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Irina Kolesnikova

By Konstantin Tatchkin’s St Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Book review by Cassandra

February 2005

This beautiful book has been published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Konstantin Tatchkin’s St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre and is a lavish photographic essay of the company’s star, Irina Kolesnikova. Although still very young, Kolesnikova has come a long way in a very short space of time and has made it to the top in a slightly unorthodox fashion as she dances not with the Bolshoi or Kirov (despite being Vaganova trained) but with one of the newer touring companies that have emerged in recent years. The photographs, which are mainly in colour, are of a very high standard, taken mostly by Nina Alovert and Vladimir Zenzinov.

For those unfamiliar with Kolesnikova, she is best described as a blonde Russian beauty with soulful grey eyes, very much as I imagine Pasternak’s Lara from Dr. Zhivago, and you get a very good idea of her dancing from the photos in this book. Take note of the effortless jeté in “Giselle” and the unforced arabesque in the second act of the same ballet. Her “Swan Lake” is outstanding, a really original approach outlined in a critique by the ballet critic of The Times. Her broken-winged Odette contrasting vividly with her malicious scheming Odile, both roles superbly illustrated in this book. However I got no pleasure at all from looking at the pictures of her as Kitri, because it’s a role I haven’t seen her dance and now I know what I’m missing – she looks fantastic!

All Kolesnikova’s major roles are included and she is pictured on stage, in rehearsal and in class. I particularly appreciated the photos of her with her coach, the legendary Alla Osipenko; she is also shown rehearsing her newest role, Nikiya, with yet another former Kirov luminary, Lubov Kunakova. The book concludes with photos of the entire company enjoying the sunshine while on tour in Australia.

I just love books of this type as one good picture tells you more about a dancer than reams of prose and there are literarily scores of pictures of Kolesnikova in this book. Those people who know and admire this ballerina will want this book and those yet to see her will be won over by her artistry as soon as they look inside the covers.

Irina Kolesnikova by Constantin Tatchkin.  Agat, 2004.  120 pages.  ISBN 5943000372.

Edited by Staff.

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