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A new prince at the Mariinsky

Published: April 28, 2006 (Issue # 1165)



  • The 21-year-old Vladimir Shklyarov performing in Forsythes Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, one of the two male soloists in the production.
    Photo: Natasha Razina / For The St. Petersburg Times

Last Sunday, the performance of Giselle at the Mariinsky Theater starred two of the most promising up-and-coming Mariinsky Ballet dancers both in their early twenties, in the lead roles. Olesia Novikova, who was prominently cast in the Mariinsky International Ballet Festival last month, danced the title ballerina role. Her lover Albrecht was danced by the talented 21-year-old dancer Vladimir Shklyarov, who was actually making his debut in this role.

Now in his third season with the Mariinsky Ballet, which he joined in 2003 from the Vaganova Academy, Shklyarov has made swift progress. Shklyarov, who celebrated his 21st birthday in February, has danced leading roles in several 19th century classics the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty, the Prince in The Nutcracker and James in Bournonvilles masterpiece La Sylphide.

The dancer has a large repertoire, including works by the 20th century masters Balanchine and Forsythe. This reviewer first saw him in the Mariinsky Theater in August of 2004 when he gave an exciting performance as one of the two male soloists in the William Forsythe ballet Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. He demonstrated a pure classical line and strong technique.

At present, Shklyarov is rehearsing for Pierre Lacottes ballet Ondine which will receive further performances this coming week, after its premiere last month which opened the Mariinsky International Ballet Festival. He is due to dance the Sicilian sailor Matteo in the performance on May 5 with Olesia Novikova. Besides Ondine, Shklyarov is also rehearsing Balanchines technical showpiece Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux with Alina Somova.

Though Shklyarov didnt dance during the Festival, he was very busy rehearsing The Sleeping Beauty with Evgenia Obraztsova when we met for an interview. Obraztsova is another 21-year-old rising star of the Mariinsky Theater, interviewed on these pages in December of last year. They were rehearsing for a guest engagement in Florida at the end of March with the American company Space Coast Ballet.

Significantly, this was Shklyarovs first ever guest engagement outside the Mariinsky Ballet, although in January he went to Washington DC to represent the Mariinsky in the International Ballet Academy Festival at the Kennedy Center featuring the worlds greatest ballet academies. So how did this invitation come out? Actually, he explained, the Florida company invited Evgenia Obraztsova as a guest, and Evgenia suggested that I dance as her partner.

Not surprising, perhaps, as both have danced together a number of times, forming a wonderful partnership, memorably in La Sylphide last season.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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