A new prince at the Mariinsky
Published: April 28, 2006 (Issue # 1165)
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 Bournonville’s 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 Lacotte’s 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 Balanchine’s technical showpiece “Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux” with Alina Somova.
Though Shklyarov didn’t 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 Shklyarov’s 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 world’s 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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