Prima team

Bolshoi superstar Svetlana Zakharova takes centre stage at the London Coliseum this month. The acclaimed prima ballerina will be joined by Bolshoi theatre dancers for the first UK performance of Amore, a collaboration with three world-renowned choreographers

What would you like audiences to take away from Amore?

When I perform, I always want the audience to stay in high spirits. What makes the Amore programme unique is that it comprises three ballets, completely different in terms of mood, style, choreography and musical accompaniment. For a year-and-a-half since Amore came into existence, we have shown it in many countries and cities of the world. It is interesting that each of the three ballets finds its audience. And every member of the audience could take back home something personal.

What are you hoping UK audiences will enjoy most about the programme?

I am very curious about it myself. I can only say that all three ballets are completely different and they will please audiences with very different tastes. One thing I am pretty confident in is that no one will be able to remain indifferent.

Are you looking forward to performing in London?

I hope that the London audiences will love my new programme. I like London for its diversity and its vibrant theatre life. I love London’s parks and of course there is a lot of terrific restaurants.

Amore is a programme of three new ballets – how did you choose the three works, what inspired you about each one?
I wanted to try my hand at some new dance styles. I wanted to work on a bigger project which would let me be absolutely free and independent of any rules which in turn would allow me to go through different styles during one evening’s performance. It’s been made possible through my collaboration with MuzArts production company.

The very first ballet which I had dreamt about doing was Francesca da Rimini by choreographer Yuri Possokhov. I totally fell in love with this ballet and I would have done anything to dance in it.

Rain Before It Falls was made by choreographer Patrick de Bana specially for me. It is a philosophical piece done in his very idiosyncratic style. My idea was to finish the night with something funny and light. Marguerite Donlon did a great job filling her ballet, Strokes Through the Tail, with subtle humour and presenting her own unique view of Mozart’s famous 40th symphony and I take pleasure in being offbeat, odd, funny and different.

How did you cast Amore?
All artists participating in the project are my colleagues from the Bolshoi, I love every one of them and as soon as we confirmed the programme I asked them to take part.

Do you feel a responsibility to push the boundaries of the art form and experiment, as you have with Amore?

I am fond of experimenting. It’s another matter that I think the outcome of it must meet a high standard. If it works in a different way, you would rather keep your experiments to yourself and not take them beyond a ballet studio.

At what point in your life did you realise ballet was going to be a big part of it?

I think when I was 14 or 15. When I started to do all those complicated classical ballet movs properly. That was the time when I felt that excitement inside me to be a ballerina with a high level of performance. I started to understand that it was within my power and that excitement is still burning inside of me.

How did you cope with the expectation and responsibility of being a principal dancer at such a young age?

When I was 17, I started to dance the main part at the Mariinsky Theatre. Giselle was then a sensation in the world of ballet. As a 17-year-old girl, I was charged with such a complicated ballet, but nothing could scare me. As practise shows, succeeding is easier than maintaining the high standards throughout a career and it’s even more difficult to surprise and inspire sophisticated audiences every time. This is what my professional enthusiasm is all about; to be ahead of the game.

What’s next for you?
I have lots going on with both the Bolshoi and La Scala. My schedule is filled with dates for several years ahead. I have already started working on a new project which will premiere in Tokyo in 2019.

Svetlana Zakharova – Amore is at the London Coliseum from November 21 to 25. For tickets, visit