In my personal life I have no one with whom I can share my sheer joy at hearing of Evgenia Obraztsova’s move to the Bolshoi, and the fact that she was hired as a principal there. So I’ll babble and blubber here.
I’ve never been a professional dancer, but I can sympathize a bit with what she must have gone through at the Maryinsky. I’ve had many jobs where I was given massive responsibilities, worked hard, did well, but was not appreciated. In fact, I have a job like that right now.
Often, all you can do is leave. Somehow I doubted Obraztsova would do that. She seems, heart and soul, part of the Maryinsky. Born in St. Petersburg, nurtured at the Vaganova Academy, she grew into a pure Maryinsky ballerina. She just has that identity stamped all over her every move.
The frustration of never getting that final promotion must have been intense, and frankly I never could figure out how she could stand it. I did understand totally when she seemed to be guesting more and more with other companies; after all, Vishneva has carved her career out in a similar fashion. But Vishneva got her big promotion, and somehow Obraztsova was always left behind. And then Somova came along and blew past her –even with all the questions about Alina’s acting ability, hyperextension, technique, and so forth. Obraztsova never had any of those problems. But still, she languished at First Soloist. The Maryinsky refused to notice even when she made her debut as Odette/Odile elsewhere.
The only plausible explanation I ever heard for this was that Evgenia is tiny, and the Maryinsky currently strongly favors tall ballerinas. But still, that seems rather stupid to me. It apparently seems rather stupid to the Bolshoi, too.
I have already read on some ballet-discussion boards questions about whether Obraztsova will fit in at the Bolshoi; after all, she is such a pure Maryinsky-style ballerina. But I think she’ll do just fine. She managed to adjust quickly to the Royal Ballet’s style, and even Balanchine ballets haven’t seemed to cause problems for her. She isn’t set in stone. She can do anything she puts her mind to. I think the Bolshoi’s management can already see that.
And it’s not as if other Maryinsky ballerinas haven’t crossed over to the Bolshoi in the past. Some big names have, among them Svetlana Zakharova.
So that’s it. Nothing much to say here except that I’m glad all is said and done, and Evgenia finally has what has been due to her for a long time. May she enjoy it for many years to come.