Internationally acclaimed Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva told RIA Novosti Monday that she would celebrate the 15th anniversary of her dancing career later this week with an exhibition and a ballet gala.
The exhibition, featuring photography and video material of Vishneva’s dancing, opens at the Museum of Theatre and Music Arts on June 22. The gala, with a program built around several contemporary dance productions, will take place at the Mariinsky Theater on June 23.
“I'm in no way trying to sum anything up with this exhibition. It’s an attempt to talk about what interests me at this moment,” Vishneva said. “Earlier this year, we released Angelin Preljocaj’s ‘Le Parc’ at the Mariinsky Theater. I then went on to prepare ‘Lady of the Camellias,’ one of my favorites. And now I’m focused on my work with the Martha Graham company.”
Vishneva, who has been dancing with the American Ballet Theatre since 2005, said she will present “Anna Karenina” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in July, a new production that is devoted to the veteran Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.
Natalia Metelitsa, director of the Museum of Theatre and Music Arts in St. Petersburg, said the exhibition will be in a multimedia format. “It will feature photos, installations and videos showing the ballerina in action. Why canonize Diana Vishneva, when we can see her on stage? This is an unprecedented show for our museum, as we usually stage retrospective exhibitions.”
The ballerina's father suggested the idea for the exhibition, and he contributed most of the photographic materials. The video highlights include director Rustam Khamdamov’s film ‘Diamonds,’ starring Vishneva, which was entered in last year’s Venice Film Festival.
Vishneva’s June 23 gala at the Mariinsky Theater will feature “Errand into the Maze,” choreographed by Martha Graham, one of the founders of contemporary dance. This will be the first showing of “Maze” in Russia.
“Two years ago, I saw a performance of the Martha Graham company, and felt a strong affinity,“ Vishneva said. “I knew there were no classical dancers in her productions, so I was amazed when she invited me to work with the company for a whole season. For this reason I knew immediately that I wanted to perform something from the Graham repertory at my gala. It’s so strange that productions by this extraordinary choreographer are still not presented in Russia.”
The gala’s program is built around contemporary dance pieces. According to Vishneva, this is because a classical image is too hard to present within the framework of a gala. She also believes that it is important that the Mariinsky Theater pays more attention to contemporary ballet.
The gala also features episodes from “Three Point Turn” by choreographer Dwight Rhoden, Angelin Preljocaj’s “Le Parc,” and John Neumeier’s “Lady of the Camellias,” among others. Vishneva will dance together with Roberto Bolle, Desmond Richardson, Benjamin Robert Schultz, and Vladimir Malakhov.
A St Petersburg native, Vishneva entered the Vaganova School of Ballet at the age of 11. She won the gold medal and the grand-prix at the Lausanne ballet competition in 1994 and got her first lead part at the Mariinsky Theater the next year.
Her career as a guest dancer with foreign companies began in 2001, when she appeared in the ballet “Manon” with the Bavarian Ballet and in “The Sleeping Beauty” with Milan’s La Scala Ballet. Since 2005, she has been a prima ballerina with the New York City-based American Ballet Theater.
Vishneva is the winner of numerous awards and titles, including the Benois de la Danse, Best European Dancer and the Ballerina of the Decade, among several others.