Diana Vishneva Does Graham

May 22, 2012

Photos by Jim Lafferty

Most Russian ballerinas spend their careers polishing and repolishing their Auroras, Giselles, Odettes and Odiles. Diana Vishneva is not most Russian ballerinas. Ever eager for a new challenge, Vishneva chose to perform Martha Graham’s Errand into the Maze last June, at a gala in St. Petersburg celebrating her 15-year anniversary with the Maryinsky Ballet. “I wanted to feel the structure of Graham’s choreography on my body, to see how it would fit,” she says. “And I thought that Errand was exactly what I needed—I prefer to work with a partner, and I like pieces with sets and costumes, pieces that have a sense of spectacle. I knew those aspects of Errand would help me become comfortable with the new style.” Her performance marked the first time Russian audiences had ever seen Graham. Their response, to both the choreography and Vishneva, was wildly enthusiastic.

Vishneva reprised the role this March in New York City, first at the Martha Graham Dance Company gala and again the same week in her own production, Diana Vishneva: Dialogues. Pointe sat in on one of her rehearsals with her partner, Abdiel Jacobsen of MGDC, and coach Miki Orihara, the Graham veteran who has worked with Vishneva from the beginning of her Errand journey.