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"A line has been drawn..."

Olga Smirnova was one of the most talented ballerina’s in the Bolshoi Ballet Company in Russia. She was born in St. Petersburg, on November 6th, 1991. When she was young, her mother encouraged her to follow her dreams and become a ballerina. Olga studied with some greats, took part in tours across Japan and Europe in 2004. She was only 13 years old. In 2011, she appeared in London at the Coliseum. After her graduation from Vaganova Academy, the Bolshoi recruited her in the rank of soloist, then first soloist, and then leading soloist during her second season, and prima ballerina in 2016.

In 2013, an article in The Telegraph described her as “a truly extraordinary talent… (she was) long limbed, with a swan-like neck, superbly pliant spine and ravishing, sway back classical line, she also has the agility of a soubrette. Her arms ripple with an unmistakable Russian, lighter than air lyricism, yet her soaring, apparently preparation free jump, which heightens the impression of buoyancy, also suggests great muscular strength… after barely 18 months, she is already a working definition of a star.”

Olga danced leading roles in La Bayadere, Diamonds, The Pharoah’s Daughter and Swan Lake, Onegin, Taming of the Shrew, Dream of Dream, Marco Spada, Sleeping Beauty, Ivan the Terrible, Apollo and Lady of the Camellias. They invited her to dance at the American Ballet Theatre in 2014. Cleary an extraordinary talent.

But also extraordinary in another way too. One of the Bolshoi’s prima ballerina’s resigned in disgust. She said it is simply not possible to work in Russia given the current circumstances of the vicious attacks in the Ukraine. She stated she was against the current war “with all the fibers of my soul.” Olga has a Ukrainian grandfather and says she is one quarter Ukranian. She believes that “we can not remain indifferent to this global catastrophe… I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia, I have always been proud of talented Russian people, of our cultural and athlete achievements… but now I feel that a line has been drawn that separates the before and after. In a modern and enlightened world, I expect civilized societies to resolve political matters only through peaceful negotiations.

Olga has joined the Dutch National Ballet, and will begin dancing immediately alongside the Brazilian soloist Victor Caixeta, who has left the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg also in response to the war.


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