Ask Responses: Mariinsky


There seems to be such a huge difference between the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky companies. The former seems to be full of intrigue and drama, suffering from unstable leadership. The latter seems to be much more stable – or is it just because the behind the scenes turmoil isn’t made public?

Mariinsky has had its fair share of drama over the years, but they keep it all behind closed doors. The Bolshoi’s geopolitical locations (smack-bang in the middle of Moscow, next to the Kremlin) is a disadvantage when it comes to intrigue and drama. Things tend to spill out on to the streets pretty quickly. One could also argue (Tsiskairdze said this once too) that the St Petersburg folk are more reserved and polite and don’t thrive on scandal like the Muscovites do. 

Is the Mariinsky suffering from a drought of young talent? At the soloist level there are only 4 (female) dancers that I know of who graduated in the past 10 years: Anastasia Lukina, Renata Shakirova, Nadezda Batoeva and Kristina Shapran. A bit of a worrying phenomenon, isn’t it?

No, I don’t think so. 

While I’m unhappy with some of the current Mariinsky principals, there are a lot of incredibly talented dancers coming up through the ranks. Lukina and Shakirova are great examples and they only graduated in 2015. The fact that they are already second soloists is absolutely incredible. And the amount of amazing dancers they have in the corps right now (crème de la crème of Vaganova graduates) is also very promising. Dancers tend to progress through the Mariinsky ranks very slowly but that’s due to the company’s relatively (compared to the Bolshoi) modest size and repertoire. There are only so many spots. I will very optimistic about the Mariinsky’s future. I’ll feel even better if / when they hire Khoreva.

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