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Diana Vishneva was born in Saint Petersburg in 1976 to a family of chemical engineers.

She began to attend dance classes at the age of six and entered the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in 1987. Her acedemic career wasn’t smooth: she had to try three times and the last time she was accepted only through a personal interview.

In fact, even though she has an amazing body flexibility, she lacks some of those features required by the strict world of ballet: no feet arches and no hyperextended knee. Being a hard worker and a perfectionist, with her great musicality and passion for ballet, she managed to overcome these lacks and during her final exams she scored the highest mark ever achieved in the school’s history.

In 1994 the promising student set out for Lausanne in Switzerland to perform at the world-famous Prix de Lausanne competition. It is one of the most important international young ballet dancers’competition, well renowned for preferring the male participants. In the “freestyle” category Diana performed the miniature Carmen, specially staged for her by Igor Belsky, Artistic Director of the Vaganova Academy, and she took both the top prize and the Gold Medal. Since then the gold prize has been awarded once.

The meteoric rise of Diana Vishneva’s career began with her victory at that competition. During her final year of studies she also trained at the Mariinsky Theatre where she was immediately offered solo roles. While still a trainee, in 1995 she danced the role of Kitri in the ballet Don Quixote. Diana received the Benois de la danse award in 1996 for this role.

I just found this amazing documentary about the young Diana Vishneva as a ballet student at the Vaganova academy.

Hope you enjoy

Video 1

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Video 4

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