Svetlana Zakharova in 2015
|Born||10 June 1979|
|Education||Kyiv Choreographic School, Vaganova Ballet Academy|
|Height||175 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Current group||Bolshoi Ballet|
|Former groups||Mariinsky Ballet|
|Dances||Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Raymonda|
Svetlana Zakharova was born in Lutsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, on June 10, 1979. At the age of six, she was taken by her mother to learn folk dancing at a local studio, and by the age of 10, she had auditioned and was accepted into the Kyiv Choreography School. Valeria Sulegina was one of her teachers.
In 1995, after six years at the Kyiv School, Zakharova entered the Young Dancers' Competition (Vaganova-Prix) in St. Petersburg. The youngest contestant, she took second prize and was invited to continue her training in the graduating course of St Petersburg's Vaganova Academy. It was the first time in the school's history to allow a student to skip two grades.
By 2003, Zakharova "was getting itchy feet" at the Mariinsky, and moved to the Bolshoi Ballet. The offer from the Bolshoi company was longstanding, and the departure from the Mariinsky was reportedly due to discontent with that company.
Zakharova is coached by Lyudmila Semenyaka.
From 1999 on Zakharova regularly performed as a guest soloist at the Paris Opera where she worked with French choreographer Pierre Lacotte. Lacotte is viewed as a leading authority on classical ballet contributing to the career of Evgenia Obraztsova and Hannah O'Neill. Svetlana Zakharova was the first Russian principal dancer performing in Paris and became a world star as of 2000.
Successful assignments followed, ranging from great classical roles like Giselle, Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake", Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty", and Nikiya in "La Bayadère," to such modern works as Balanchine's "Serenade", "Symphony in C" and "Apollo" as well as McMillan's "Manon" and Neumeier's "Now and Then"
Zakharova was one of the dancers featured in the 2006 documentary Ballerina.
She is viewed as one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation and is highly regarded for her technical expertise.
Vladimir Vasiliev, director of the Bolshoi ballet from 1995 to 2000 and as a principal dancer on a level with Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, described Zakharova as "nature endowed" having everything a girl dreaming of ballet could want.
He pointed out that perfection had one drawback, the dryness of the limit.
When working briefly with Zakharova, Vasiliev changed his idea of her - of the actress. He felt the inner churning of her emotions and the lively beating of her heart.
"In an adagio from the ballet "Macbeth", Svetlana was for me a joyous revelation."
"In the flesh, it's hard not to be a little dazzled by Svetlana Zakharova's improbably fine features and impossibly big blue eyes - but these are merely the finishing touches of a long, strong, beautifully proportioned body that's one of the great balletic instruments of our times."
Zakharova is married to Russian violinist Vadim Repin, and they have one child, daughter Anna (b. 2011). She had withdrawn from the Bolshoi Ballet tour to London in the summer of 2010 citing a hip injury; she was pregnant at the time. Zakharova returned to dancing, and performed in London on May 15, 2011, in a gala performance celebrating Soviet ballerina Galina Ulanova.
She named the Italian danseur Roberto Bolle as one of her favorite partners.
A member of United Russia party, Zakharova was a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation during the Ukrainian crisis, which led to a break in her relationship with the Kyiv Choreographic School in particular.