Friday, December 28, 2007

The Women of Snow Maiden

Today I would like to feature two of the ballerinas who will star in the Snow Maiden and Nutcracker productions created by the Russian National Ballet Foundation with the Natalya Sats Theater.

As you may recall, this is the production which we will be bringing to the U.S. in the winter of 2008. You can read much more about the production in past podcasts which include short biographies of the male leads, video clips of the rehearsal process, and an audio interview with Valery Lantratov.

Today we feature two beautiful ballerinas of the Kremlin Ballet. Olga Zubkova (pictured left) and Natalia Balahnicheva (right).

Balahnicheva is a graduate of the Perm Choreographic School and has been dancing with the Kremlin Ballet since 1994. She is a bright and original talent who combines lyric and romantic harmony with a rare gift of fluid motion. Her repertory consists of Cindrella (Cinderella by Prokofiev, staged by Vassiliev), Ludmila (Ruslan and Ludmila, by Glinka-Agafonnikov, staged by A.Petrov), Mery, Pastral (The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, staged by A.Petrov), Leda (Zeus by D.Arapis, staged by A.Petrov). Pas de troi, one of the four swans (The Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, Moscow reduction by Ivanov, Petipa, Gorsky and Messerer).

Olga Zubkova, Honored Artist of Russia, is a dramatic ballerina with perfect technique and brilliant proportions. From 1982-1990 she studied at the Moscow Choreography College under the supervision of G. L. Kouznetsova. From 1990-1995 she danced at the Grigorovich Ballet Studio directed by Yuri Grigorovich. Her tutors were N. Bessmertnova, M. Lavrovsky, L. Cherkassova, R. Karelskaya and E. Ryabinkina . There her most important roles included Luska in Golden Age, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Myrtha in Giselle, Clemnestra in Electra as well as a number of other solos and variations. Since 1995 Olga Zoubkova has been a soloist of the Kremlin Ballet directed by Andrei Petrov. During her career she has created a series of roles, among which are Aphrodite in Zeus, Josephine in Napoleon, Theresa in Cavalry Halt, Naina in Ruslan and Ludmila, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Street Dancer, Mercedes in Don Quixote, Emmy Lawrence in Tom Sawyer, Svanilda in Copellia. Olga Zoubkova has toured extensively including the US, South America, Japan and Europe.

Incidentally, you can see pictures and video of Valery Lantratov on the Kremlin Ballet web page. He danced the role of Napoleon in the production featured on the video clips page. Unfortunately, the video quality is rather poor. But if you know who you're looking for you may be able to spot him and Olga Zubkova. The pictures of the Napoleon production in the "photogalerie" are likewise a bit blurry in spots, but you get the idea.

Remember, you can see a documentary on the Natalya Sats Musical Theater including some rehearsal footage of Snow Maiden at