Category: oscar frame


Is there any news about the bolshoi staff who tested positive for covid?


In your opinion why Gerashckenko has been given so many principal roles as of lately? He is talented in my opinion but he wasn’t taken in to much account in two years in the company and now boom. It’s a bit weird.

I think Gerashchenko has had a fairly even stream of opportunities since he’s joined the company. Vaziev clearly likes him a lot for some reason. 

I’ve also read something bad about Elya and Tsiskaridze friendship on a blog and honestly I don’t understand. It’s not new that Tsiskaridze loves his students, helps many of them prepare for roles for the theatre and stuff so the fact that among this crowd the only one who gets bashed is Sevenard it’s quite odd. Going as far as saying if it wasn’t for Tsiskaridze Rodkin wouldn’t have given her the time of the day is crazy. From my POV people envy her a lot.

They certainly do. I don’t think it helps matters that she has never once dignified any of this nonsense with a comment or any sort of acknowledgement. She’s remained firmly above the bs and people don’t like that. 

Any news about Frame? It looks like he isn’t doing too well at bolshoi…

I haven’t heard anything about him in recently. He’s still listed on the Bolshoi’s website and as far as I know he dances occasionally. I’m not surprised that he’s keeping a low profile but I hope that he is well.

d i s c l a i m e r


Hi Melmoth! I was wondering, is there any news regarding Oscar Frame’s legal troubles? I really hope he’s doing ok.

I’m confused about Oscar Frame’s situation. The news story you quoted said he had a serious injury 6 months ago which would have been around Oct 2018; but he danced as one of James friends in La Sylphide in Nov.? Since news broke there’s little follow-up. Hoping it works out for him; he had a lot of interest on social media. Heart- broken over this.

Not sure how much this would help (and do not get me wrong, I want this to be over as much as you do), but according to a recent UK Telegraph article that Tumblr refuses to let me link here, Oscar was released on bail but cannot leave Moscow…

These are just some of the questions / comments I have received about Oscar’s situation. There are others too. In a way, it’s heartening to see that people care about what will happen to Oscar and hope that he will come out of this ok.

There are no news, I’m afraid. Oscar was released on bail soon after being detained but that’s all we know for now.

He, or whoever has access to his account, periodically comes online on Instagram but doesn’t respond to messages. Not that I was expecting him to respond. I just sent him a message because I wanted to show support in some way. If I hear anything I will let you know. I hope he pulls through this in one piece. …Tsiskaridze ins’t in the habit of abandoning his own.

d i s c l a i m e r 


Oscar Frame and Anastasia Konstantinova as the Russian Dolls in the Vaganova Ballet Academy 2016 production of “The Fairy Doll”. Photos by Alexander Ku.


More 2018 updates can be found here. A big thank you to the anons who keep sending in the updates!


Maria Khoreva 

The Three Odalisques – Le Corsiaire – 22 September (with Ionova and Nuykina)
Prince’s friends – Swan Lake – 30 September
Rose Adagio – Mariinsky’s tour in Japan – December


Elenora Sevenard 

Princess Soronkina  – Anna Karenina – 12 October
Piccilia / First variation in Grand Pas – Don Quixote – 22 September
Giselle’s friends – Giselle – 9, 10 October
Valtz / Spanish Bride – Swan Lake – 25, 26 September 

Alena Kovaleva

Odette/Odile – Swan Lake – September 25
Myrtha – Giselle – 10 October
Princess Soronkina – Anna Karenina – 13 October
Ballerina – Etudes – 29 September
The Leading Couple, Diamonds – Jewels – 16 October

Oscar Frame

Rubies / Emeralds – Jewels – 17, 30, 31 October

Egor Gerashchenko 

Von Rothbart – Swan Lake – 25 September
Couple in White – Forgotten Land – 29 September

Anamarija Markovic

Anamarija (class of 2018) has joined the Croatian National Theatre as First Soloist!

A post shared by Оscar Frame (@oscarlaframe) on


Oscar Frame, Vaganova Ballet Academy graduate (class of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, 2017) in the Bolshoi’s “Raymonda”.


Today, June 28, is the birthday of Vaganova Ballet Academy teacher, Irina Sitnikova.

Here are some excerpts from my interviews with Vaganova Ballet Academy students, where they speak about Ms Sitnikova.

