Category: maria khoreva


Bolshoi’s “Swan Lake” – Svetlana Zakharova, Denis Rodkin, Artemy Belyakov.

Bolshoi’s “Sleeping Beauty” – Svetlana Zakharova, David Hallber, Maria Allash.

Mariinsky Theatre program

The Mariinsky Theatre has prepared a unique programme to mark World Theatre Day. Each day from 26 to 29 March will be broadcasting dazzling performances and glittering gala concerts: the grand opening of the Mariinsky-II featuring Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, Diana Vishneva, Ulyana Lopatkina and many other stars, the oratorio Ivan the Terrible with Alexei Petrenko and the symphonic tale Peter and the Wolf with Konstantin Khabensky as the respective Narrators, a performance by Alexandre Kantorow accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev and the ballet Konyok-Gorbunok (The Little Humpbacked Horse) with Alina Somova and Vladimir Shklyarov.

I’m putting together a list of online resources for ballet lovers. If you can think of any other links that should be on here, please let me know!

Ballet classes and exercises:

Watch ballet at home

Ballet Blogs

Maria Khoreva in Le Corsaire (Mariinsky Ballet, 2019)

Xander Parish, Anastasia Nuikina, Daria Ionova and Maria Khoreva in Apollo (Mariinsky Ballet, 2018)

Maria Khoreva as Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote (Mariinsky Ballet)


I’m wondering how Natasha Furman is studying in the Academy? I saw the posts on Instagram that she danced little Maria in the Nutcracker and it seems that teachers like her very much.

Have you seen clips of Natalie furman in the last nutcracker? Heard that she’s a promising young student, but she was prominent in the US/competitive ballet circuit so I wonder how she fairs at VBA

Natasha is, obviously, very young, and it’s too early to make any assessments or predictions. For now, she’s at VBA and she appears to be doing very well and enjoying herself. You can also follow her on YouTube for some extra videos from the Academy.

More on the weight topic. I saw in a video that one girl in Sharova’s 4th class was dismissed because of weight. Yet, there are a lot of girls in the upper classes, especially year 7 and 8, that don’t exactly have the slimmest bodies. However, Vaganova allows them to stay. Why is this?

Some of the older girls experience weight gain due to puberty, which tends to hit around the time of their final year. As this is a natural process, and not something the girls can control, the Academy tends to be more lenient, especially since the weight gained due to the onset of puberty tends to go away with time.

Thanks for posting the Bunkamura VBA video! I’m really excited about Anastasia Smirnova. Physically, she reminds me so much of Zakharova, with some Lopatkina tones as well. Of course, she will have her own dancing style. But she has a regal, mature quality to her that brings a lot of refinement to her dancing. She has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see it develop, I hope at Mariinsky as she’s perfect for that theater!

A lot of people think that she looks like Zakharova, and that’s a huge compliment. I’ve been watching Anastasia since she won the Diana Vishneva award at Vaganova Prix a few years back, and I hope she goes on to have an amazing career. She studies under Professor Kovaleva (who graduated Diana Vishneva and Olga Smirnova, among others), which is also very exciting.

Are the Vaganova teachers friendly toward one another, or are they competitive. For example, do you think that in 2015, Kovaleva was unhappy that Udalenkova’s student Shakirova was portrayed as the star of the class rather than her Nika or Anastasia Lukina? Is there a hierarchy of teachers, like the older ones get to make demands of the younger teachers like Kasenkova or Sitnikova?

Naturally, there’s a hierarchy of teachers at VBA. It’s impossible to say, as an outsider, but I imagine that there would be some healthy competition among the teachers. That being said, I don’t think senior professors like Udalenkova and Kovaleva would fight over their students. I also don’t think that Shakirova was necessarily presented as her year’s star. I remember the attention being pretty evenly spread between her and Lukina. 


What is behind the two doors at the back of the main Vaganova studio? One big room? Or two separate rooms? Or two connected rooms so that students can come out of one door and go in through the other? Or something else?

You can see the space in this video:

Why does Tsiskaridze not like Khoreva as much as Elya? Elya’s just as good, but doesn’t he see that Khoreva is a once in a generation talent? He only allowed her to debut as Masha in Nutcracker after Elya graduated, whereas he allowed Lizi and Anastasia to debut as Masha while Alexandra Khiteeva was still dancing it at Vaganova. And, in her graduating year, it was the 280th anniversary of the school, but he could’ve still let Maria dance Paquita instead of calling Elya back. She’d had her shot.

