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Diana Vishneva in the USA

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Could I please use this topic to reminisce for a moment. It seems appropriate here.

I saw Diana Vishneva last January (DC) in two performances of Ratmansky's Cinderella. The press seemed to have missed these completely, probably because it wasn't their night to go. I would have posted something here at the time, but I didn't know how.

Based on these two performances (plus two years of attending live performances and watching tons of videos of other ballerinas) Diana Vishneva secured her place in my mind alongside the all-time greats.

What this woman did was simply to combine 'Incredible Gymnastics' with the 'Grace of A Celestial Being'!

She did it twice! I've never seen anything like it before or since.

I've seen other performances and videos by her and although often brilliant they have never been completely the same. Still the elements are always there.

I'll repeat a feeling I have that at any special moment any human being can be the best in the world at what she or he is doing, for the good.

In the art of ballet I think that Diana Vishneva can do this much more often than your average artist. Would anyone else like to comment on this?

I mention all this here as a recommendation to try and see her during her US performances or anywhere else. The result could be spectacular!

Can I finish with an added thought about it all.

"We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts."

-Madeleine L'Engle

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I'll say that she is not THE best in the world, but that she is one AMONG the best in the world at this time.


My thought too. I tend to shy a bit clear of absolutes (i.e. "the best") but man I fell for her in a big way last year with her Firebird DVD, the Stars of the 21rst Century

and her ABT dates in NYC.

In NYC Swan Lake, Giselle, Ballet Imperial (I missed Don Q). Wow. If she had gone to Detroit on the Kirov Tour I might have gone.

Anyway, I'm now a big fan. :devil:

Maybe next month in Kings of Dance????????????


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Cygnet, richard it was good to read your comments. I also tend to stay away from absolutes. Something could always happpen tomorrow that could greatly change things.

I have to recall my qualifier "in my mind" to begin with. Someone else especially with more viewing experience and/or more technical knowledge and a different opinion would have to be respected.

Also I have to re-emphasize that my opinion is based on only two performances. I have read other postings describing one-time spectacular performances. This brings me back to my philosophy of "special moments" of greatness. Does a special moment qualify one for an all-time great designation?

I tend to stand by my perhaps 'sweeping statement' because of the overwhelming impression that she made on me and my video viewings of the generally accepted world's greats. I should again say "in my mind" and based on my viewing experience.

In any case I think for anyone's future appreciation, Diana Vishneva is a very significant talent capable of producing much future greatness.

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My reaction to seeing Vishneva for the first time was very like Buddy's. But I would add that neither of us has to hedge our admiration too much...Vishneva has an international reputation as one of today's ballet greats--a view I obviously share, though I, too, have only seen her dance twice. Those performances several years back: Giselle and Tchaikovsky pas de deux with the Kirov at the Met. I was completely dazzled. I don't think I ever saw the choreography of Giselle's Act I solo so wonderfully danced: but Vishneva also remained convincingly "inside" the ballet. She also offered thrillingly wild-looking (yet utlimately controlled) turns on Giselle's entrance in Act II. I know that when she danced Giselle with ABT last summer, Rockwell in the Times could not stop raving about the performance; recently when he did his overview of dance highlights of 2005, she was, more or less, the highlight of his list of highlights.

I believe there are dissenting views on her dancing -- people who don't admire her as much as some of us who are posting on this thread -- but she would most emphatically not qualify as someone who just happened to shine spectacularly on a certain night. She has been far too widely admired by far too many people to consider one of her great performances anomalous. Those who don't like her, don't like her--and they could give you their reasons themselves--but that is not because they are seeing different performances. I'm not saying Vishneva has never had an "off" night, or that some nights may not be extra special--just that she is a ballerina of established quality...who typically can be counted on to thrill those susceptible to her qualities.

(When it comes to one time special magic -- when a more ordinary dancer outdoes her or himself in a given performance...I would say it's thrilling when it occurs and, for me, certainly qualifies as a "great" performance; still if a dancer really only peaked like that once or twice in their career and was otherwise merely, say, a solid dancer, then I would not desicribe them as a "great" dancer per se. As already noted, I do consider Vishneva a great dancer.)

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Vishneva is one of those rare dancers (among the current crop, Alina Cojocaru and Marcelo Gomes are others) whom I cannot be objective about. She stole my heart, and hasn't given it back.

And I love her website, with the Q&A. I especially love her English, which I affectionately call "Dianglish" (and I mean this in a totally good way).

