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.
Tsiskaridze is, to put it mildly, a polarizing figure. He has many admirers, but was fired from the Bolshoi in June after ongoing disputes with the company’s management. Some are hailing his Vaganova appointment as a savvy move, citing the dancer’s myriad connections. Others are worried that Tsiskaridze has little teaching experience and will continue to be a lightning rod for controversy—not what the troubled Mariinsky organization needs. Regardless, it’s safe to say that the announcement came as a surprise to pretty much everyone.
That’s not the end of the news from the Vaganova, either: Mariinsky prima Uliana Lopatkina, who is still dancing regularly, has also been named the school’s artistic director.
Judith Mackrell wrote an excellent piece for The Guardian discussing the questions raised by the two appointments. Click here to read her detailed assessment of the situation.