Watch a former Bolshoi dancer stretch her boundaries with the National Ballet

Watch a former Bolshoi dancer stretch her boundaries with the National Ballet

From Russia, With Love (Image: Karolina Kuras)
 

Until last year, the doe-eyed ballerina Svetlana Lunkina was a principal dancer at Moscow’s world-famous Bolshoi Ballet, where she performed lead roles in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. She was renowned not only for her fluid physicality and extraordinary flexibility but also for her dramatic prowess. After a series of scandals at the ­Bolshoi—memorably, the acid attacks on its artistic director—Lunkina, her husband and their two children decided to make a permanent home of the house they’d kept in Kleinberg for the past three years (Lunkina’s husband is a Canadian citizen). The National Ballet came calling almost immediately. Today, she’s the company’s newest principal dancer, but rather than relying on her previous repertoire, Karen Kain and co. have offered Lunkina something new. Currently, she’s dancing the title character in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon—one of modern ballet’s most psychologically demanding roles, a part that requires earthy sensuality, avarice, elation, anguish and misery. Manon is a character Lunkina has always wanted to perform, one outside her traditional wheelhouse. It’s the right time, here in Toronto, to reveal something new—and we’re lucky enough to bear witness to that moment when a great artist begins to explore and evolve.

Nov. 8–16. $26–$249. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., 416-345-9595, national.ballet.ca.