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I also love her website, and I love the open interview section. What a wonderful way to stay in touch with your fan base! I posted a question there a couple of weeks ago and she (or someone) posted a reply in that charming Dianglish within a day or 2. By the way, great name for her “dialect” canbelto.

I don’t consider her to be a dancer that I can’t be objective about, but I do consider her to be one of the top dancers in the world today, and certainly a great ballerina by any standard. Even thought I love her dancing, IMO her physique is a little too neoclassical (those long arms and legs) and her style can come dangerously close to gymnastic at times - a little too modern for my taste in classical ballet. But still – she is a beautiful ballerina and a wonderful artist. I have seen her on tape – the same tape that Richard refers to and I also have a tape of her dancing the 3rd act pas de deux from La Bayadere at the St. Petersburg 300th Anniversary Celebration. I’ve seen her live several times now, all in the past year. I saw her dance Rubies twice (at the 21st century gala in NY and at the Kirov Spectacular in DC), Romeo & Juliet Pas at 21st Century, Ballet Imperial & Swan Lake with ABT (I missed DQ & Giselle) and Aurora with the Kirov in LA. Her Swan Lake was very dramatic and her Aurora was truly spectacular, technically perfect and so full of joi d’vivre

I am DYING to see her Giselle, but I would also like to plan a trip to DC in June to see some of her Mariinsky colleagues in Giselle (they have a few other dancers who are also not too shabby) and the Royal Ballet in Sleeping Beauty. So I really wish she & ABT would get together and finalize the dates of her appearances. That would make it a little easier for me to plan my trip…

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I'm loving this discussion. Thank you all.

I would like to go back again to Diana's two performances of Ratmansky's Cinderella (DC, January 2005) because these were among the highlights of my life-long viewing experience.

First of all I will mention again that she did equally well both nights making it more than a one-time phenomenon. In more down-to-earth terms ,what she did was to take Ratmansky's more modern 'stop-and go'-somewhat gymnastic choreography and perform it with the total grace of a prima ballerina. She combined modern and classical with an excellence that I had never imagined before. This is perhaps the reason I gave her an all-time great designation.

She went into completely new territory for me with a mastery approaching perfection! This for me gives her historical significance.

I saw other dancers perform the ballet wonderfully, but it wasn't the same. I must say that Natalia Sologub in the final moments of her last night performed beautifully in another genre, a totally classical one. Also I would like to say that Igor Kolb as a very reliable partner, especially in the lifts, seemed to give Diana the security she needed to go the limit--to maybe take chances. I am always glad to know that he is performing with her. Besides being fine himself he allows Diana to shine at her best.

I also saw Diana in L.A. as Aurora. There she did something that I read Nina Ananiashvili had once done. She took matters into her own hands. Her partner that night was very good, but his lifts didn't seem to be the most confident. She simply ingnored this and extended herself in the most beautiful unprotected poses. She could have landed flat on her face. Instead she soared.

Drew, I almost completely agree with your quote that she is "thrillingly wild looking, yet ultimately (I would say "totally") controlled". I think this is a cornerstone in describing her and can't be emphasized enough.

In DC the same confidence occurred. She simply took over the stage. Even sitting in the corner during someone else's performance she stayed the focus. This was stage presence with the technical ability to back it up. All good performers have this. When she was there everyone seemed to perform better.

Now let me try another angle. This involves ascending to a higher level of excellence and staying there. Torvill and Dean in figure skating may be a related example. These two performances by Diana Vishneva for me is another.

Maria Alexandrova was once asked whether she believed in a mystical sort of spirituality during a performance. She replied that she had never experienced this, but when she starts to perform she does become a sort of different person--perhaps transcending a bit.

I think that many of us have experienced this or have observed this in performances. When you aren't as self conscious you may do better.

Diana it seems interestingly to me can take her ego with her and stll reach remarkable heights. It is a funny idea because I am somewhat referring to a 'Diva' in the 'twilight zone'. A very unusual concept.

I read someone once who said that when you reach the level of excellence of Diana Vishneva criticism really doesn't have much meaning. How do you discuss a person out in the 'twilight zone'? You can of coarse, but how much meaning does it have?

As an amusing (perhaps) aside, I live part of the year in Switzerland and try to see the Lausanne dance competition whenever I can. Last year there was one tiny dancer that I loved. I called her "Tara Lapinsky in the Twilight Zone"! She was on her own little cloud, technically fine, I thought, and totally charming.--She didn't even make it into the third round! So much for the 'twilight zone'! I was heartbroken, but I will always remember her and hope that someone will find a place for her. I have to look through my notes to find her name. She is from Russia.

