wed 23/04/2014

Bolshoi prima and violinist Repin have baby | Dance reviews, news & interviews

Bolshoi prima and violinist Repin have baby

To Svetlana Zakharova and Vadim Repin, a daughter

Proud parents: Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova and violinist Vadim Repin are Russian megastars
Proud parents: Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova and violinist Vadim Repin are Russian megastars

The Bolshoi Ballet’s prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova gave birth in Moscow yesterday to a baby girl, the child of the celebrated violinist Vadim Repin. Weighing 3.1 kilograms, the baby is named Anna.

Zakharova, 31, a former star at the Mariinsky Ballet, St Petersburg, before she moved to the Bolshoi, is in good health and planning to perform in London in May, her agent told the Russian news agency Novosti.

Last summer the willowy star, who is also a member of the Russian Parliament, pulled out of the Bolshoi’s Covent Garden tour at the last minute pleading a hip injury, though it became known she was pregnant. She revealed the father's name publicly for the first time in an interview two months ago to the Argumenti i Fakti newspaper.

Repin, 39, has a five-year-old son with his wife of 10 years Caroline Diemunsch, a director of global children’s charity Amade, founded by Princess Grace of Monaco and now headed by Princess Caroline. The violinist is a regular London tourer, last year premiering James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto to great acclaim. Next week he is in the US giving the American premiere of the MacMillan concerto in Philadelphia and New York. His next London engagement is on 19 May at the Royal Festival Hall in a trio with pianist Lang Lang and cellist Mischa Maisky. This could mean that the pair will be in town together.

Zakharova joined the Bolshoi from the Mariinsky (formerly known as the Kirov) in 2003. Tall, fair and exceptionally flexible, she became Moscow's leading ballerina and has been garlanded with state awards. She has talked in the past of her ambition to have a political career after she stops dancing, and aims to become Culture Minister in time.

Recently she warned that the renowned Russian ballet and music education is under potentially fatal threat from the country's own government. A proposed reduction in commitment to maintain Russia's world-famous ballet and music academies could lead to the closure of all of them, she thinks, and coupled with changes in national service rules that now force young male dance graduates into the army where their physical training is ruined, would wreck centuries of Russian artistic excellence.

"Even in the Great Patriotic War [World War Two] the great music and ballet academies weren’t closed down," she told Argumenti i Fakti. "Why now, in times of peace, are officials trying to wipe out what has been established for centuries? If that’s what they do, it won't be long before there’ll be nobody dancing on the stage. I can't not take such issues as these all the way."

She also said that she went into politics as a result of the heavy postbag she got from the public, asking her to help with their problems.

She warned that the renowned Russian ballet and music education is under potentially fatal threat from the country's own government

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Indeed, I would go as far as to say ballet is one of the few real assets Russia has. Everything else can be duplicated by others.

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