Category: Nikolai Tsiskaridze

tsiskaridze: Nikolai Tsiskaridze has been awar…

tsiskaridze:

Nikolai Tsiskaridze has been awarded a Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation badge for contribution to Russian culture. This is the first government award Tsiskaridze has received since taking over the management of Vaganova Ballet Academy in 2013.

The award was established by the Minister of Culture in 2012 and serves to honour the people who have made a significant contribution to the development of Russian culture, art, cinematography, historical and cultural heritage and archives. In order to qualify for the award, one must have worked in the relevant cultural sphere for at least 15 years and had previously been marked by departmental awards of the Ministry.

Ask Responses: Vaganova

tsiskaridze:

I know you mentioned VBA overexposed Elya, but it seems that an absurd amount of people are angry at her? She was superior both technically and artistically at the time of graduation, but do people not realize that or what? Judging from some of those asks on your page, people make it seem like she didn’t deserve to be the star people and stole the limelight from her peers.

The backlash against Elya was predictable and, honestly, VBA and Tsiskaridze (especially Tsiskaridze) should’ve seen it coming from a mile away. I’m sure they meant well, but their actions ended up causing a lot of damage. Ballet is an aggressively competitive field and, unfortunately, jealousy, bitterness and anger come with the territory. Any extraordinarily gifted dancer is bound to attract all sorts of attention, not all of it positive, and there are ways to manage their transition to stardom with as little drama as possible. Ekaterina Maximova gained a lot of attention in her final year at BBA, and her teacher dealt with it by telling the press, in no uncertain terms, to piss off. Her aim was to graduate and deliver her star student to the Bolshoi peacefully and quietly. 

In Elya’s case, it no longer matters how gifted she is because the PR campaign (for lack of a better word) has overshadowed that for a lot of people. VBA and Tsiskaridze had the best of intentions. I do not doubt that for a second. But they didn’t just poke the proverbial bear (the already jealous and unhappy masses) with a stick, they shoved a firecracker up its ass. God bless Nikolai, but subtlety has never been his strongest suit.

On that note, I wonder whether Professor Kovaleva made a conscious decision to hold Khoreva back a bit. Remember how we barely saw her until maybe six months ago and were all wondering why that was? I think the answer is not only that the class of 2018 had a lot of talented students they could and did show off, but that Professor Kovaleva (who gave us Diana Vishneva and Olga Smirnova) knows how to launch a career with as little drama as possible.

Hi Melmoth, who was the student with the amazing fouettes on the last video you uploaded?

I’m pretty sure that’s Maria Bulanova.

When exams happen at the Vaganova, does like one person evaluate each dancer? If not, how are they suppose to look at everyone dancing at once?

The exams are graded by a special committee of (I think) 4 to 6 people. I believe it’s a mix of VBA professors and industry professionals. These people spend their entire professional lives watching and evaluating groups of dancers. They can follow many things at once. 

It seems like exams are awfully early. Is that typical? When do the theaters make their offers to students?

The exams are a little early this year; I’d say one or two weeks earlier than last year. The offers are usually made around the time of the exams.

Do VBA professors have to have graduated from the school itself?

I imagine that any coach / teacher who wishes to work at VBA must, at the very least, complete a training course at the academy, since they must become familiar with the Vaganova method before they can teach it. Most teachers I can think of had not only graduated from VBA as dancers, they had also danced with the Mariinsky, before returning to their alma mater to requalify as ballet teachers.

The only notable exception to this rule is Tsiskaridze, who doesn’t have any formal Vaganova training. He does, however, have an encyclopedic knowledge of Russian ballet (including the Vaganova method) and was trained as a ballet coach by Marina Semyonova – Vaganova’s favourite students.

Hi Melmont, i wonder if you have the link of the complete video of the gift that you upload where he is correcting a student of his posture, sorry for my english, greetings from 🇨🇱 chile ! 😊

You can see the whole video here.

Not really an ask but I just wanted to say the pictures of the graduating class doing their character exam makes me so emotional. Especially the ones where they are wearing the long sleeved black leotards because it just makes them look so mature and it’s such a throwback. I feel like khoreva was super tiny just a few days ago.

I know. It’s kind of scary how quickly time flies…

d i s c l a i m e r

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

Part VI. Vaganova Ballet Academy 2017 graduation performance rehearsal at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 3. Photos by Alexander Ku.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

Part IV. Vaganova Ballet Academy 2017 graduation performance rehearsal at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 3. Photos by Alexander Ku.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

Part III. Vaganova Ballet Academy 2017 graduation performance rehearsal at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 3. Photos by Alexander Ku.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

Part II. Vaganova Ballet Academy 2017 graduation performance rehearsal at the Mariinsky Theatre. June 3. Photos by Alexander Ku.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

Never forget. Nikolai Tsiskaridze in “La Fille du pharaon” at the Bolshoi.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

“A ballerina who always remains a queen. A woman whom one always wants to love. A person one can’t help but worship.” – Nikolai Tsiskaridze on Marina Semyonova.

tsiskaridze:

tsiskaridze:

To be honest, it’s part of his charm and I won’t have him any other way.

Ask Personses: MISC

tsiskaridze:

What can you tell about dancers from interviews? Do most dancers have a very different stage persona from real life?

You can assess the level of a dancer’s intelligence pretty quickly from the way they talk and present themselves in interviews. You can also learn a great deal about them and their priorities from the way they talk about their work. This may sound meant-spirited, and I do account for the fact that some people may experience anxiety when confronted with the prospect of being interviewed, but intelligence can’t be faked or erased by nerves. It’s either there or it’s not. I’ve also found that young dancers like, for example, Khoreva really stand out when it comes to interviews (their focus, maturity and choice of words are pretty spectacular).

Only an intelligent person can make a truely great dancer. All the legends we admire – Plisetskaya, Maximova, Ulanova, – were all, first and foremost, intelligent, educated and cultured people. That is why they were able to have such an effect on audiences. Ballet isn’t just technique; Russian ballet isn’t, in any case. The dancer must be able to embody a character and communicate with the audience in a clear and meaningful way, and this is only achievable when the dancer has mental and emotional capacity for it.

This is why Tsiskaridze is forcing his students to read so much, constantly quizzes them on the background of their roles and drags them around St Petersburg museums. He’s trying to create a new breed of intelligent dancers who love to research their roles and put meaning into every movement.

P.S.: This is how you spot Tsiskaridze’s students:


Currently I saw the peasant pas de deux from Bolshoi‘s Giselle, one time with Elya, one time with Stasya Postnova. If you know them, which one do you think is a better dancer or which one has more chances to become a soloist or principal one day?

Like I’ve said many times before, I don’t like comparing dancers. I don’t think it’s healthy or particularly useful. Especially since the good ones will always differ in fundamental ways. On top of that, Elya and Stasya are from different schools. They are completely different dancers, though I think that both are good in their own way and both will likely become soloists.

Where can I find videos of Tatiana Osipova?

Unfortunately, there are hardly any videos of her out there.


Would you say that Novikova is basically a principle without the title? I mean, she basically only dances the leading roles.

I suppose so. I think that the only reason she isn’t a prima yet is because she chose to focus on her family (more power to her).

d i s c l a i m e r