Born in Verona in 1961, where he began his studies of classical dance.
In 1981 he decided to complete his training in Cannes at the Center de Danse International in Rosella Hightower.
In 1982 he obtained the first contract with Basler Ballett, directed by Heinz Spoerli. Here he dances works by Balanchine, Van Manen, Robert North, John Cranko, Ulysses Dove and Heinz Spoerli.
In 1985 he was called to the Stuttgart Ballet where he lives an intense and successful career, dancing and performing all over the world in the works of John Cranko, Maurice Béjárt, Jiri Kylián, Mats Ek, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Azary Plisetsky, Glen Tetley, and Kenneth MacMillan. In 1993, after having created numerous choreography for the company and abroad, he was nominated "Resident Choreographer" by Marcia Haydée, Director of the Company.
In the same year, he began his collaboration with the Wiener Staatsoper Ballett, which led him to the appointment of Director of the Ball, a role he held from September 1995 to August 2005. In 2001 he also took on the role of artistic director of the Dance Academy of the same Institution.

From 2009 to 2012 he was Artistic Director for the Dance of the International Festival of the Aegean (Syros) position that he left to devote himself entirely to the National Greek Opera Ballet that he directed from 2011 to July 2015. In 2013 he returns to his hometown as Director of the dance corps, position that will occupy until December 2015.
His choreographies have been interpreted by great international artists such as: Carla Fracci, Marcia Haydée, Eleonora Abbagnato, Dorothée Gilbert, Myrna Kamara, Simona Noja, Polina Semionova, Olga Esina, Shoko Nakamura, Richard Cragun, Egon Madsen, Roberto Bolle, Vladimir Malakhov , Manuel Legris, Nicholas Le Riche, Giuseppe Picone, Alessio Carbone, Mario Marozzi, Alessandro Molin and many others.

In his long career as a choreographer he has worked alongside world-renowned directors including: David Pountney, Franco Zeffirelli, Hans Neuenfels, Roberto De Simone, Götz Friedrich, Jurgen Flimm, Denis Krief, Nicola Joel, Günter Krämer, Mario Pontiggia, Pier Luigi Pizzi and Nicola Raab.
Among his directors we count: "Cosi fan tutte" in 2009, "Carmen" in 2010 "La Traviata" in 2011, "Faust" in 2012, "I Vespri Siciliani". In 2014 "The Marry Widow" and in 2015 Cavalleria Rusticana.
Among his works there are also thirteen choreographies for the Vienna New Year's Concert, if we include the 2017, with the Wiener Philharmoniker, broadcast worldwide by the ORF and ten appointments at the traditional Opera Ball at the Vienna State Opera.
In 1995 the magazine "Danza & Danza" awarded him the prize as "Best Italian Choreographer abroad" and in 2001 the award as "Best Artistic Director". In 2000 he was awarded the "Gino Tani International Prize" in Rome for his choreographic merits. In 2001 he was also awarded by the city of St. Pölten (Austria) with the "Jakob Prandtauer-Preis", while in 2007, still the magazine "Danza & Danza", he awarded him the "Best Italian production" award for Peer Gynt at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome and in 2015 The Capri Dance International Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In 2001 the Austrian Republic honored Renato Zanella with the Cross of Honor for Science and Art for her work at the Wiener Staatsoper and for her social commitment. In 2012 to honor his career, he was awarded the title of "Professor" by the President of the Republic of Austria.

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