Svetlana Zakharova (dancer)

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Svetlana Zakharova
Svetlana Zakharova in Moscow 06-2015.jpg
Svetlana Zakharova in 2015
Born (1979-06-10) June 10, 1979 (age 37)
Lutsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Education Kiev Choreographic School, Vaganova Ballet Academy
Occupation Ballerina
Current group Bolshoi Ballet
Former groups Mariinsky Ballet

Svetlana Zakharova (Russian: Светлана Захарова, born June 10, 1979) is a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet[1] and an étoile of the La Scala Theatre Ballet.[2]

Early life[edit]

Zakharova was born in Lutsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, on June 10, 1979. At age six, she was taken by her mother to learn folk dancing at a local studio, and by age 10, she had auditioned and was accepted into the Kiev Choreography School. Her father's army reassignment to East Germany led to Zakharova's withdrawal from the school four months later.[when?] Her family returned to Ukraine six months after that,[when?] and Zakharova was readmitted to the School, where she joined the second class under teacher Valeria Sulegina. She then went on to study at St Petersburg's Vaganova Academy, before moving on to the Mariinsky.[3]

Mariinsky Ballet[edit]

Zakharova debuted with the Mariinsky Ballet in 1996, appearing as Maria with Ruben Bobovnikov, in Rostislav Zakharov's The Fountain of Bakhchisarai.

Bolshoi Ballet and after[edit]

By October 2003, Zakharova "was getting itchy feet" at the Mariinsky, and moved to the Bolshoi Ballet.[3] The offer from the Bolshoi company was longstanding, and the departure from the Mariinsky was reportedly due to discontent with that company.[4]

Today,[when?] Zakharova tours and appears as a guest artist with a variety of renowned ballet companies.[clarification needed] At La Scala Theatre Ballet in Italy,[when?] she danced with partner Roberto Bolle in Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and La Bayadère.

Zakharova was one of the dancers featured in the 2006 documentary Ballerina.


Zakharova is considered one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation and is highly regarded for her technical expertise, her exquisite footwork, and her exceptionally high extensions, and her musicality. Not all critics find her extreme positions aesthetically pleasing, as they do not conform to classical ballet norms.[5]

Tributes and accolades[edit]

Zakharova was awarded the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2005 for her portrayal of Hippolita (Titania) in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow,[6] and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 2006.[7] She has also been named a Prima Ballerina Assoluta. Only two other currently active prima ballerina hold this title in the world, and those are Alessandra Ferri of Italy, and Nina Ananiashvili of Georgia.

Personal life[edit]

Zakharova is married to Russian violinist Vadim Repin, and the couple have one child, a daughter Anna, who was born on February 17, 2011. She had withdrawn from the Bolshoi Ballet tour to London in the summer of 2010 citing a hip injury; she was pregnant at the time. Zakharova returned to dancing, and performed in London on May 15, 2011, in a gala performance celebrating Soviet ballerina Galina Ulanova.

A member of United Russia party, Zakharova was a vocal supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation during the Ukrainian crisis, which led to a break in her relationship with the Kiev Choreographic School in particular.[8]


  1. ^ "Svetlana Zakharova". Bolshoi Theatre. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Etoiles Biographies". Teatro alla Scala. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Monahan, Mark (15 July 2006). "The Jewel in the Bolshoi's Crown". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Ng, Kevin. "Interview with Zakharova". Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. 
  5. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (21 November 2011). "Sleeping Beauty Review". New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Nominees: Female Dancers". Prix Benois de la Danse. 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Presidential Decree of 05.06.2007 N 700". Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Ukraine Ballet School Rejects Charity from Pro-Putin Dancer". Agence France-Presse. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 

External links[edit]