At the Vaganova Ballet Academy, being chosen to dance a leading role in the final graduation performance is no small honor. One of the top ballet programs in the world, the Academy was founded in 1738 and has since trained countless stars, including Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Diana Vishneva (just to name a few). The technique taught at the school was created by one of its most influential teachers, Agrippina Vaganova, and her resulting curriculum is both intense and competitive.
In 2002, Evgenia Obraztsova’s final year at the school, the young ballerina was chosen to dance as the heroine of Konstantin Sergeyev’s Cinderella. In these three clips from the performance, Obraztsova’s technical prowess and charisma are clearly apparent in spite of her relative lack of experience dancing principal roles. Between the otherworldly quality of her entrance, the rock-solid control of her variation and the inspiring theatricality of her dancing in the grand pas de deux (even despite a few shaky moments), Obraztsova was clearly on her way to becoming a star. It is easy to see why she was immediately accepted into one of the world’s best companies—the Mariinsky Ballet—after this performance. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!