Back to Diana. Yes, nysusan, I also consider her "close to gymnastic" with in my opinion a bit of an 'ego' showing, but what does this mean if you are in the 'cosmos', somewhere in the land of the gods and goddesses. (I am not by the way a religious person and am not really interested in mysticism. I guess that I am just trying to be a bit light-hearted about it all.)

In the case of Diana's two DC performances, I feel that she really was 'out there' in her level of excellence. In my live viewing experience I have seen elements of this in Uliana Lopatkina, who I love, but not a complete package. I dream of that!

OK, you've achieved 'cosmic' excellence. What do you do with it?

Once again...

"We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts."

Madeleine L'Engle

Drew, by the way, thanks for clearing up my own thinking for me on 'special moments of greatness'. I don't think it could have been said better.

Just a bit more. I went to the L.A. Sleeping Beauty not sure of what to expect. I had considered Diana somewhat of a 'gymnast' a 'cosmic gymnast--beyond mortal discussion', but still perhaps a sort of gymnast. I wasn't sure how she would handle a real classic.

I was very pleasantly surprised. She did pretty well. Again 'pretty well' as gauged on some sort of 'heavenly' scale. This is purely classical stuff and not the Forsythian variety of which I consider her to be an undisputed Mistress. If with maturity (not necessarily age and not necessarily adulthood), with some kind of lessening of the ego factor (albeit 'cosmic ego--beyond mortal discussion') and with her apparent dedication to her art--she could be even more of a performing wonder to behold!

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Excellent: a Diana appreciation thread! She is one of my favorite ballerinas currently dancing. I've seen her dance Nikiya, Rubies, and Aurora live, and she's always astounding both in her dancing verisimilitude and expressive range . In La Bayadere, she had this emotional complexity that's very hard to describe, but gives so much depth to Nikiya and her plight. In Rubies, dare I saw that she does Balanchine better than the Balanchine specialists? OK, there I've said it. :) And as Aurora, she danced like her character's name: everytime she came on stage, it was like someone turned on an extra spotlight: she beamed to the rafters. Her 2nd night Rose Adagio was literally flawless.

I need to see her in Giselle, and I hope to to see her in Forsythe when the Kirov brings their Forsythe program to DC this summer. I wonder what her Juliet and Odile/Odette will be like when the Kirov takes residency at OCPAC this fall.


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I always think that for ballet dancers, the beauty comes from within, because on the surface they are all beautiful. But the ballerinas that I love I feel have this inner beauty that draws me in like a moth to a flame.

I found this very entertaining interview with her online. It instantly made me a fan of hers -- I just loved her candor, and :) about her comments on Broadway shows. (I agree with her for the most part too.) I'll copy and paste:

Q.: Is there any difference between Russian and American public?

A.: The American public is strange. I am not sure the Americans understand the aesthetics, beauty and culture of dance. They go into raptures over the settings or athletic tricks. This is only natural but some deeper comprehension is desirable. Only a couple of reviews were so-so, the rest were quite enthusiastic. Everybody was amazed our company is so young and called it the best in the world. Formerly, the critics wrote about the spirit of The Maryinsky, about our legs, feet and insteps, now they say: "Look, they are so young but they can already do so much".

Q.: Does American criticism differ much from Russian one?

A.: It was possible to talk about Russian criticism before, now it is almost non-existent (At this point I gasped and was deprived of speech. - I.S.) At home our production are rarely discussed, but in the USA every performance was thoroughly analized, each dancer was scrutinazed and taken stock of.

Q.: Do you read ballet reviews and critical articles?

A.: Yes, I do, but I immediately forget them. Whatever critics say -either praise or savage my performance - I consider all this to be very personal: usual likes and dislikes. The only thing I have to believe is my coach's opinion. But when my performance is criticized I always think:"Let them write, it is better than to fall into oblivion".

Q.: What was your most successful day in New York?

A.: It was the day when I danced Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" recently revived. Obviously, that evening "the winds were breathing low, and my stars were shining bright".

Q.: What did you manage to see in New York?

A.: Fortunately the soloists had a few days off during the tour, so I was able to visit The Metropolitan Museum. I was taken to some Broadway shows which, honestly, I did not like at all. I never thought Broadway could produce such shows with such unprofessional actors.

Q.: You seem to be quite a successful balerina to-day. What do you lack?

