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Marc Haegeman

Diana Vishneva website

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Under the self-evident title of "Diana Vishneva Prima Balerina of the Maryinsky Theatre" there is now a website devoted to the beloved Kirov star: http://www.vishneva.ru. It has a biography, photo galleries, a performance calendar, a section with reviews, and a contact section through which you even can participate in an interview. The site is in Russian and in English.

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No matter how initiatives like the present dancer's site have to be welcomed, it's always sad to find out that much of the material they present is taken from other websites, without crediting these sources properly. The biography on Vishneva's site is clearly "borrowed" from the biography on the Small Ballet Encyclopedia http://www.ballet.classical.ru/b_vishneva.html (compiled by Ludmilla Dukova and myself).

The new biography has allegedly been written by another person, while in fact it is just a copy from the Ballet Encyclopedia, with a few changes. That these are done without any knowledge of the facts is proven by the years in the repertoire list. For some of the debuts of which we didn't have the precise date, they just picked the preceding ones in the list, while in fact it could have been any year.

Shame.

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Thanks for pointing that out, Marc. It's a good example of why we continually tell students, "Do not depend on the web for your research."

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ballet.co.uk already had the site take down its interview with her. It's a shame because Vishneva has a big following and deserved to have a web site. The funning thing is, most people are willing to have their articles and pictures on a fan site if only they are asked and the proper credit is given.

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Exactly. I hope the Ballet Encyclopedia does the same.

Unfortunately, many people look at web sites as fields of wildflowers -- anything is there for the plucking.

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The Ballet Encyclopedia did contact the webmaster of Vishneva's site about the above matter. He considered that a link in his links section was a sufficient excuse to place another author's name under the "borrowed" biography.

Indeed, Alexandra, the Web seems to be an easy target for "wild-pluckers", while on the other hand nobody ever seems to question the quality or the exactness of the information provided.

On another level, the same thing happens more and more in publications. Take the dancer's biographies listed in three different souvenir programs of recent Mariinsky tours: Manchester, Graz and London. All three have clearly used the same source (I suppose, the Mariinsky Theatre?), or have copied from each other, and thus all three give the same inaccurate or incomplete information. Isn't there anybody then of the organizers who takes the time to check these sources?

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On the dancers' biographies in program books, if they got them from the Maryinsky Theater press materials, that's legal and has always been done, I think. And the press people prepare materials with that in mind.

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It's legal, no doubt, but it's still a shame that the information provided is inaccurate and nobody checks ;)

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