Category: Kristina Shapran

Ask Responses: Mariinsky


How long did it take Lukina and Shakirova to be promoted?

I believe Shakirova was promoted coryphee and then to second soloist within one year of joining the company. She has now been promoted to first soloist. Lukina followed a similar path / timeframe but a bit slower pace because of an injury. 

Which Mariinsky primas are nearing retirement?

“Nearing retirement” is a pretty broad term. Some ballerinas dance well into their forties. Tereshkina and Kondaurova are the oldest / longest serving primas in the company. I’m not counting Vishneva because I feel that she has unofficially retired from classical ballet and will only dance contemporary / modern from now on (years ago, she said that this was indeed her intention after having children). Plus, she hasn’t performed with the company in a few years.

Why is May Nagahisa hated on so much? She really is an outstanding if very young dancer who still needs to develop (as do so many others) and totally deserved the promotion in my opinion. Her sylph was etheral!

She’s an outsider. She’s a foreigner who didn’t train in Russia and she joined the company via traineeship, which is not a very common career path in Russia. Any dancer who progresses through the ranks quickly receives some form of backlash, but an outsider like May would be judged even more harshly.

Could you please tell me why mariinsky is more famous than Mikhailovsky? Ty

The Mariinsky was founded in 1783. It was Russia’s Imperial Theatre – the heart of Russian ballet. This is where “Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake” (in the incarnation we know and love today) and “The Nutcracker” were born, and the greatest Russian ballet dancers performed. Mikhailovsky was founded a bit later, in 1833. Correct me if I’m wrong, by I think that it served as a stage for foreign companies until the revolution, and the actual Mikhailovsky company wasn’t formed until 1918. So culturally and historically, the Mariinsky is older and more significant. 

I think we can all unanimously agree that Khoreva’s gonna be the next Mariinsky principal, can’t we?

Well, no. While she’s likely to be promoted to that rank at some point in the future, I think some ballerinas (like Novikova and Shakirova) will get there first. So technically she won’t be “the next”.

What happens when in the next few years most of the current Mariinsky primas retire? As the Mariinsky is slow in promoting they’d have to promote a bunch of dancers like Khoreva, Lukina, Shakirova… and I don’t see that happening.

I think they’re slowly lining up the new generation of primas, though it will be years before the changeover fully takes place. They have some tremendously talented dancers in the corps and more are joining every year. I’m actually not nearly as concerned about the future of the company as I used to be.

From an instastory picture of a Mariinsky Nov. 21st Giselle program, I saw that Vlada Borodulina (Peasant Pas/Moyna debut) had “первое выступление лауреат международного конкурса” next to her name. I know the first part is ‘First Performance’ but wasn’t sure what the last part meant. It sounded like she won a competition? But I wasn’t sure. Curious if you had any clue. Thanks!

“первое выступление” means “first performance; “лауреат международного конкурса" mean “Laureate (award winner) of an international competition”.

Could Shapran be the next Mariinsky principal?

Your guess is as good as mine. My gut feeling is that Novikova will be promoted ahead of her.

Zolotykh is dancing, however she seems to have become one of those dancers who is strictly a corps dancer. She occasionally will perform one of the three Goldfish in ’(I forgot whichever Opera it is)’.

That makes me sad. I hope she progressed beyond those roles. I’ve been really rooting for her since her injury.

Mariinsky’s website says they will be performing ‘Fairy Doll’ in the spring– though nothing to indicate it is a VBA performance, like there normally is. This would be the first time the actual company has performed it in years. Since it was revived by VBA, and so many of those students who revived it are now in the company, do you think we’ll see those students perform those roles i.e, Khoreva=Fairy Doll, Borodulina=Spanish, Ionova=Chinese, etc, or will MT bring a whole new cast?

They haven’t announced the cast yet, but I actually think it will be performed by Vaganova Academy students.

d i s c l a i m e r

Kristina Shapran and Yuri Smekalov in Adagio H…

Kristina Shapran and Yuri Smekalov in Adagio Hammerklavier (Mariinsky Ballet)

tsiskaridze: My latest translation – this time…


My latest translation – this time of an interview Maria Khoreva gave to La Personne last month – is up at

“The Mariinsky is my home. I am from St Petersburg, my family lives here, I have been dancing on this stage for so many years now, and I know the theatre so well… Even though, on the other hand, I hardly know it at all. Nonetheless, it feels like home. By the end of my senior year at the academy I had somehow ended up with no fewer than eight job offers from different companies. I did not waver though. I had to go to the Mariinsky, and once I started rehearsing, I immediately realised that I belong here. I enjoy the repertoire – [Mariinsky] is the cradle of Russia’s ballet traditions.” – Maria Khoreva

Photos by Ira Yakovleva

d i s c l a i m e r 

Kristina Shapran as Medora, and Alexei Popov a…

Kristina Shapran as Medora, and Alexei Popov as Lankendem, in Le Corsaire (Mariinsky Ballet)

Xander Parish and Kristina Shapran in Diamonds…

Xander Parish and Kristina Shapran in Diamonds (Mariinsky Ballet)

Kristina Shapran in Diamonds (Mariinsky Ballet…

Kristina Shapran in Diamonds (Mariinsky Ballet)

Kristina Shapran as Shireen in The Legend of L…

Kristina Shapran as Shireen in The Legend of Love (Mariinsky Ballet)

Kristina Shapran as Giselle in Giselle (Mariin…

Kristina Shapran as Giselle in Giselle (Mariinsky Ballet)

Kristina Shapran and Xander Parish in Diamonds…

Kristina Shapran and Xander Parish in Diamonds.

Xander Parish as Albrecht, and Kristina Shapra…

Xander Parish as Albrecht, and Kristina Shapran as Giselle, rehearsing Giselle (Mariinsky Ballet, 2016)