Mariinsky Ballet

The Vaganova Academy has been a powerhouse for supreme technicians and artists for centuries. Iconic names—Balanchine, Nureyev, and Zakharova, to name a few—have sprung from the St. Petersburg school. Vaganova training transforms students to master the most difficult aspects of ballet technique, allowing room to grow into the utmost performers.

Sochi's glittery closing ceremony last night celebrated Russian culture, and no such celebration would be complete without ballet, of course. But leave it to the Olympics to bring Russia's two great—and very competitive—ballet houses together.

In a controversial move, former Bolshoi Ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze has been appointed rector of the renowned Vaganova Academy, associate school of the Mariinsky Ballet.

It's only every so often that we get to peek behind the curtains of the world’s most acclaimed ballet companies. So when this video of the Mariinsky Theatre and Vaganova Ballet Academy came across our desks, we couldn't wait to watch it. The 25-minute documentary, titled Ballet, Sweat and Tears, features interviews and footage of young students at the academy as well as first soloist Oxana Skorik and prima Diana Vishneva at the Mariinsky, plus insight from Vishneva's coach. It goes in the studios, through the theater and to their apartments.

Who's ready for the Mariinsky Ballet to pop off their movie theater screen tomorrow? Ekaterina Kondaurova is! We love this pic of her in a tutu, tiara and 3-D glasses. She's starring in the James Cameron–produced live 3D screening of Swan Lake tomorrow. U.S. theaters will begin showing it at 6:30 pm. Check out fathomevents.com for ticket info and local listings near you.

The Mariinsky Ballet's exquisite Ekaterina Kondaurova is coming to your local movie theater in 3D next month—courtesy of Avatar director James Cameron. The acclaimed filmmaker has teamed up with Mariinsky director Valery Gergiev to broadcast the first-ever live 3D ballet. Audiences across the U.S., Europe, South America, Australia and Asia will be able watch Kondaurova perform Odette/Odile in Swan Lake in real-time from St. Petersburg.