Russian Seasons

March 12, 2014

Big news for American fans of Russian ballet:


First, St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Ballet has finally set a date for its U.S. debut. Though the company initially planned to perform in New York two summers ago, that visit was canceled when American Ballet Theatre exercised a non-compete clause involving Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova, who were scheduled to perform during both ABT’s Metropolitan Opera House season and the Mikhailovsky’s overlapping New York tour. (Yikes.)


This time around, however, things look to be smooth sailing: The Mikhailovsky is scheduled to appear at Lincoln Center’s Koch Theater November 13–23. Yes, Osipova and Vasiliev will be there. So will “Kings of the Dance” veteran Leonid Sarafanov, and Angelina Vorontsova, the talented former Bolshoi ballerina whose boyfriend, Pavel Dmitrichenko, was sentenced to a jail term for his role in the acid attack on Bolshoi director Sergei Filin. (Allegedly, Dmitrichenko’s unhappiness with Filin stemmed from frustration with Vorontsova’s casting.) The Mikhailovksy’s NYC lineup includes Giselle, Flames of Paris, Don Quixote, and a mixed-rep triple bill featuring Nacho Duato‘s Prelude, which Duato made for the company during his recently-concluded term as artistic director.


The Mikhailovsky performing Duato’s
Prelude in London. Photo by Dave Morgan.


But that’s not all, folks. American Ballet Theatre has also announced that rising Bolshoi star Olga Smirnova—a DM 2013 25 to Watch—will make her debut as a guest artist with the company this May. She’ll dance Nikiya, one of her breakout roles, in a single performance of La Bayadère in May, squired by Vadim Muntagirov. (Gamzatti will be danced by the equally compelling Hee Seo, who does a gorgeous Nikiya herself—a face-off we’re excited to see.) Mariinsky principal Viktoria Tereshkina will also perform with ABT for the first time, giving, like Smirnova, one Nikiya performance. Tereshkina will be partnered by fellow ABT guest and Mariinsky star Vladimir Shklyarov.


A tale of two Nikiyas: left, Smirnova dancing the role in the Bolshoi’s production of
La Bayadère (photo by Damir Yusupov, courtesy the Bolshoi); right, Tereshkina as Nikiya with the Mariinsky (photo by Natasha Razina, courtesy the Mariinsky).


And all of that comes in addition to the Bolshoi’s previously announced U.S. tour, with stops in Washington, D.C., New York and Saratoga from May to July. It’s a veritable feast of Russian ballet.