Portland By Night 1991
First Childe of Inez Who Has A Lot On Her Plate
People’s Artist of Russia, laureate of the Russian state prize, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, étoile of La Scala, Svetlana Zakharova was born in Lutsk (Ukraine). At the age of 10 she entered the Kiev Choreography School. Having spend six years in the class of Valeria Sulegina, she took part in the international young dancers contest “Vaganova Prix” in Saint Petersburg, where she was the youngest ballet dancer. Then at the age of 15 Svetlana won the second prize.
After the contest she accepted the invitation to go to the famous Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg. She skipped the second class and went straight to the graduating class which was the only case in the whole history of this educational institution.
Zakharova immediately drew attention to herself and six months later, she took invitation to perform a solo part in the ballet “Don Quixote” in the Mariinsky Theatre. The graduate from the class by Elena Evteeva perfectly managed to perform one of the most complicated classical roles – the Queen of the Dryads. This is how the young star of the Russian ballet was rising. When she was seventeen, Svetlana Zakharova graduated from the Vaganova Academy and in nearly no time she was accepted into the legendary ballet company of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Svetlana was noticed by the outstanding teacher of the Mariinsky Theatre and a famous ballet dancer the People’s artist of Russia Olga Moiseeva. Under her guidance, Zakharova debuted as Maria in “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”. Then she danced Gulnara in “Le Corsaire” and performed “The 7th Waltz and Mazurka” in “Chopiniana”.
But the most tremendous success was brought to her by the role of Giselle in the ballet of the same name. Both the audiences and the ballet critics were full with excitement about Zakharova’s performance and demonstrated incredible interest in her. Shortly after the premiere Zakharova received an offer from Vladimir Vasiliev to join the company of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
Having received her official ‘prima’ status at the age of 18, Svetlana continued her work for the Mariinsky Theater expanding her repertoire with classical and modern pieces: “The Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake”, “Bayadère”, “Don Quixote”, – as well as premieres by George Balanchine. Zakharova successfully performed the pas des deux by Tchaikovsky and starred in “Apollo”, “Serenade”, “The Symphony in C” and “Diamonds in Jewels”. Zakharova also met with the great choreographer John Neumeier. In his ballet “Now and then” the young ballet dancer was presented as an ultra-modern artist, capable of mastering styles and genres of dance beyond the art of classical ballet.
dancer was presented as an ultra-modern artist, capable of mastering styles and genres of dance beyond the art of classical ballet.
At the same time she starts to receive international recognition. Her global fame is rapidly growing. In 2001, she signed her first contract with L’Opera de Paris for “Bayadère”. It was the first time in thirty years when a ballet dancer from Russia had a chance to perform on French capital’s famous stage.Zakharova is on tour to every part of the world: New York Metropolitan Opera, London Covent Garden, The Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Teatro di san Carlo in Napoli, Vienna Opera, National Theater in Tokyo, stages in many cities of Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. La Scala signs a long-term contract with her and awards her with the status of étoile. It was the first time in the history of this great theater, no Russian ballet dancer had been awarded this honor before.