As Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty" © Marc Haegeman


After many dramatic roles, today the Principal dancer at the Dutch National Ballet hopes to have more opportunities to show her comedian side. Yet she loves dancing romantic ballets and today she is beyond happy to finally have the chance to dance the role of Juliet. Now that she is one of the most in-demand ballerinas of our time, Olga Smirnova opens up about it all: from her training in Saint Petersburg and an unexpected opening night at the Bolshoi to her decision to leave Russia and her new life in the Netherlands. But don’t call it courage as to her, “courage is something entirely different. Courage is about facing the war first hand”. Moreover, here she reveals her fear of cycling and her love for reading

By Alessandro BIZZOTTO

Olga Smirnova is no stranger to taking risks or breaking barriers. In 2011 she left her hometown Saint Petersburg and moved to Moscow despite the tradition according to which the Vaganova graduates join the Mariinsky. A few years later, she became the first Russian ballerina to dance Tatjana in “Onegin” on the stage of the Bolshoi. Less than one year ago, at the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, she moved to Amsterdam as “we can not remain indifferent to this global catastrophe”.

Today, the Principal dancer of the Dutch National Ballet is one of the A-list ballerinas of her generation. Her name is synonymous with eclecticism and smart, striking style. Our interview takes place during the holiday season. She has finished her run of performances of “The Sleeping Bauty” a few days ago. She is focused and meditative as she listens to me – she takes interviews very seriously, I soon realize.

As Raymonda © Altin Kaftira

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