Spotlight Saturday: Diana Vishneva

In this week's Spotlight Saturday, the spotlight is on Russian ballerina Diana Vishneva.

Vishneva was born on 13 July 1976, in St. Petersburg, Russia (then Leningrad). She began to attend dance lessons at the Palace of Pioneers aged 6, before being accepted into the Vaganova Academy in 1987. Her teachers included Lyudmila Belskaya and Lyudmila Kovaleva.

In 'Romeo and Juliet'

In 1994, Vishneva competed at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, taking the top prize - the Gold Medal - with a miniature Carmen, arranged specifically for her by the Vaganova Academy's Artistic Director Igor Belsky. While still training, Vishneva danced the role of Kitri in Don Quixote for the Mariinsky Ballet in 1995. She received the Benois de la danse award in 1996 for this role. She also performed the title role in Cinderella and Masha in The Nutcracker.

In 'Carmen'

In 1996, Vishneva debuted at the Bolshoi Theatre, again in Don Quixote. She continues to appear there in such ballets as Swan Lake, Lost Illusions, Giselle, and The Sleeping Beauty. With Mariinsky Theatre, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1999, and followed this in 2000 at Covent Garden in The Sleeping Beauty.

In 'Anna Karenina'

She began appearing as a guest star with international companies in 2001. She has danced Manon with the Bayerisches Staatsballett; The Sleeping Beauty with Teatro alla Scala; Giselle and La Bayadere with Berliner Staatsballett; and Don Quixote, Jewels, Manon, and Swan Lake with the Paris Opera Ballet. Since 2013, she has been a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, performing ballets such as Giselle, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Manon, Sylvia, The Dream, and Lady of the Camellias.

In 'Giselle'

Vishneva has been the recipient of many awards - not only the Prix de Lausanne Gold Medal and Benois de la danse award, but also the State Prize of Russia, the Divine prize, a Golden Sofit, the Spirit of the Dance prize as 'Queen of the Dance', six Golden Masks, and the Ballerina of the Decade prize. She has also been named a People's Artist of Russia and announced the best dancer in Europe. In 2010, she created the Diana Vishneva Foundation, which works in Russia, America, and Japan to promote dance and support both young performers and retired dancers.

In 'Manon' with Marcelo Gomes

Here she is as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty:

And as Odette in Swan Lake:

Thanks for reading! Spotlight Saturday will be back in two weeks due to dance competitions, when the Spotlight will be on Misty Copeland.

- Selene

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