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Anastasia Volochkova ( ; born January 20, 1976) is a Russian prima ballerina.



Volochkova was born into a middle class family in Saint Petersburgmarker. Her father was a table tennis champion and coach, and her mother was a tour guide. Volochkova has been married once, and she has a daughter, Ariadne, born in 2005. They live in Saint Petersburgmarker and Moscowmarker.


Volochkova was trained at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy by Natalia Dudinskaya. Still a student, Volochkova became the youngest soloist of the Mariinsky Ballet, making her debut as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatremarker in 1994. In 1996, Volochkova won the first prize and gold medal at the 2nd Lifar International Ballet Competition in Kievmarker.

Mariinsky Ballet 1994–1998

Between 1994 and 1998, Volochkova danced as a soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatremarker in Saint Petersburgmarker, performing in productions of Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadère, Le Corsaire, Raymonda, Scheherazade, The Firebird, The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. Together with the Mariinsky Ballet, she also got to tour all around the world, including Great Britainmarker, Belgiummarker, Francemarker, Spainmarker, Italymarker, Greecemarker, Austriamarker, Germanymarker, Denmarkmarker, Norwaymarker, Bahrainmarker, South Koreamarker, Japanmarker, Canadamarker and the USAmarker.

Bolshoi Ballet 1998–2005

From 1998 to 2000, Volochkova danced as prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Balletmarker at the Bolshoi Theatremarker in Moscowmarker, guided by Ekaterina Maximova. Volochkova performed in productions of Giselle, La Bayadère, Raymonda, Russian Hamlet, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, touring throughout Europe as well. In 2001, Yury Grigorovich personally invited her to return to the Bolshoi Ballet to dance the double-role of Odette-Odile in Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theatre, for which Volochkova was awarded the prestigous Prix Benois de la Danse in 2002. In the same year, she was also awarded with the title of Honoured Artist of Russia.

After various disagreements with the Bolshoi Balletmarker over the years, Volochkova's contract was terminated in 2005. Virtually, she had left the ballet company for good already in 2003. Then, she was first fired, which became a major news story worldwide as it was reported that the Bolshoi Ballet had dismissed her for being too tall and heavy. A Moscow court ruled that the Bolshoi Ballet had to reinstate Volochskova immediately and awarded her thousands of US dollars in back pay and damages. However, Volochkova never returned on stage again.

Solo career 1998–present

Volochkova started her solo career in the late 1990s. She has since danced with the New National Theatre Ballet Tokyomarker, the Bordeaux Balletmarker and the English National Ballet. In Londonmarker in 2001, Volochkova made her debut in Rodion Shchedrin's Carmen Suite, based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. The ballet was originally staged for Maya Plisetskaya at the Bolshoi Theatre by choreographer Alberto Alonso, and Plisestkaya personally directed the role for Volochkova.

During the years, Volochkova has given numerous gala performances and recitals in Moscowmarker, Parismarker, Londonmarker, Athensmarker, Lausannemarker, Abu Dhabimarker, New Yorkmarker and many others. Solely in London, she has headlined performances at the Royal Albert Hallmarker, Royal Opera Housemarker, Coliseummarker, Palladiummarker and Sadler's Wells Theatremarker. Volochkova has also danced as prima ballerina with the Hermitage Balletmarker and the Grigorovich Ballet, performing in Giselle, La Bayadère, Le Corsaire, Spartacus and Swan Lake. With the Grigorovich Ballet, she has mainly performed at the Krasnodar Theatermarker, but also among others at the Mariinsky Theatremarker.

With her benefit performances, Volochkova has helped to contribute funds for various causes, especially for Russian children, including children with health problems, orphanages of Saint Petersburgmarker and the Beslan victims.

Media personality

Around the new millenium, Volochkova became one of the most famous celebrities in Russiamarker, and has since been featured in newspapers, magazines and TV shows, such as Ice Age, on a regular basis. In 2003, she got major media attention worldwide, as well, as it was reported that the Bolshoi Balletmarker had dismissed her for being too heavy and tall.

In addition to her career as a dancer, Volochkova has also worked as an actress and a model, starring in films and TV series as well as modelling for Chopard jewellery.

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