Alina Somova, Controversial principal of the Mariinsky Ballet.

In a comment on Google entitled, ‘Alina Somova- Dancer or Circus Pony’ she was essentially critised for being too acrobatic.  I find her beautiful with her long limbs, extended feet, high extension and musicality. She began by being smaller than some of the other students at the Academy. Like all young artists, there is a period when they wish to show off technical virtuosity.  Cornejo is also like that. It takes time to develop a deep artistry in a role. I remember a piano competition in Washington where each competitor played more and more difficult music. The judges were looking for artistic interpretation.  One famous male dancer said that when he was young, he used to dance like a fly caught in a paper bag.

Let me quote from the end of the article ‘Dancer or Circus Pony’:

‘Yuri Fateev [director of the Mariinsky] (not a man known for flash), insists that young Somova is special. Much the same used to be said about Sylvie Guillem. Fateev tells me he has full confidence: “You’ll see Alina’s potential in London.” Maybe. Last year I thought Somova 40 per cent intriguing and 60 per cent circus pony. This year as the Princess in Alexei Ratmansky’s new The Little Humpbacked Horse for the Mariinsky, she was a delight, as dewy as a milkmaid. After the show, ballet’s grande dame Maya Plisetskaya plucked her diamond earrings off her ears, handed them to the awestruck girl and told her to go grab herself a brilliant career.’

Alina Somova was born in St. Petersburg. She graduated from the Vagonova Academy of Russian Ballet in 2003 when she joined the Maryinsky Ballet ( at about age 17).

We open with Alina in the third year of a seven year course. She must be 12 or 13 here. She is the smallest student in the class with lovely feet and turnout. Your eye is drawn to her because she is very musical.

May I introduce her, if you do not know her, in this Tchaikovsky pas de deux (above).

Her fouettes are beautiful. When she takes her leg from devant to second, she actually lifts in the whip:


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Astrid Thora,

    I think she’s grown tremendously! She did used to focus more on the showy tricks, but this odette was really powerful. She seems to understand how to identify with the characters now. Maybe that just comes with age for dancers, they need to mature and experience sorrow before they can portray complicated roles. Diana Vishneva is my favorite dancer however, she brings me to tears.

  2. Susi Müller,

    No ballerina deserves to be called circus pony. Shame on those people who said it! Alina Somova is a great lyric and romantic dancer, not everybody will like her, but how she was treated is a shame and some people are unable to correct their mistake.

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