David Dodds photographed at the South African appearance of the St. Petersburg Ballet

on one of their tours, and produced insights into some of the unseen stresses surrounding the pinnacle of the performances.

Irina at the Peak

This image isn’t possible within the framework of a straight photograph.

Catching Irina in this particular moment with the swirling motion of the other dancers was the result of additional frames, and a blending and revealing of the best parts of the images.

She has toured all over the world including Holland, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, again in 2020, and Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

At Johannesburg altitudes, and probably occasionally elsewhere on world tours, an oxygen tank is on standby to alleviate the extremes of breathing. This is just one of the otherwise well-documented extremes that the performers go through, often with the audience unaware of the real drama back stage, when the show reality is all perceived as magical sets, lighting and supreme co-ordination.

From a technical point of view, most footage and stills activities are carefully briefed in, so as to identify and eliminate distractions from the dancers when so much precision and timing is involved. Camera technology available in silent mode as well as dis-abling certain of the red light focusing aids is a critical factors in not distracting the routines of the lead dancer, the ensemble and the background staff.

In recent years, Irina Kolesnikova has become the most famous of the Lead Performers, following in the footsteps of legendary Performers like Dame Margot Fonteyn. Irina was born in 1980 in St. Petersburg. She studied at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg from 1990 to 1998. Her principal ballet teachers were Elvira Kokorina, Svetlana Efremova and Lubov Kunakova. In December 1998 Irina became a soloist for the Konstantin Tachkin St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre.

She was promoted to principal in 2000 and since 2001 she has been the company's Prima Ballerina.

She dances all the leading roles including Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Clara in The Nutcracker, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Myrta in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote and Nikiya in La Bayadere.


Swan Lake

The Nutcracker

The Sleeping Beauty


Don Quixote

La Bayadere

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