There were some truly great pedagogues at Vaganova, but I think my favourite two would be Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Irina Sitnikova. Both of them shared quite a similar ethos, and sometimes Tsiskaridze would hand us over to her when he was absent. She would treat us like we were her own students. Her signature was to make us do grand battements with every combination at the barre. The thing that makes such a difference with them is the work ethic they inspire – when they can just keep on going no matter how late it is or how tired they must be. You simply have to do the same. – Oscar Frame

[My favourite teacher at the academy was] my classical teacher, Irina Sitnikova. She was very strict and tough. Outside of the class, however, she was the most caring and lovely person. She is very helpful and likes to care for her students. She also used to invite us to her dacha, and we had a lot of fun with her. – Laura Fernandez-Gromova


Do you have a favorite teacher at VBA? In terms of their teaching style and what they turn their students into? I don’t know if this question makes sense or not…

There are many teachers at VBA whom I like and admire. It’s kind of hard not to since there are some amazing men and women working there. Aside from Tsiskaridze (duh), I really like Alexei Ilyin and Fethon Miozzo because they seem to really care for their students. I also like Alexander Stepin: the incredible acting teacher and one (if I’m not mistaken) of the most well-liked teachers at the academy. The person I find most fascinating though is Professor Marina Vasilieva. She has been teaching classical dance at the academy since 1977 and her students include Yulia Makhalina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Viktoria Tereshkia, Elena Evseeva and Olesya Novikova. She also trains ballet teachers and is one of the leading experts in the field of ballet education.

This might be to specific of a question so I’ll say sorry in advance, but: Would hitting the expected growth spurt late(r than normal in boys) be a reason to fail the body standards for VBA? I mean, they are supposed to be a good height for the girls, but what happens if they don’t match up with any girl from their year? Do they just have to make it work somehow?

I don’t think this would be an issue for boys. Ballet companies like tall boys. That’s pretty much the only reason Rodkin was hired in the first place. I also think that there’s more of a demand for taller boys now that ballerinas are getting taller as well. Height is more of an issue for girls: being too short or too tall may mean missing out on a job with a company.

Sorry, I think I didn’t explain my previous question clearly. I meant to ask if there are any soloist or principal international graduates from VBA in companies in Russia or around the world?

Ah, yes, that makes more sense. A few of the semi-recent international VBA graduates are doing quite well, though I can’t think of any who have made it to principal quite yet. Ella Pesson (class of 2015) is a coryphee at the Mikhailovsky and gets to dance solo and principal parts regularly. Julian MacKay (graduated from BBA in 2015) is first soloist with the Mikhailovsky. I’m pretty sure there are several recent foreign trainee grads who are doing very well in regional theatres around Russia, but I can’t think of their names… Oscar Frame (VBA, class of 2017) is still in the corps at the Bolshoi, and I don’t want to jinx him, but I think we should be watching him closely. Keenan Kampa was doing amazing things until her injury…

Have you seen russianballetvideo2’s comments about the VBA student Svetlana Savelieva? I was absolutely shocked and horrified by the mean comments! Would you know who is this vicious person? Sveta is simply a student at this point and it is really horrid of this person to say such horrid things! And there are others who added their mean comments as well! Maybe this is why Tsiskaridze stopped allowing exam videos to be posted online.

russianballetvideo2 and the behaviour of the person running it has been addressed here before (also here). What can I say… Internet can be a toxic place and, for some reason, ballet seems to attract a lot of toxic people. I don’t think much can be done about it and, sadly, russianballetvideo2 isn’t the worst example of this sort of behaviour. Far from it… I hope students and young dancers can learn to see through the bullshit and not take these clowns and their moronic followers seriously. 

I don’t think that this is the reason VBA stopped releasing videos of their exams though. And they haven’t actually stopped. Not really. They release videos on case-by-case basis. You can certainly find footage of Tsiskaridze’s and Sirotin’s exams on youtube and the academy’s social media.

Do you know if Nikolai keeps up with his graduates? Like does he go to their performances?

As far as I know, he tries to. I think he’s made an effort to make himself available as much as possible (even if it only means an occasional text or phonecall), but he is ridiculously busy. I know that he helped Egor Gerashchenko prepare for his debut as Von Rothbart at the Bolshoi, and photos of him having coffee with his grads pop up online every now and then. He does try.

Hi! Do you maybe know why Asya Bogdashkina and Ksenia Sevenard are not on the center bar anymore? I was really surprised when I saw Kuzmichyovas video!

I don’t, I’m afraid. As I mention here, there can be many reasons for that.

d i s c l a i m e r


More 2018 updates can be found here.


Oscar Frame will debut in the Emeralds Pas de Trois on May 9. He is also rehearsing the part of the Golden Idol.

Alena Kovaleva has debuted as Nikia in “La Bayadere”.


Maxim Zenin has debuted Puss In Boots in “Sleeping Beauty”.

