Olga Smirnova (Rus. Ольга Смирнова) and Artem Ovcharenko (Rus. Артем Овчаренко) in The Nutcracker Company adagio. Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Shot in the State Kremlin Palace (Moscow, Russia) on 15.10.2016, Kremlin Gala 2016.
Olga Smirnova (Rus. Ольга Смирнова) was born 1991. She is currently a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet. Born in St Petersburg, Smirnova comes from a family with no connections with ballet. Her mother encouraged her to take up the art at the Vaganova Academy where she studied under Lyudmila Kovaleva. She participated in the academy’s tours across Europe and Japan, performing in the 2004 presentation arranged jointly with the Royal Ballet School. In 2011, immediately after her graduation, she was recruited by the Bolshoi and spent just one day in the corps de ballet before taking on solos. Having joined the company as a soloist, she was promoted to first soloist in her first season and to leading soloist at the end of her second season in 2013.
Artem Ovcharenko (Rus. Артем Овчаренко) was born in Dnepropetrovsk (now Dnipr, Ukraine). He began to study dance at Dnepropetrovsk Ballet School, then he entered the Bolshoi Ballet Academy (class of Alexander Bondarenko). In 2007, after graduation from MCA he joined the Bolshoi Ballet Company where he started to rehearse with Nikolai Tsiskaridze. Now his master-repetiteur is Nikolai Fadeyechev.
The Nutcracker Company innovative production extravaganza by Jean-Christophe Maillot premiered back in 2013. The traditional story of The Nutcracker with music by Pyotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky, is once again re-imagined to create a mystical world of dreams and stories, told by passionate dancers with flamboyant costumes and scenery. This production is different from his previous Nutcracker Circus, that debuted in the Principality in 1999. Maillot believes in transformation, nothing ever stays the same. In this ultra modern interpretation Maillot recreates the life of a dance company using the same characters of the Hoffmann’s fairy tale from 1816, but molds it in his own way recreating his most dear memories as well as his phantoms.
Jean-Christophe Maillot (born 1960) is a French dancer and choreographer born in Tours. He studied at the dance conservatory in Tours before enrolling at the École supérieure de danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower, where Rosella Hightower was his primary teacher. Maillot was invited by John Neumeier to join the Hamburg Ballet in 1978, where he became a soloist and stayed until 1983, when an accident ended his career as a dancer. In 1983, he became the choreographer and director of the Ballet du Grand Théâtre in Tours. Since 1993, and on the appointment of Her Royal Highness Caroline, Princess of Hanover, he has been the artistic director of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.
Photo by Jack Devant ballet photography © with kind permission of the State Kremlin Palace, Kremlin Gala production company, special thanks ms. Alisa Aslanova.