Evgenia Obraztsova, a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, is coming to Brisbane in May to dance Odette/Odile in two performances of Swan Lake for Queensland Ballet. The internationally renowned Russian ballerina will perform on May 9 and 11, replacing Romanian-born ballet star Alina Cojocaru who has had to withdraw from the production.

Evgenia Obraztsova. Photograph courtesy of Queensland Ballet

“Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Alina is no longer able to join our Company for this season, something both Alina and we are very disappointed about. We do hope to welcome Alina back at some time in the future to perform again with Queensland Ballet as she enthralled audiences last time she was dancing The Sleeping Beauty with us,” said Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin.

“We are so very privileged to have a ballerina of Evgenia’s calibre guesting with us. She is acclaimed and respected the world over for her flawless technique and wonderful artistry,” said Li.

“Evgenia is in demand as a guest dancer for many of the world’s most respected ballet companies in all the leading classical ballet roles so we’re very grateful that she will be joining us for two performances in the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.”

Obraztsova was born in St Petersburg to a family of ballet dancers. After graduating from the Vaganova Academy in 2002, she joined the Mariinsky Ballet, where she became the youngest dancer in the history of the Company to dance the role of Juliet in 2003.

After rising through the ranks at the Mariinsky, Obraztsova joined the Bolshoi as a Principal in 2012. Her roles include Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, La Sylphide, Carla Fracci’s Cinderella and Margherita in Luciano Cannito’s Faust among others.

Since 2010, she has also danced as a guest soloist with the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre. It was here that she made her Odette/Odile debut in 2011 in a version by Vladimir Bourmeister, after preparing for the role for six months.

Obraztsova has performed as a guest artist with companies around the world, among them La Scala Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Tokyo and Berlin State Ballet, and The Royal Ballet with whom she has danced Odette/Odile, Julie and Princess Aurora.

Swan Lake is widely considered to be one of the greatest ballets of all time. With its glorious Tchaikovsky score, it is a favourite of audiences, choreographers and dancers alike.

Queensland Ballet is performing the ballet for the first time in many years, using Ben Stevenson’s choreography – a production which Li himself knows intimately, having performed in it.

“I first danced the role of Prince Siegfried under the direction of Ben Stevenson in 1985 for the Houston Ballet and also had the privilege of the great Margot Fonteyn coaching my wife Mary and I for this ballet,” said Li when announcing Obraztsova’s impending arrival.

“The moment I hear the first strains of Tchaikovsky, I am transported back to the studio with Ben and Margot as I wrapped my mind and body around the demanding role of Seigfried, such wonderful memories.”

“Ben is a master storyteller and brings his own special magic to Swan Lake. It is a production close to his heart, and one that audiences must not miss. We’re so pleased that Ben will be travelling to Brisbane to stage the production as he is truly part of the Queensland Ballet family.”

Queensland Ballet performs Swan Lake at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, May 5 – 13