On the 14th of October, 2018, Maria Khoreva danced one of her first major at the Mariinsky Theatre: the title role in Paquita, a Spanish-themed ballet featuring a vibrant, energetic, and good-natured main character. Masha took St. Petersburg by storm, adding yet another achievement to her already bursting repertoire, following her debut in Apollo with Xander Parish, Daria Ionova, and Anastasia Nuykina. From her first performance with the Theatre, she stood out a unique dancer with impeccable technique, a delicate style and a mature sense of emotional expression.
Mariinsky's acting director, Yuri Fateyev, was taken aback by her beautiful debut. "I was shocked by how she presented herself, how strong and clean she was," he says. "In the theatre we have a saying, 'Now a ballerina is born'. After Paquita, I felt like we had a newborn ballerina."
(courtesy of Dance Magazine, May 2019 issue. Article: Insta-Ballerina, Maria Khoreva.)
Personally, I completely agree with Fateyev's opinion of her performance. For such a young girl, a recent graduate, to be given an opportunity of such high importance, is already a sign of maturity and skill. However, I must say that one of the reasons why I became initially fascinated with Masha is because of this performance in Paquita. I showed her videos to my entire family, and we all fell in love with her delicate movements, her grace and poise, and her undying smile. Not only did she keep a remarkable stage presence throughout the performance: she also performed with impeccable technique, completing a set of perfect fouettes, and dancing variations flawlessly, using her physical gifts to add to her emotional execution. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen, even if I had to watch through a screen.
Note: Masha's Paquita videos have been uploaded on her Youtube channel as a playlist. I recommend you watch it - she was absolutely magnificent!
It was a shock, however, to hear that Masha was promoted to first soloist following her debut - a wonderful surprise! I found out through Nikolai Tsiskaridze's fan page on Instagram (@tsiskaridze), and as soon as I read the news, a smile spread over my face. For such a young talent to emerge is a rarity, and certainly a great one! What makes it even more special is the fact that we, as ballet lovers, will be able to witness Masha's career both in its fresh beginnings, and at its peak. It is such a joy to watch a ballerina full of dreams rise higher and higher in the ranks.
Following her promotion, a question sprung up between Masha's followers and all balletomanes around the world. Was this a good decision? Does Masha deserve such an honour?
My answer is simple: yes. A thousand times yes.
Though many say that Masha is young and inexperienced, a ballet career is extremely short - it is the career of a butterfly. In this art form, when there is talent, you must make use of this talent, help it reach its potential as quickly as possible - why waste time, when it's obvious that this girl has the makings of a star?
While Masha is still young, she has even more possibilities, even more opportunities. She can broaden her horizons, dance more roles, and develop as a ballerina. This promotion will help her become the best dancer that she can be,
Furthermore, we all know that Masha is not the type of person to become arrogant and rest on her laurels. One of the things that I admire most about her is her work ethic, her iron will, her constant need to improve despite her skill and inborn talent. This achievement will not serve as a means of laziness - it will serve as a motivation for her to work even harder, and to become what she is meant to become.
Those that hate on her for her successes are simply jealous.
She deserves everything that she has, and everything that she gets.
She works hard everyday, tirelessly, pushing through pain in order to create the best result possible.
While it is true that there are many other dancers out there that work hard and that deserve similar opportunities, let's not use this as a means to stab Masha. This was something that she did not bestow upon herself, but it was a token for the work that SHE has done, for the talent that SHE has. So let us unite in congratulations for this young ballerina, and motivate her further, while giving support to other dancers that deserve the same!
It is a gift and a pure joy to watch such a young talent emerge.
Alexia Dochnal, 15 years old.