Top Bolshoi dancers defect to modern Mikhailovsky
By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and Olga Sichkar
MOSCOW (Reuters) - One of the Bolshoi Theatre's most promising dance partnerships is leaving its Moscow stage to join the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, both companies told Reuters on Monday.
Prima ballerina Natalia Osipova, 25, and principal dancer Ivan Vasiliev, 22, will leave the newly renovated Bolshoi to work with the Mikhailovsky Theatre's new Spanish artistic director Nacho Duato.
In January, modern choreographer Duato became the first foreigner in a century to lead a Russian ballet troupe, vowing to breathe new life into the Russian stage by bringing a modern twist to its classical repertoire.
Osipova and Vasiliev will debut at their new theater in March in a ballet tailor-made for them by Duato.
Mikhailovsky Theater director Vladimir Kekhman told Reuters he had signed the dancers to a five-year contract from December 1, following talks that lasted a year and half.
"The reason they are switching theatres is definitely not the money," Kekhman said. "Money is irrelevant to creative people. They are coming here in search of creative growth."
The new position will offer the dancers a chance to expand their repertoires and tour the world's main stages, he said.
"These guys really want to dance, and the Bolshoi doesn't give them enough performance opportunities," Osipova's dance tutor Marina Kondratyeva told Russia's Izvestia daily newspaper. Continued...