September 2010 marked fifteen years of my career as a ballet dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre. For a professional classical ballerina that is a long enough period to understand the difficulties of the profession, to understand the role this kind of art plays in public life and, at the same time, to make a respected name for myself in the ballet world.
And today, using that experience, I would like to say and do something for the arts that amounts to more than just dancing the ballet repertoire. Unfortunately, it is difficult for one person to solve big and serious problems alone.
That is why I have taken the step of setting up the Diana Vishneva Foundation for the Coordinated Development of Ballet which, I hope, will unite organizations’ and individuals’ efforts and abilities to achieve the foundation’s cultural, charitable and creative goals. At this stage, it is proposed that the main areas of the foundation’s activities will involve:
Improving access to ballet for all social classes.
Improving access to ballet for all social classes, including children who study ballet and dance, retired performers and ballet-lovers alike. It must be admitted that today ballet has become a privilege for the wealthy few. And, in my opinion, this is happening because of a drop in the prestige of ballet as a profession.
Targeted support for ballet dancers and retired performers.
Accidents that can lead to the temporary loss of income or even having to abandon the profession altogether are a tragedy for any ballet dancer. There is, at present, no single system to help dancers in such circumstances. I think a personal appeal from the Diana Vishneva Ballet Foundation to potential sponsors could help resolve this problem. Many once illustrious and acclaimed dancers are, sadly, today forgotten and experiencing great difficulties. Finding feasible means of helping these people is also an important task, and one that I feel can be dealt with.
Organizing and producing new ballet projects.
Very often I have to work with foreign ballet companies and choreographers. I would like to point out that experimentation and a variety of genres form a good stimulus for the development and allure of ballet. Russia is experiencing a lack of good contemporary choreographers, and there are problems organizing new ballet programs. We already have experience of organizing these programs, such as the premiere of the Russo-American project Diana Vishneva: Beauty in Motion, which in 2009 won Russia’s most prestigious theatre prize, the Golden Mask, in three categories.