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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bolshoi Prize Performance

One of Russia's top young ballerinas will dance at the Bolshoi on Feb. 28 in a performance that promises to be a highlight of the season.

Diana Vishneva, a principal at St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, will perform the lead of Kitri in "Don Quixote," one of her signature roles. She will be partnered by fellow Mariinsky principal Farukh Ruzimatov, a worthy match to Vishneva's virtuosity and fiery temperament.

The ballerina's appearance in Moscow marks her Bolshoi premiere and comes as part of a recent prize package. She was the winner of the 1995 Divina award, presented jointly by Moscow's Ardani Artists and the New York-based Capezio/Ballet Makers and Russian World Gallery. The winner, selected on the basis of a poll of critics and other arts observers in Moscow and St. Petersburg, receives a bronze statuette, pointe shoes and other ballet supplies from Capezio, plus the choice of either headlining an individual artistic evening or appearing in a Bolshoi performance.

While still a student at St. Petersburg's Vaganova Academy, Vishneva won the Grand Prix and the gold medal at the international ballet competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1996 she was awarded the Benois de la Danse prize in Paris.

The 20-year-old dancer is now a star at the Mariinsky -- where her roles include leads in "Romeo and Juliet," "Don Quixote" and "The Nutcracker" -- and solos in works by Western choreographers such as George Balanchine's "Le Palais de Cristal," and Jerome Robbins' "In the Night."

"Don Quixote," with music by Ludwig Minkus, is a light-hearted romp based loosely on a romance from the second volume of Cervantes' novel. It is full of daring lifts and sizzling leaps and spins. Originally produced in 1869, "Don Quixote" will be performed Feb. 28 in the latest Bolshoi version (1994) by Yury Grigorovich.

The performance will be followed by the presentation of the 1996 Divina award -- once again to a Mariinsky ballerina, Uliana Lopatkina, a lyrical dancer whom Moscow ballet lovers will remember for her exquisite performances last year of "The Dying Swan" in the capital.

"Don Quixote" begins at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Bolshoi Theater. Tickets are available from the theater box office (Tel. 292-9986), or at city ticket kiosks, or through the Ardani agency (Tel. 248-3596).