Ask Responses: Vaganova


@exist-encia: What do you think about Daria Ionova and her perpectives at Mariinsky?

I can’t make a prognosis. It’s almost impossible to predict how a graduate’s career will unfold once they join the company; there are too many variables. Ionova is a strong graduate, but she is one of a large group of strong graduates, joining a corps packed with other strong graduates from previous years. 

Do you think that a student’s academic success (or lack thereof) would have an impact on whether or not they were hired by one of the main Russian theatres?

I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Not anymore. In the past (Soviet period) academic success or failure could play a part what company a dancer ended up with. For example, if I remember correctly, Ekaterina Maximova failed her history final exam at BBA, which put her prospective career with the Bolshoi in jeopardy. The academy ended up changing her grade so she could join the company.

I think I remember seeing something a few months ago about a new documentary that was coming out about VBA/Tsiskaridze in conjunction with the Academy’s 280th jubilee. Has that been released yet? Thanks!

I don’t think it’s come out yet. We would’ve heard about it by now. Maybe they’re planning to release it toward the end of summer, near the start of a new academic year.

What would make a recent graduate choose the Bolshoi over the Mariinsky or vice versa? I read somewhere that the base salary for all corps de ballet dancers in Russia is the same regardless of company (not sure if that’s true) so what other factors would contribute to their decision?

The decision is different for each individual. Realistically, the Bolshoi offers more opportunities – it’s the country’s biggest company, with a massive repertoire. Plus, one shouldn’t underestimate the appeal of the brand: the Bolshoi is, arguably, the biggest global brand when it comes to classical ballet.

In terms of the base salary being the same for all theatres, I don’t think that’s right, though I don’t have a way of knowing for sure (this isn’t the sort of information that’s readily available to the outsiders). I think it’s safe to assume that a dancer in the Bolshoi’s corps de ballet would be paid more than their counterpart from a regional theatre.

An article I read two years ago (written by a Moscow-based corps dancer) states that the pay of a corps member depends on the number of performances they are involved in every month, although they get paid more for some productions than others.

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