Bolshoi ballerina is injured and won’t make trip here

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Svetlana Zakharova, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet, is unable to perform at Orange County Performing Arts Center due to a hip injury.

At 30 years old, Zakharova is one of the world’s reigning dance divas. Her impeccable footwork, sublime flexibility and ethereal beauty have been cause for standing ovations wherever she has appeared. The subject of a documentary (“Prima Ballerina”) as well as the ambassadress for Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, Zhakarova has no fewer than four Facebook fan pages.

But just when Southern California balletomanes were finally going to get their first peek at the dancer in the Bolshoi’s six-show run at the Orange County Performing Arts Center beginning Feb. 24 -- assaying the role of Kitri in “Don Quixote” -- the news from Moscow is that she has injured a hip and will not be taking part in the United States tour.

Scheduling problems prevented Zakharova from appearing at OCPAC with the Bolshoi in 2005, although the prima ballerina danced with the troupe in New York. Fans were miffed then, but injuries are decidedly an occupational hazard.


On a happier note, the pairing of 21-year-old firebrand Ivan Vasiliev (no relation to Vladimir Vasiliev, a Bolshoi star from two generations ago) and the sensational jumper, Natalia Osipova, 24, should cheer up dance aficionados. Though the young couple performed together at a gala last year in Orange County, their tackling the leads in this full-length “Don Q” promises to induce a fair share of audience swooning.

And since star power has been at the heart of the Bolshoi (Russian for “big”) for most of its 200-plus years, the OCPAC run will also feature a pair of performances by Maria Alexandrova and Mikhail Lobukhin.

In the meantime, Zakharova fans can check her out on nearly 500 YouTube videos.

-- Victoria Looseleaf