Spotlight: Ulyana Lopatkina

Today's Spotlight Saturday focuses on the recently retired Russian ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina.

In 'The Dying Swan'

Lopatkina was born October 23 1973 in Kerch, Ukraine. She started taking dance classes at a young age, eventually being accepted into the Vaganova Academy. She studied under Galina Novitskaya and Natalia Dudinskaya. While still a student, Lopatkina won the 1991 Vaganova-prix Competition in St. Petersburg.

In 'Raymonda'

After she graduated in 1991, Lopatkina joined the Kirov/Mariinsky Theatre. She made her soloist debut in 1994 as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, for which she received the Golden Sofit award. In 1995, she was promoted to Principal Dancer. At this point she trained under Olga Moiseeva, Ninel Kurgapkina, and Irina Chistyakova.

As Odile in 'Swan Lake'

Lopatkina has performed some of the most famous roles of ballet, including Giselle and Myrtha in Giselle, Medora in Le Corsaire, Nikiya in La Bayadere, Paquita in Paquita, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Raymonda in Raymonda, the Swan in The Dying Swan, Zobeide in Scheherazade, and Zarema in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. She has also had roles in The Legend of Love, Leningrad Symphony, Pas de Quatre, Serenade, Piano Concerto No. 2, Symphony in C, La Valse, Jewels, In the Night, The Nutcracker, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, Goya-Divertissement, Le Baiser de la Fee, Le Poeme de l'Extase, In the Middle. She has danced with the Mariinsky, the Bolshoi, the Royal Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the La Scala Opera Ballet, the New York City Ballet, and the Helsinki Ballet.

In 'The Dying Swan'

Lopatkina has been made an Honoured Artist of Russia (2000) and a People's Artist of Russia (2006). She has received the Golden Mask Award (1997), the Benois de la Dance (1998), and the State Prize of Russia (1999). She performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, as well as at a London gala celebrating Galina Ulanova.

In rehearsal

Unfortunately, Lopatkina was unable to dance during the 2016-2017 season, and has been forced to retire due to injury. She will be sorely missed.

The curtain call for 'Swan Lake' at the Royal Opera House, 2009

Here she is in The Dying Swan at the Mariinsky:

In the Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake:

And finally, as Odette in Swan Lake:

Thanks for reading!

- Selene

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