Posted on November 14, 2011
Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev have left the Bolshoi for the Mikhailovsky Ballet, it was announced today. They have signed a 5-year contract with the St Petersburg company.
Sergei Filin, director of the Bolshoi Ballet, was quoted in Russian newspapers insisting that nothing had been signed yet. However, the Mikhailovsky has tweeted that “Ballet stars Natalia Osipova and Vladimir Vasiliev are now principals of the Mikhailovsky Theatre”. They are due to make their debuts on December 1.
News agency AFP quoted Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova: “I hope that in the next two weeks (the legal notice period), they will have a rethink. They are incredible artists who grew up in the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi is open for them and I hope it will stay their home.”
Vasiliev, who won the Dancing Times Best Male Dancer Award at the National Dance Awards, was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying he had become frustrated with the artistic conservatism of the Bolshoi.
“We are evolving and we want to go forward,” Vasiliev said on his Facebook page. “At the Bolshoi Theatre it is difficult to be pigeon-holed… We want to dance as much as possible, especially new choreography. For artists, the size of the stage doesn’t matter, but the opportunity to perform and raise the quality of the performance”. He and Osipova have signed a five-year contract with the Mikhailovsky, which is now directed by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato. Osipova said that the main reason for their exit was “a lack of repertoire.” The dancers were frustrated by repeatedly dancing the same signature roles.
Picture: Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Don Quixote with the Bolshoi Ballet. Photograph: Frederika Davis