In brief

Russian ballerina Olga Smirnova to perform for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 2023

Olga Smirnova and Jean-Christophe Maillot
Olga Smirnova and Jean-Christophe Maillot © Alice Blangero

The prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow left Russia in March in response to the war in Ukraine.

The talented Olga Smirnova, whose grandfather is Ukrainian, was the first Russian ballerina from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to take that step since the invasion of Ukraine began.  The dancer will regularly join Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo on stage in 2023, the company announced.

But it will not be her first performance in Monaco. The Artistic Director of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Jean-Christophe Maillot, had discovered her poise in 2014 at the Bolshoi, during the production of The Taming of the Shrew (role of Bianca) that he choreographed, and had invited her to perform on several occasions.

The Nutcracker, Compagnie Jean-Christophe Maillot / Olga Smirnova & Artem Ovcharenko © Alice Blangero

After leaving her country in March, Olga Smirnova joined the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. A few months later, the 31-year-old was voted Dancer of the Year 2022 by the readers of Dance Europe magazine, a great honour.

In January 2023, she will be seen with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo as Juliet when the company performs Romeo and Juliet in Seville. A few weeks later, on the occasion of the 50th Prix de Lausanne, presided over by Jean-Christophe Maillot, she will perform a Pas de deux from his Casse-Noisette (The Nutcracker). Finally, in April 2023, the young soloist will perform in Monaco, in the role of La Belle in the ballet of the same name.

You can see the full Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo programme here.