Olga Smirnova (born 1991) is a Russian ballet dancer who is currently a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet. She has danced at venues across Europe as well as appearing in Beijing and Japan.
Born in St Petersburg, Smirnova comes from a family with no connections with ballet. Her mother encouraged her to take up the art at the Vaganova Academy where she studied under Lyudmila Kovaleva. The academy, which some consider as the source of modern ballet, is over 260 years old. She participated in the academy's tours across Europe and Japan, performing in the 2004 presentation arranged jointly with the Royal Ballet School. In 2011, immediately after her graduation, she was recruited by the Bolshoi and spent just one day in the corps de ballet before taking on solos. Having joined the company as a soloist, she was promoted to first soloist in her first season and to leading soloist at the end of her second season in 2013. In 2011, while still a student at the Vaganova academy she appeared in London at the London Coliseum to commemorate Galina Ulanova, who is said to be one of the greatest of ballerinas. For the commemoration routine, which was choreographed by A. Messerer and accompanied by Dvo?ák's Melody, Smirnova danced with S. Strelkov. She also danced, in June of that year, at Diana Vishneva's benefit performance at the Mariinsky theatre. The following month she was in Beijing, partnered by the Bolshoi's principal dancer Semyon Chudin, performing Grand Pas Classique (choreography by V. Gsovsky) to music by the 19th century French composer Daniel Auber.
In 2012 and 2013, she danced leading roles in La Bayadère, Diamonds, The Pharaoh's Daughter and Swan Lake. In 2013 she performed the role of Tatiana at the Bolshoi's premiere of Cranko's Onegin. She has created roles such as Bianca in Mailliot's Taming of the Shrew, Jorma Elmo's 'Dream of Dream', the Marquess in Pierre Lacotte's Marco Spada. Her repertoire also includes Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty, Anastasia in Ivan the Terrible, Terpischore in Balanchine's Apollo, Marguerite in John Neumeier's Lady of the Camellias.
in 2014, she was invited to guest with the American Ballet Theatre as Nikiya in Natalia Makarova's production of La Bayadere. She also danced the principal part in Diamonds, a part which she premiered in 2012, in the Bolshoi's broadcast of Jewels.
Writing in The Telegraph in March 2013, Mark Monahan found her "a truly extraordinary talent". He described her physique as: "Long-limbed, with a swan-like neck, superbly pliant spine and ravishing, sway-back classical line, she also has the agility of a soubrette. Her arms ripple with an unmistakably Russian, lighter-than-air lyricism, yet her soaring, apparently preparation-free jump, which heightens the impression of buoyancy, also suggests great muscular strength." As for her dancing skills, he commented that "after barely 18 months, she is already a working definition of a star."
Commenting on her performance in Diamonds (August 2013), Luke Jennings of The Observer characterizes her as "the physically perfect instrument of her art form", revealing his enthusiasm for her pas de deux with Semyon Chudin at the Royal Opera House. He also acclaimed her roles the same week of Odette-Odile in Swan Lake.
The enthusiasm was reflected by Clement Crisp of the Financial Times while Zoë Anderson of The Independent was impressed by her performance of Nikiya in La Bayadère in which she "carrie[d] the story with aplomb".