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About the Change

Svetlana Zakharova
on leaving the Kirov...

by Kevin Ng

Natasha Razina ©

Zakharova in reviews

Kirov Reviews Kirov resources

The rest of the interview will appear in the next issue of Magazine.

Svetlana Zakharova, the illustrious 24-year-old Kirov Ballet star who almost single handedly carried this London season by dancing in the first casts of "Le Corsaire", "Swan Lake", "Scheherezade" and "Etudes", has unexpectedly decided to join the Bolshoi Ballet at the end of August.

I spoke to Zakharova after one of her performances last weekend, to find out why she is leaving the Kirov Ballet. I would like to thank Coda for her kindness in translating for me during this interview.

KN: Svetlana, why have you decided to leave the Kirov Ballet to join the Bolshoi?

Svetlana Zakharova: I am not leaving the Kirov. The Bolshoi will be my main company, but I will still appear as a guest with the Mariinsky Ballet. And we have an arrangement whereby I will appear with the Mariinsky back at home and on their overseas tours.

So you will join the Kirov's tours to the US and Japan this autumn?

No, I can't go to America, because I willl have performances in Moscow. And I won't go to Japan either. What will happen before the winter is that I will stay in the Bolshoi to learn my new roles and the new repertory. My name appeared because the publicity for the American tour appeared much earlier, before my plans to join the Bolshoi. One of the new ballets that I will dance with the Bolshoi is "The Pharaoh's Daughter". I'll dance with Sergei Filin in a televised performance.

What can the Bolshoi offer you that the Mariinsky can't, which has made you decide to join the Bolshoi?

I don't know. Maybe it's just that sometimes I want to change the environment. They have offered me very good conditions there, and it would be unwise for me not to accept their offer. I am just talking about my work; I won't discuss about the financial terms.


Svetlana Zakharova as Nikiya in the Kirov's La Bayadere
Photograph by Natasha Razina ©

Who approached you to join the Bolshoi?

It's very interesting that every time there is a change in the management in the Bolshoi, I am getting invitations from them. I was invited to join the Bolshoi even from the beginning when I started my work in the Mariinsky Theatre at the age of 17. The director-general of the Bolshoi Theatre is Anatoly Iksanov. He invited me several times. He used to tell me, "This is a long-standing invitation. Whenever you feel that you want to, and when you are ready for it, please come." And I've decided that the time is now right for me to change company.

Looking back over the last seven years, has your career with the Kirov Ballet been rewarding?

There have been both positive and negative aspects - perhaps more negative than positive. But there were some happy moments.

You don't sound particularly happy though. But after all, you are one of the two top ballerinas of the Kirov right now (together with Diana Vishneva).

I can only speak for myself, I can't talk about Vishneva. I treat the theatre as something normal, because the theatre is a place where where the interests of so many different people are involved.

Can you describe about the negative aspects which you've experienced?

In the theatre you always have to prove yourself. I constantly have to prove to everyone that I want to do something, and are capable of doing it. And I had to keep it to myself. The only people who knew about it was myself, my beloved teacher Olga Moiseeva (whom I'll greatly miss), and my mother. And I have this drive inside me telling me that you have to be the best, you have to be number 1. This drive was difficult.


Svetlana Zakharova as Odette in the Kirov's Swan Lake
Photograph by Natasha Razina ©

Who will be your coach in the Bolshoi?

When I went to dance Giselle there, I also danced the Shades act of "La Bayadere" in Semyonova's jublilee gala. I was rehearsing with Ludmila Semenyaka, and I liked it. I think that I'll continue to rehearse with her. It's very important for me that she is a graduate of the Vaganova School. I just felt that she's a person who is very eager to work, and I am also the same kind of person myself. I always have this drive for work. I am confident that this will be a very good partnership for me.

(The rest of the interview will appear in the next issue of Magazine)

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