Maria Alexandrova - Biography
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Maria Alexandrova

Born in Moscow on 20 July 1978, Maria Alexandrova started dancing at the age of four in an amateur dance ensemble before she entered the Moscow Choreographic Academy at the age of nine. There she trained with A.L. Kolenchenko, L.V.Dobrzhan, and in the two final years with S.N. Golovkina. Alexandrova graduated from the Academy in 1996 with a performance of the Grand Pas Classique (with Nikolai Tsiskaridze) and the Grand Pas from Paquita. After graduation she went on to complete her training at the Academy for one more year.

In 1997 Maria Alexandrova won a Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, performing the variations from Swan Lake (Odile) and from the Grand Pas Classique in the final round. At the closing gala evening she danced Grand Pas Classique with Nikolai Tsiskaridze.

The Gold Medal opened the doors of the Bolshoi Ballet for Alexandrova, where she was soon entrusted with solo parts and became one of the eye-catching young talents, proving to be equally at home in classical roles as well as in contemporary choreographies. The former artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Fadeyechev was back in 1999 full of admiration for Alexandrova. "Alexandrova has a superb technique and should become a great ballerina. She was wonderful in the 3rd movement of Symphony in C. She was really made for this part. John Taras praised her a lot." (interview for Dance View, Winter 2000).

Tatiana Golikova became Alexandrova's permanent coach at the Bolshoi, but she also has been preparing some roles with Tatiana Terekhova, Nikolai Fadeyechev, and Boris Eifman.

Magnificent in manner and grand in scale, as well as bold in attack and mature in assurance, Maria Alexandrova's appearances leave very few indifferent. Her dancing often provides a physical intensity and directness that is captivating. Her formidable ballon, as best demontrated by roles like Myrtha, Gamzatti, Kitri, Street Dancer, and the leading ballerina in the 3rd movement in Symphony in C, is pure delight. Yet, Alexandrova is more than just a talented bravura ballerina. In spite of all the technical brilliance, her dancing always remains harmonious in pose and phrasing, with a strong emphasis on placement of body and clarity of steps, while the excitement naturally grows out of the dynamics and the speed, rather than from cheap effects and flashy gymnastics.

Her partners at the Bolshoi include most of the company's leading male dancers, like Dmitri Belogolovtsev, Sergei Filin, Dmitri Gudanov, Yuri Klevtsov, Vladimir Neporozhny, Mark Peretokin, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, and Andrei Uvarov.

Maria Alexandrova has been touring worldwide with the Bolshoi Ballet, performing among others in Japan, Germany, Greece, Spain, Norway, Great Britain, France and the USA, receiving accolades from the leading dance critics. Sarah Kaufman in the Washington Post wrote of her Kitri in June 2000: "In her astoundingly strong and exuberant, performance, one saw the makings of a significant artist." Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times called Alexandrova "a golden girl, a streamlined dancer with the extraordinary Bolshoi spring in her leaps. She has beautiful placement, flair and sex appeal." Alexandra Tomalonis wrote in the Washington Post, reviewing the Bolshoi's La Bayadère at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, in June 2002: "Maria Alexandrova was technically invincible in the role of the jealous princess, Gamzatti. Her jumps were extraordinarily high even in this company of jumpers, and the audience exploded with applause after her rapid turns in the betrothal scene's final solo." Anna Kisselgoff added in the New York Times: "The bright star among the soloists is certainly Maria Alexandrova, who infuses her perfectly shaped classical style with a contemporary energy."

Maria Alexandrova received the "Soul of Dance" award in the category "Rising stars" from the dance magazine "Balet" in 1999. For her interpretation of Ramze in Lacotte's adaptation of La Fille du Pharaon Alexandrova was nominated for the Golden Mask Award of 2000. However, the Bolshoi Theatre decided to take the ballet out of competition before the Golden Masks were awarded.

On June 25, 2004, following a performance of La Fille du Pharaon Maria Alexandrova was promoted to principal dancer.

Marc Haegeman
(with special thanks to Mikhail Smondyrev in Moscow)

Her repertoire includes:

  • Queen of the Ball in Fantasy on the Theme of Casanova (M. Lavrovsky) (1997)
  • Myrtha in Giselle (Perrot/Coralli, Petipa, staged by Vasiliev) (1997)
  • soloist in Taming of the Shrew (Cranko) (1997)
  • 3rd Act variation in Don Quixote (Petipa, Gorsky, staged by Fadeyechev) (1997)
  • Violente in The Sleeping Beauty (Petipa, staged by Grigorovich) (1997)
  • soloist in Four Kisses (Mannes) (1997)
  • soloist in Troubles of Love (Mannes) (1998)
  • soloist in Dreams About Japan (Ratmansky) (1998)
  • 3rd Movement in Symphony in C (Balanchine) (1999)
  • variation (1st Act) from Raymonda (Petipa, staged by Grigorovich)
  • Street Dancer in Don Quixote (Petipa, Gorsky, staged by Fadeyechev) (1999)
  • soloist in Chopiniana (Fokine) (1999)
  • Empress Catherine in Russian Hamlet (Eifman) (2000)
  • Kitri in Don Quixote (Petipa, Gorsky, staged by Fadeyechev) (2000)
  • Ramze and Kongo Stream variation in La Fille du Pharaon (Lacotte after Petipa) (2000)
  • Gamzatti La Bayadиre (2000) (Petipa, Chabukiani/Ponomarev, staged by Grigorovich)
  • Juliet's friend in Romeo and Juliet (Lavrovsky) (2000)
  • The Prince's friend and Spanish Bride in Swan Lake (Petipa/Ivanov staged by Grigorovich) (2001)
  • soloist in Seconds Before the Ground (McIntire) (2001)
  • Aegina in Spartacus (Grigorovich) (2002)
  • title role in La Sylphide (Bournonvile, von Rosen) (2002)
  • The Ballerina (cr) in The Bright Stream (Ratmansky) (2003)
  • Esmeralda in Notre-Dame de Paris (Petit) (2003)
  • 1st variation in Pas De Quatre (Dolin) (2003)
  • Clйmence in Raymonda (Petipa, staged by Grigorovich) (2003)
  • Mekhmene Banu in Legend of Love (Grigorovich) (2003)
  • Aspiccia in La Fille du Pharaon (Lacotte after Petipa) (2003)
  • Juliet (cr) in Romeo and Juliet (Poklitaru) (2003)
  • The Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty (Petipa, staged by Grigorovich) (2004)
  • Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Neumeier) (2004)
  • title role in Leah (Ratmansky) (2004)
  • the Miller's Wife The Three-Cornered Hat (Massine) (2005)
  • Odette-Odile in Swan Lake (Petipa-Ivanov, staged by Grigorovich) (2005)
  • title role in Raymonda (Petipa, staged by Grigorovich) (2005)
  • soloist in Jeu de Cartes (Ratmansky) (2005)

Concert repertoire:

  • pas de deux Diana and Actaeon from Esmeralda
  • pas de deux from Le Corsaire
  • Grand Pas Classique (Gsovsky)
  • Mekhmene Banu's Monologue from The Legend of Love (Grigorovich)
  • pas de deux from Scheherazade
  • Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine) (2004)

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