Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, major stars of the ballet world and two of Russia’s best-known classical artists, said this week that they were leaving the storied Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow for the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The New York Times reported that while a blow to the Bolshoi, which recently reopened after a long renovation, their defection is a coup for the Mikhailovsky, a lesser-known house that has received a large infusion of money from fruit tycoon Vladimir Kekhman, its general director.
Osipova, 25, and Vasiliev, 22, who are a couple, said they were leaving for “artistic freedom,” namely the chance to dance with other companies in addition to the Mikhailovsky and to broaden their repertories. They will first perform there on December 1 at a gala. The company’s artistic director, choreographer Nacho Duato, will create a full-length work for them to perform in 2012.
The news comes nearly two months after David Hallberg, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, announced that he was joining the Bolshoi, a rare move that was partly inspired by the chance to partner with Osipova.
In the interview Osipova said she would continue to dance with Hallberg. “We share the stage at American Ballet Theatre,” she said, pointing out that after a Giselle that they recently danced together at the Bolshoi, no other joint engagements there had been planned
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