Dance Magazine Awards

Dance Magazine Award Honoree: Diana Vishneva

Photo by Valentin Baranovsky, courtesy Vishneva

For years, Diana Vishneva seemed to be an exotic creature who landed in New York City: If we held our collective breath long enough, perhaps she wouldn't fly away. But last June, this Russian ballerina did just that after delivering her farewell performance of Onegin with American Ballet Theatre, where she had been a principal since 2005. Her wild passion, her musicality and her ability to hold nothing back made her classical dancing all the more thrilling.

Vishneva got her start at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. Seven years later she won the Prix de Lausanne, and in 1995, she joined the Mariinsky Ballet, with whom she gave her first major performances in New York City. In 2001, she began her guest artist career, performing with La Scala Ballet, the Paris Opéra Ballet, Staatsballett Berlin and others over the years.


For dancers today, guesting is a common practice, but Vishneva, 41, was among the first of her generation to do so. Even so, that was never part of a master plan.

"I was dancing a lot with Vladimir Malakhov in Europe and Russia, and he opened me to thinking how important and great it is to be able to be a guest star," she says. "Right now people move around so much easier, but back in the day it was very exclusive."

Presently Vishneva is back in Russia working on CONTEXT, her dance festival that aims to both present contemporary choreography and to encourage new talent. She also recently opened CONTEXT Pro, a dance studio in St. Petersburg.

With Marcelo Gomes in Onegin. Photo by Batya Annadurdyev, courtesy Vishneva.

Vishneva says she will continue to perform with the Mariinsky and as a guest artist. Even now, she wants her dancing to move people, to make them think about who they are and what is happening in their lives. "It's the way I use my instrument to deliver to the audience what I'm exploring," she says. "I'm not just 'Diana Vishneva,' a big name. I work hard and I never stop, and I hope I'm going forward. It's not because I am talented."

She pauses. "Yes—there is some of that. But talent doesn't work if you're not a hard worker and through this, it opens something. Little by little. It's like flowers. And you want more. You want to open more flowers to find a different way. There's no limit. For me, it's important if I feel the limit. That's the end."

Has she ever felt it? She laughs. "That's why I continue."


For information about the Dance Magazine Awards ceremony on December 4, click here.

Dance Training
Getty Images

By the Sunday evening of a long convention weekend, you can expect to be thoroughly exhausted and a little sore. But you shouldn't leave the hotel ballroom actually hurt. Although conventions can be filled with magical opportunities, the potential for injury is higher than usual.

Keep your body safe: Watch out for these four common hazards.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Frozen put profit-sharing arrangements in place prior to the Equity deal. Photo by Deen van Meer, Courtesy Disney Theatrical Group

For a Broadway dancer, few opportunities are more exciting than being part of the creation of an original show. But if that show goes on to become wildly successful, who reaps the benefits? Thanks to a new deal between Actors' Equity Association and The Broadway League, performers involved in a production's development will now receive their own cut of the earnings.

Keep reading... Show less
NBCUniversal

Jellicle obsessives, rejoice: There's a new video out that offers a (surprisingly substantive) look at the dancing that went down on the set of the new CATS movie.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance & Science
Via Wikimedia Commons

When Dr. Mae Jemison was growing up, she was obsessed with space. But she didn't see any astronauts who looked like her.

"I said, Wait a minute. Why are all the astronauts white males?" she recounts in a CNN video. "What if the aliens saw them and said, Are these the only people on Earth?"

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox