Category: vaganova ballet academy

tsiskaridze: Vaganova Ballet Academy is now ac…


Vaganova Ballet Academy is now accepting applications for the Vaganova International Trainee Program (VITP). If you’ve ever dreamed of training at VBA, I strongly encourage you to apply. Applications close on May 15, 2019.

More information.

If you need some inspiration, read my interviews with former Vaganova Ballet Academy international trainees Lawrence Lambert, Alisa Uzunova, Laura Fernandez-Gromova and Oscar Frame.

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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.

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tsiskaridze: Vaganova Ballet Academy students …


Vaganova Ballet Academy students performing "Danse des Heures" from the opera “La Gioconda" (choreography by M. Petipa, choreographic version by N. Tsiskaridze) at the Aleksandrinsky Theatre on November 27. The performance was part of the "Petipa. P.S. Metamorphosis. The XXI century” gala.

Photos by Nicholas MacKay.



An excerpt from of a short documentary about Vaganova Ballet Academy. The full English transcript is up at



An excerpt from of a short documentary about Vaganova Ballet Academy. The full English transcript is up at



Ana Laguna, muse and wife of choreographer Mats Ek, visited Vaganova Ballet Academy this week.

tsiskaridze: @divarina20​ and anyone else who …


@divarina20​ and anyone else who is interested in the Vaganova Ballet Academy professional development courses for teachers, VBA just announced their dates for the 2019 Retraining course!

2019 DATES:

Mar 1 – 31 (junior classes) 
Apr 1 – 30 (middle classes)
May 10 – June 11 (junior and middle classes) 
Sep 10 – Oct 10 (junior classes) 
Oct 1 – 30 (middle classes)
Nov 1 – 30 (middle classes)

More information

Big thanks to VBA for the info!

Thank you for translating the Q&A with Mis…

Thank you for translating the Q&A with Misha Barkidjija. Tho I must say I was a bit put off by it. He came off as immature & full of himself (can you imagine if, when asked what she is proud of, a woman said "my beauty"? ick) I was hoping he had more substance than to immediately go to his looks as his point of pride. It also bothers me that he seems sure he will get an offer from BT(tho fully acknowledge how talented he is). It could just be a bad interview, but IJS a little humility never hurt

I could be wrong, but to me the interview came off as humorous and ironic – two qualities that often don’t translate well in print. That’s a common problem with Tsiskaridze, actually; you can read a transcript of his interview and think: “what an ass”, and then listen to the same interview and get a completely different picture. Even if Misha is actually being a bit cocky, I can look past it. He’s 16. Life hasn’t beaten him down yet. 😂

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The higher the passe, the higher the pay.

The higher the passe, the higher the pay.

tsiskaridze: Tatler Russia: Q&A with Mikha…


Tatler Russia: Q&A with Mikhail Barkidjija (16)

t r a n s l a t e d   b y   m e l m o t h

What is your greatest achievement?

That Nikolai Maximovich Tsiskaridze hasn’t expelled me. I am now a student in the graduating class of 2019 at Vaganova Ballet Academy. I was born in Chicago and I graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School, but I have always dreamed of training in Russia because, first of all, I believe it to be the birthplace of ballet and, secondly, my mom is Russian. My dad had studied Russian at university. He went to Irkutsk for his professional practice, and that’s where he met my mom.

Where do you hang out in St Petersburg?

At Romeo’s on Rimskogo-Korsakova. I had dinner there the other night with Xander Parish, the principal dancer of the Mariinsky; I have tea and pie – chicken, cheese and mushroom or feta and spinach – at Shtrogel’ on Sodovaya; and I’ve only been to a nightclub once. I’m too young for that.

What else are you proud of?

My body, my smile and my jump. I guess I’m a handsome guy; I’m often told that I am. Nikolai Maximovich says so to, although, to tell you the truth, he thinks I have a big nose. Tsiskaridze has shared other important observations with me. The most recent one is: “The higher the passe, the higher the pay”.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment, I am only thinking about the Bolshoi. Nikolai Maximovich says that that is where I am going to dance. But not before I pass my math and Russian finals.