A.: I have not yet danced many roles in our repertory. I've been dreaming of "La Bayadere" for a long time.I also want to dance Raymonda and Odette-Odile, but most of all I would like to work with a choreographer who would create a ballet specially for me. Then you have the feeling of an owner: this ballet is yours, it is your property.

Several days later the All-Russian newspaper "Commercial Daily” published the complete text of the interview under the title: "Vishneva does not like Broadway”.

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Diana Will Not Be In USA in February!

Diana's February appearances in the USA are no longer listed on her website. If you watch her "Performance" page eventially (it may take about a minute) a message will appear at the top of the screen that says, "Diana can not act in America in February 2006."


Andre, I don't have time to double check this right now, but I believe Diana is planning to perform in NYC this summer at the same time that the Kirov-Mariinsky will be in DC.


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...I need to see her in Giselle, and I hope to to see her in Forsythe when the Kirov brings their Forsythe program to DC this summer.  I wonder what her Juliet and Odile/Odette will be like when the Kirov takes residency at OCPAC this fall.


Andre, I don't have time to double check this right now, but I believe Diana is planning to perform in NYC this summer at the same time that the Kirov-Mariinsky will be in DC.


Hi Andre,

I asked Vishneva (through her website) when she is scheduled to dance with the Kirov in DC and she replied that she would not be joining them in DC due to her commitment to dance with ABT.

So if you need to see her Giselle you might want to think about combining a visit to NY with the DC trip, but be careful as her preliminary dates don't jive with ABT's. Be sure to let me know if you come out, it would be fun to see you again

Bummer that she's cancelled her appearances in the Kings of Dance program.


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Thanks Buddy and Susan. The Kirov is full of treasures so I'm not too worried about their Forsythe program (especially if we get to see Daria Pavlenko). I wonder who will take her place at Kings of Dance. I don't like ABT, but if she's dancing Giselle there, it may be worth the trouble.


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Canbelto, I related your posting to Diana Vishneva at her website and she posted a very nice reply. I suggested to her that she might enjoy the discussion here, "Diana Vishneva in the USA". She responded by saying that she did take a look at this page and would like to look again in the future. Keep up the good work!

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Ballet Talk's mission is the discussion of ballet issues and performances. We are not a fan site. While we always welcome posts that describe the virtues of performers, our purpose and goal is not to publish unabashed praise, particularly in the hopes that the dancers will read it. We do not want to create an environment in which posters are afraid to make well-reasoned, respectful criticisms, including negative ones. If she reads Ballet Talk, Miss Vishneva, like any other dancer, will find that not all reviews are uniformly positive, and I hope she, or any other dancer, does not expect otherwise.


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Hiding away in the middle of today's New York Times article on the Kings of Dance is the following, refering to Kings producer, Sergei Danilian.

(He is developing a solo program for Ms. Vishneva, which will include an all-female corps de ballet.)

Hope we get more information on this soon!

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There were "Ardani Artists" brochures available in the lobby at City Center during the Kings of Dance performances. They listed the upcoming North American bookings for their clients, including the Kirov Mariinsky ballet. In addition to the OC engagement it mentioned Chicago, Ottowa and Boston engagements in late October/early November 2006. There was no mention of repertory (with the exception of OC) or casting, but one can hope...

edited to clarify: There was no mention of Vishneva, I'm just hoping that she will be included on the Kirov tour. Here are dates & venues from the brochure:

Orange Co. Performing Arts Cntr, Segerstrom Hall,10/17 - 19 Romeo & Juliet,10/20-22 Swan Lake

National Arts Center, Southam Hall, Ottowa, Canada 10/26-29 (no rep listed yet)

Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, 11/1-5 (no rep listed yet)

Wang Center, Boston, 11/8-12 (no rep listed yet)


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According to Diana, she will be performing in October with the MT:

growsonwalls: Dear Diana, are you sick (flu, cold) or are you injured? Either way, hope you are healthy soon! Get well soon!

Diana: I had a flu. But I began to work already. Thank for wishes

Nora: Sorry to hear that you will not be able to dance Ondine because of your health. How disappointing! Anyway, get well soon. I look forward to seeing your performances again. Do you have any plan to tour with Mariinsky Ballet this year?

Diana: Thanks for wishes. I plan to participate in performances of Mariinsky theatre in USA (October)and Japan (November - December).

This is wonderful news, and for those who are big fans of Diana's unique, charming English (that I affectionately call Dianglish), there is even more wonderful news to be found in these answers. Diana, it seems, has finally learned it's "Thanks" instead of "Thank." I will miss "Thank" though ... :)

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