Hello. First things first : your blog is absolutely amazing. I'm fairly new to ballet and I'm trying to get into it. You said that the three best russian ballerinas for these past 20 years are Svetlana Zakharova, Ulyana Lopatkina and Diana Vishneva. Could you recommend some of their performances to watch ? Like signature roles, works for which they received critical acclaim ?
Thank you very much 🙂
I’m happy to give some recommendations, but please remember that my opinions are pretty subjective. I’m sure other people would have a different view of these ballerina and their defining roles.
- “Don Q” – Kitri was Diana’s first major role with the Mariinsky. She took it on while she was still a student at Vaganova Ballet Academy. Her performance was so impressive that it earned her the Divine – a coveted dance prize. Kitri was Diana’s calling card for many years until she finally grew out of the roles and dropped it her repertoire.
- “Romeo and Juliet” – Another one of Diana’s calling cards. At least, that’s how I’ve always seen it. Juliet is another role she tackled while still very young.
- Anything she’s danced with Malakhov – Vladimir Malakhov is Diana’s favourite and, in many ways, defining partner. They’ve been dancing together since Diana was still a student and the work they create together is remarkable and drastically different from anything they have done in other partnerships.
- The Dying Swan – Ulyana’s is the defining performance of her generation.
- “Raymonda” – Ulyana personifies classical Russian ballet, so you can pretty much pick any classical role from the Mariinsky repertoire that she’s danced. However, I’m choosing “Raymonda” because this ballet is so beautiful and complex that a ballerina must really prove herself before she even thinks about attempting it.
- “Swan Lake” – Now that Ulyana Lopatkina has retired, Svetlana is arguably the best Odette / Odile in the world. Hell, I’m calling it: she is the best in the world at this point in time.
I’d also recommend watching all three ballerinas in “Swan Lake” because this really is the crowning jewel of Russian ballet and no list would be complete without it. Furthermore, this ballet played a significant part in these ballerinas’ careers and Svetlana, Ulyana and Diana all gave very different performances.
I think you should also watch “Ballerina” – the documentary which looks at all three of these remarkable primas: