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Natalia

Anna Nikulina Awarded "Triumph" Prize

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Anna Nikulina, a 20-year-old corps member in the Bolshoi Ballet and 2003 graduate of the Moscow Choreographic Academy, was just named as one of 20 recipients -- representing all arts and letters -- of the "Triumph" prize. Nikulina debuted as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake in May 2004, at the tender age of 19.

These awards are traditionally granted during Russian Orthodox Christmas (Jan. 7) the following year, in a ceremony at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.

What is the "Triumph" prize, exactly? The following comes from a recent ITAR-TASS article on last year's ceremony:

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Founded in 1992 by oligarch Boris Berezovsky, the $50,000 Triumph Prize is given yearly to five outstanding artists "who foster Russia's artistic traditions and whose creations are deemed innovative." Berezovsky did not attend the Moscow ceremony, as he is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud and has received political asylum in Britain. According to press representative Yana Urmantseva, the exiled oligarch plays no part in choosing the Triumph Prize winners.

In 2000, the jury created a second category of prizes for 20 "young artists who are making their voices heard." Each jury member gets to name one winner, and laureates of this year's prize earn $2,500.

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The larger ($50K) prize has gone to several ballet artists in the past, including Nina Ananiashvili and, last year, Nikolai Tsiskaridze.

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