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Irek Mukhamedov Company with Altynia Asylmuratova

The Irek Mukhamedov Company with Altynia Asylmuratova," is a dream team", as they say, was again at Sadler's Wells. This season staged Sita, choreographed by Darshan Singh Bhuller with music by Talvin Singh. Sita is the legendary Hindu goddess of agricultural land. Like last year it was sold out and a great success. Mukhamedov, a Tartar, is, of course, the principal dancer. When you think of Russian male dancers, you call to mind Nureyev, Baryshinikov and Mukhamedov, a charismatic dancer from the Bolshoi and a principal dancer for 10 years. He then moved to England where he has been guest dancer with the Royal Ballet since 1990. He now lives in Bedfordshire with his wife, a ballerina, and daughters. In the New Millennium Honours list he was given an OBE, he was also given the title of World's Best Dancer  in 1988. The Company performs for charities such as the Master Class at Covent Garden, an event that took place in August in aid of St Petersburg orphanages, organised on behalf of the UK charity 'Sterling Work'. They were given a promotion in Hello magazine, where readers could buy tickets at 50 each for the Master Class. Those who attended could meet Mukhamedov, Altynia Asylmuratova and some of the soloists. Helena Bonham Carter bought a signed photograph of Irek and promised two kisses for 2,000 in the auction.

Altynia Asylmuratova, in contrast to Mukhamedov, came from the Kirov ballet, but both are technically outstanding dancers. They say the "Bolshoi style" is all bravura, with dancers taking more space and jumping higher, whereas the "Kirov style" is spiritual and classical. Asylmurtova is said to be "The most sexy ballerina in the world". She lives with her husband and daughter in St Petersburg. She got pregnant at 32 and after within months of giving birth she was back at the Kirov, feeding her baby between rehearsals. The baby, now a little girl, is already into dance, isn't that lovely? Altynia is a third-generation of Russian dancer - her grandmother and her mother were also ballet stars - who buys her ballet shoes here, in London. She says "they are the best". She uses a pair a day in practise, three pairs a day in actual performance, 520 pairs in a year! Now, at 39, she is going to direct the Vaganova Ballet Academy. She is prima ballerina assoluta, gold medallist and Paris Grand Prix winner, very much loved in France, where she is considered one of the world's most beautiful people. She used to divide her time between the Kirov and Roland Petit's Ballet National de Marseilles, but now the company is dissolved as Petit went to live in Switzerland. So Irek invited her to dance with him in London. They are a very charming couple and, like other big stars, modelled the Giorgio Armani collection for Hello!

Verinha Ottoni

mail@mariinsky_friends.co.uk
www.mariinskyfriends.co.uk

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