Maria Ilyushkina has debuted Florine in “Sleeping Beauty” and in “Raymonda” (Act I, Raymonda’s Dream variation).

Vlada Borodulina has “officially” debuted as Gold Fairy (as her original debut was during the Petipa Festival).


Hi Melmoth! I love your blog. Would you be able to tell me who is the girl dancer in the second frame of your post “Part III. Vaganova Ballet Academy 2017 graduation performance rehearsal”? Thank you!


I’m not sure which photo you’re referring to exactly, but the students in these photos are Vlada Borodulina, Oscar Frame and Alexandra Korshunova. Hope that helps.

Hi, I apologise in advance for the large number of questions which are mainly about vaganova exams. You do such a good job at informing us. 1) does missing a step at barre, say a battement have an effect on the dancer’s grade? 2) how is it determined which group in the exam does which side at centre (they don’t always do both sides….)? 3)sometimes in grades ¾ they don’t wear skirts in the exam, how is that determined? 4)what happens if you’re injured lightly? Will you still take it? Thank u!

Some of these questions are so specific that only a Vaganova insider (which I’m not) would know the exact answer. I’ll do my best to make an educated guess.

  1. I think that even though mistakes, large or small, can affect the final grade, students are judged on the overall performance and there are a lot of elements at play.
  2. My understanding is that the arrangement is up to the teacher and depends on what they are trying to achieve with the examination material they’ve prepared.
  3. This could be entirely arbitrary, but it’s also possible that, depending on the nature of the combinations in question, the examination panel may want to see more of the students’ legs / hips.
  4. It depends on the injury. Some students take their exams with light injuries.

I’d love to know whether I’m actually getting any of this right  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What do students do with their time after exams? What happens if a final year student doesn’t pass their exams? Do classes ever switch teachers or are they decided for the whole time?

They prepare for the graduation performance and whatever other performances they may have. 

It really depends on the situation and the people involved. Some students may still be allowed to graduate though it’s unlikely that they would get a job. Others may fail out of school. I’ve heard of this happen to students in their final year and it’s obviously very traumatic.

Sometimes they switch and sometimes they don’t. Junior, middle-school and senior students are taught by different groups of teachers. Normally a class is taught by the same teacher for several years (especially at the end), but it’s not uncommon for the teacher to change. I think it depends on how many students pass from one grade to the next; classes may need to be re-shuffled based on the changing numbers. 

Hi Melmouth, In photos/videos of exams, I sometimes catch a glimpse of the examiners seated in a long line along the mirror. Who are they – Teachers from the school? Retired dancers? Teachers from other schools?

The graduation exams are attended by a lot of people. The examination committee sits at the front, the rest are guests: mostly industry professionals, teachers and VBA insiders. I think the committee itself varies from exam to exam, but generally consists of a mix of high-ranking Vaganova professors and industry professionals (Mariinsky coaches, retired dancers, etc)

Hi Melmoth! I wanted to ask you, based on the “exam2018” video you posted, I wonder if you attended this year’s state graduation exam in person? I noticed it is on the same youtube account where a while back you posted that hilarious video of Tsiskardize’s… hmmm… gag reel? If you actually did, how you were invited and what was attending in person like? Many thanks for your work, especially those translations (serious pains in the butt, I know. I be happy to do a Spanish/Chinese one for you!)

No, sadly I didn’t attend the exam, though I’d love to, as I’m sure many people would. The video I uploaded is a compilation of exam footage collected online. I felt it would be easier to have the whole thing collated into a single file. I have an unlisted YouTube channel for this very purpose: to be able to make my own edits and upload videos if I need to.

Hi! First of all, thank you for uploading the exams – (I still can’t believe Khoreva and Ivanova will be graduating this year, time goes so fast) I wanted to ask you if there’s any reason for the placement of the students during an exam? I thought about it when you talked about how Tsiskaridze arranges his students. In connection to that, is there a reason fewer male students perform in an exam at the same time? Do they just need more space to perform or is it a teachers/schools preference?

The order, arrangement and spacing of the students during an exam is entirely up to the teacher who prepares the examination material. It depends on the type of combinations, the teacher’s priorities are and what they want to achieve. Also, the boys’ classes are sometimes smaller than the girls’ classes – hence the discrepancy in numbers.

d i s c l a i m e r


More 2018 updates can be found here


Alena Kovaleva (class of 2016) will debut as Nikia in “La Bayadere” opposite Jacopo Tissi on the 2nd of May.

Oscar Frame will perform Grand Pas in “La Bayadere” in late April.

Eleonora Sevenard will perform one of the Friends to Swanilda in “Coppelia” and Grand Pas in “La Bayadere” later this month.