A Kazakh ballerina, the recent superstar of the Russian ballet world. Born in Alma-Ata (now Almaty), capital of Kazakhstan, in 1961, studied at the the Vaganova Ballet Academy from 1970, and joined the Kirov Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, in 1978, where she became a principal in 1982. She seems to have done all the great classical roles, especially of the Russian tradition, but is also successful with Western choreographers like Kenneth MacMillan, Roland Petit, and Frederick Ashton.

She has toured and guest-starred with world companies such as the Royal Ballet (doing Manon, Romeo and Juliet, and A Month in the Country); and American Ballet Theatre (La Bayadère in 1988); and with Roland Petit's Ballet National de Marseille (including Coppélia and Carmen).

Her dancing days not quite to an end, she became head of the Vaganova academy in 2000. Among her early reforms were reinstating compulsory classes in music and French, believing them essential for any dancer. The Vaganova is the traditional breeding ground for the Kirov, and and she is worried that the Kirov's recruiting of outsiders will dilute their traditional character.

Pictures: www.ballerinagallery.com/asylmura.htm
Bio and repertoire: http://users.skynet.be/ballet-lovers/Altynai4.html
Interview: http://users.skynet.be/ballet-lovers/Altynai_interv.html

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