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© Ismene Brown 2017

Osipova rejoins Bolshoi as guest star

Polunin explains his indecision

Bolshoi woos Ratmansky & Osipova





'I’m now 29 and I can dance classical ballet well for 5 or 7 years, but sooner or later it will come to an end'

Osipova in Solo for Two  [photo Alexandr Shcherbak/TASS]

Osipova to star at Sadler's Wells

5 NOV 15  

Natalia Osipova's double whammy announcement of guesting with the Bolshoi in 2016 and her starring in a new choreography evening with Sergei Polunin at Sadler's Wells, London, next summer, is covered here by TASS.

It doesn't mention the scoop for fans that she will be dancing with Sergei Polunin, who said at the London press conference today that he and Osipova are an off-stage couple as well as potentially the most sought-after onstage ballet couple in the world. However, with their different commitments, it's proving difficult, he said, for them to dance together.

One rare chance where they will be together is in Novosibirsk, Russia, this New Year's Eve, when they will dance in Vainonen's old staging of The Nutcracker for the Siberian capital's company (whose general director is Vladimir Kekhman, also boss of the Mikhailovsky Ballet, St Petersburg, where Osipova flew off to from the Bolshoi four years ago).

The ballets Osipova has commissioned for Sadler's Wells will be a trio by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a duo by Russell Maliphant and a solo by Arthur Pita for a show next June/July - it appears that Maliphant's duet will be for her and Polunin.

Cherkaoui and Pita both made duets for Osipova and her former fiancé Ivan Vasiliev in their touring programme Solo for Two, seen this summer in London. Maliphant has long been associated with Sylvie Guillem, for whom he has been making original work for 12 years as she moved from ballet into contemporary dance.

In a statement for Sadler's Wells, Osipova said: “As a dancer I am always looking for the opportunity to challenge myself and try new things, so I am greatly excited about this chance to work again with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Arthur Pita, and work for the first time with Russell Maliphant. I’d like to thank Sadler’s Wells for giving me the chance to work with them on a contemporary programme by three choreographers I really admire.”

The evening is a co-production between Sadler's Wells and Moscow's Muz Art Management Company.

While the Royal Ballet has stressed that Osipova will dance her spring/summer schedule as a Principal of the company, it remains unclear what status she will be on with Britain's flagship company in future. Here's the TASS agency report in translation.

Osipova is looking at more Bolshoi shows

TASS, November 5, 15:00, by Igor Brovarnik

The international ballet star Natalia Osipova has told TASS that she is to appear this year in 5-6 productions this year [season] at the Bolshoi Theatre as a guest artist.

“Although there is no contract, there is an invitation to me to perform this year in 5 or 6 shows in the capacity of guest soloist which I’m very pleased about,” she said. “It’s great, because they came to me. During the year I’ll take part in Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Sylphide, Onegin and Giselle - practically my entire repertoire. The theatre’s general director Vladimir Urin is very interested in having me dance, and of course I’ll do it with pleasure, but my priority remains with the Royal Ballet,” she said.

Osipova remarked that the question of a contract as a guest artist is being looked at by the Bolshoi Theatre directorate.  “Next season I think we will agree on a larger number of shows on a guest contract. I’m very happy that the Bolshoi management came round to this as it’s nice to come back to one's home where people love one so much,” she said.

'I've been dreaming that at some point I'd change over into contemporary dance, because I'm interested in it'

The Russian ballerina talked about her creative plans, and also spoke about her collaboration with London’s Sadler's Wells Theatre, where she will appear before the public in June 2016 in contemporary ballet.

“It’s a totally different language, and you have to realise that it takes time. And if you take it up, you must do it seriously, not just some kind of amateur. If I do take up contemporary dance, then I must do it 100 percent. I have a particular experience, but a lot of it, and I’ve been dreaming for a while that at some point I’d change career over into contemporary dance, because I’m interested in it. I think that there’s a lot to discover in it. And I hope that in five years or so I’ll transit smoothly into that direction.

“I’m now 29 and I can dance classical ballet well for 5 or 7 years, but sooner or later it will come to an end, whereas I think that I can develop in modern dance and dance for a very long time,” she said.

Sadler's Wells Theatre is preparing a new programme of modern ballet dance for the spring-summer 2016 in which the chief figure will be a Russian ballerina.Her stagings will be with such well-known choreographers as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita.

A graduate of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, Natalia Osipova was accepted into the ballet of the Bolshoi Theatre in 2004. In 2011 Osipova left the Bolshoi Theatre and became prima ballerina in St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre. Since 2013 she has been principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden.