Category: vaganova ballet academy

In regards to the photo on your banner, given …

In regards to the photo on your banner, given that the one you provided and the banner both have 6 students and were photographed around the same time, maybe we can assume that they are the same people? Based on the comparison of the 2 photos, my guess would be, left to right: Neugasova, Novichenko, Odinstova, Komissarova, Osipenko (?), Kolpakova? I do know many Russian sites identify Irina Gensler as the one in the middle, but in 1948 she graduated and this is a 1950/1951 photo…?


Continuing on from this and this.

I have to say, I am once again very impressed with this blog’s brain trust. You guys are amazing with your research 🙂 

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Olga Spessivtseva graduate from the Imperial Ballet School (now Vaganova Ballet Academy) in 1913.

tutu-fangirl: Vlada Borodulina, Vaganova Ball…


Vlada Borodulina, Vaganova Ballet Academy student




Vaganova Ballet Academy graduates Daria Ionova, Anastasiia Nuykina, Maria Khoreva and Maria Bulanova after the Nijinsky Gala in Staatsoper Hamburg. 8th of July. They performed pas de quatre from “Le RĂ©veil de Flore”. 



Vaganova Ballet Academy graduate Maria Khoreva performing a variation from “Le RĂ©veil de Flore” at Nijinsky Gala in Staatsoper Hamburg. 8th of July. Photo by Kiran West.

Ask Responses: Vaganova


What is Zhanna Ayupova’s role at VBA? I know she’s a coach at Mikhailovsky, so how does she have time to do both?

Ayupova is the academy’s Artistic Director – the position previously occupied by Altynai Asylmuratova – and Tsiskaridze’s second-in-command. I don’t know how she has time to do both. I don’t understand how either she or Tsiskaridze function, to be honest. They get more done in a day than I do in a week.

Why did no boys get the red diploma/honours this year?

I suppose they didn’t do well enough to earn one. My understanding is that one must be a straight-A student (this includes academic classes) for three consecutive years – 5th to 8th grade – in order to receive a red diploma. Which is quite a feat. Few students manage it.

The dancer in the front and center of your banner photo is Ludmila Komissarova – ask won’t let me include a link, but you can google Jewels of Mariinsky and her name

That’s interesting. Every Russian source I’ve ever come across identifies the girl as Irina Gensler. Thank you for the tip though, that page provides a great deal of information about Komissarova!

If you could interview any of the recent VBA grads (say 2016-2018) who you haven’t done an interview for, or a translation for, who would you interview?

Anastasia Lukina (class of 2015). I wish there were more (or any) interviews with her out there. She is a remarkable person and a beautiful dancer. She has the qualities which many of Kovaleva’s students share: maturity, wisdom, poise, intense focus, intelligence, culture
 She appears to function on a higher plane of existence.

I am curious as to why so many of this year’s VBA grads are entering Mariinsky instead of the Bolshoi? To clarify, I’m very glad that they are because they are what the Mariinsky deserves, but considering their quality I’m sure Bolshoi Theater has made offers as well. So what, in you opinion, turned them to the Mariinsky?

Only the grads can answer that. For the past few years grads who wished to work at the Bolshoi had to attend auditions. This was the case for Alena Kovaleva and, more recently, Eleonora Sevenard, Egor Gerashchenko and Oscar Frame. Presumably some of this year’s grads travelled to Moscow to audition – several sources reported that Khoreva was there – but were either unsuccessful or turned down the offer in favour of Mariinsky (I find the latter option hard to believe). 

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La Personne published my translation of their interview with Professor Lyudmila Kovaleva 🙂

I can recognise most of the people in your top…

I can recognise most of the people in your top banner, but not all. Thanks if you could enlighten.


That’s a great question. This photo has been the source of some frustration for me because (at least, according to my sources) few of these young women have been identified, and I have been trying to put faces to names for a long time myself.

We know for a fact that the young lady front and centre is Irina Gensler, while the last girl of the right is Irina Kolpakova. It’s also been suggested that the girl on Kolpakova’s left is Tatiana Legat, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. The rest is guesswork.

The photo was taken around 1950/1951, so I assume that most of these ladies belong to class of 1951 – the last group of students to graduate under Vaganova.


This photo of Vaganova’s class, taken in 1951, has the list of the students’ names on the back (left to right): Vika Novichenko, Ira Odintsova, Tamara Neugasova, Alla Osipenko (?), Lyuda Komissarova, Ira Kolpakova.

Based on the comparison of these two photos, I think the girl immediately behind Gensler bears some resemblance to Irina Odintsova and the girl to her left looks like Lyudmila Komissarova. I can’t place the last girl on the left at all.

If anyone can identify the young women in the first photograph, please let me know.

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Who’s Going Where (Update #2)


  • Maria Bulanova: Mariinsky
  • Daria Ionova: Mariinsky
  • Anastasia Nuykina: Mariinsky
  • Maria Khoreva: Mariinsky
  • Peter Attikov: Bolshoi (rumoured)
  • Anita Voroshilova: Mariinsky
  • Ervin Zagidullin: Mariinsky
  • Lada Ivanova: Mariinsky
  • Orina Anzai: Mariinsky
  • Davide Loricchio: Royal Ballet
  • Vakhtang Kherheulidze: Mariinsky
  • llya Mogilnikov: Mariinsky
  • Anastasia Demidova: Mariinsky

tsiskaridze: Vaganova Ballet Academy graduates…


Vaganova Ballet Academy graduates Daria Ionova, Anastasiia Nuikina, Maria Khoreva and Maria Bulanova will take part in the Nijinsky Gala on the 8th of July.

Pas de quatre from “Le RĂ©veil de Flore”
Music: Riccardo Drigo
Choreography: Marius Petipa, staged by Yuri Burlaka after Ivan Khlustin (2014)
Costumes: Vladimir Ponomarev

Photo by Ekaterina Vladimirova: Svetlana Savelieva, Alexandra Khiteeva, Maria Khoreva and Maria Bulanova.