  1. I don’t think it’s fair to say that Tsiskaridze disliked Khoreva. Masha was Professor Kovaleva’s student, and Kovaleva is particular about how her students are represented publicly. Tsiskaridze was very vocal about how great Elya was (which she really was) and it did her no favours; he overexposed her.
  2. A student’s debut in a particular role is not determined by the rector alone. The student’s teacher has a lot of say in this. Plus, the student in question must typically audition to get the part.
  3. Elya was called back for a special performance, which brought together past VBA graduates, including Zakharova, Obraztsova and Smirnova; it wan’t a normal graduation performance.

What is happening with the Vladivostok school?

The short answer is: no one knows. No one on the outside, that is. The Vladivostok campus was handed over to BBA a few years ago and, curiously, Leonova’s interviews at the time suggested that the campus had always belonged to the Moscow academy. It’s been suggested that Tsiskaridze was forced to take on the Vladivostok campus, and had never really wanted it because it was a drain on VBA’s resources. Regardless of this, he had set the campus up and ran it successfully for over a year. It’s all rather bizarre. 

An interesting video of a masterclass with Tsiskaridze has just been uploaded to YouTube by Anya V. Do you have any more info about this class?

Tsiskaridze taught a master class for the 4th grade girls at VBA a few days ago. I believe that the class was part of the many conferences / educational events the Academy runs, and was open to the public (by “public” I mean ballet insiders, teachers and dancers). Thank you for the link, by the way. I have this recording in bits but not as a whole.

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I feel bad for Lizi that she had to pull out. I can’t help but see a striking resemblence between her and Maria Khoreva. They both dance with a similar style, although I don’t think Lizi is quite as stable as Masha. It must be so sad for Professor Kovaleva too, to have this happen to two of her best students in their year. Also, do you know why Tsiskaridze entered Lizi and not Anastasia Smirnova for the Vaganova prix? Does he prefer her?

If I’m honest, I don’t see the resemblance, but I am sad that Lizi couldn’t compete this year. Same thing happened to Khoreva in 2015 (or 2016?) and it was very disappointing. I don’t know if Tsiskaridze is the one who selects the students for Prix de Lausanne, though I’m sure he signs off on whether or not they go. I believe that students and their teachers have some say in whether they compete or not. It’s not a matter of preference.

To continue with the Lizi and Anastasia question, didn’t Lizi get to debut in the lead for Fairy Doll last year itself? If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Anastasia only get that chance this year? Why does Tsiskaridze seem to prefer Lizi? Is it because Anastasia didn’t place at the Moscow Ballet Competiton last year? Or could it be because Lizi is skinnier? I can’t help but feel like there is some sort of enemity, or at least frostiness, between the two. In the instagram photos, Lizi and Anastasia are only together in group photos, and I’ve yet to see any sort of direct interaction between the two of them. I get the impression that Anastasia is the bit more introverted and wise one, while Lizi is more of a girly girl and more like a typical teenager. I get the feeling she can also be a bit proud over her good looks.

Though he can definitely influence the process, casting decisions are not up to Tsiskaridze alone. It’s more complex than that. And I seriously doubt that casting is determined by how skinny a student is. If a student isn’t in good shape, they would likely struggle getting cast, but otherwise it’s down to who is right and / or ready for the role (and the student’s teacher has some say in this). As I write below, unless you’re actually living and training among the students or know them personally, I wouldn’t speculate about the nature of their relationships.

Is it common for there to be frostiness among the few top graduating students in Vaganova? Somehow I never sensed this from Masha Khoreva, Dasha Ionova, or Anastasia Nuikina. I did sense a bit between Bulanova, Khoreva, and Petukhova, however. I am just going off of what I see online, so this may not be true at all. This is my interpretation. Was there anything between Elya and Vlada in the 2017 class? Or between Maria and Alena in 2016?

It’s impossible to tell what the relationships between students are unless you’re living and working among them, so I’m not going to speculate. Those students and graduates who have spoken about their experience at VBA, tend to say that there is healthy competition among the students but generally everyone gets along ok.

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Maria Khoreva as Terpsichore in Apollo (Mariinsky Ballet, 2018)


Maria Ilyushkina as Princess Florine:

Maria Khoreva as Aurora (Vladimir Shklyarov):

Anastasia Nuykina, Anastasia Nikitina, Alexandra Khoteeva and Kumiko Ishii as the Jewell Fairires:

Maria Khoreva in Le Corsaire (Mariinsky Ballet)


Maria Khoreva as the Fairy Doll for Vaganova Ballet Academy