There is an interesting debut at the Astana Opera House on 30 January: ballet company soloist Anastasia Zaklinskaya will dance the role of Nikiya in La Bayadère.
Many will probably not know her name, but her father is Konstantin Zaklinsky, former principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now Mariinsky). When Natalia Makarova was reunited with the Kirov Ballet in London in 1988 (the event was televised and I have uploaded their performance to YouTube) she chose Zaklinsky as her partner.
Anastasia Zaklinskaya’s mother is Altynai Asylmuratova, who became a principal dancer with the Kirov two years after her husband, in 1982. Their daughter Anastasia was born in 1993.
Asylmuratova is the Artistic Director of the Ballet Company of Astana Opera in Kazakhstan. The opera house, an imposing if somewhat kitsch structure, opened in 2013 on the First President of Kazakhstan’s initiative. Asylmuratova created its lavish production of La Bayadère with sets and costumes by the husband and wife team, Ezio Frigerio and Franca Squarciapino, and it opened on Christmas Day in 2015.
Anastasia Zaklinskaya graduated from the Vaganova Academy (under Lyudmila Kovalyova) in 2013, and joined the Mariinsky company the same year. Her mother had been appointed Artistic Director of the Vaganova Academy in 2000. In a scandal-provoking moment of political musical chairs, Asylmuratova was forced to resign from her position in 2013 when the current rector, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, was appointed by the Ministry of Culture. So mother and daughter both left the Vaganova together.
In 2015, Asylmuratova became the Artistic Director of the Astana company. Her daughter joined the company in 2016 as a trainee soloist and was promoted as soloist in 2019.
Although there is a faint whiff of nepotism wafting around this account, Anastasia certainly has a impressive ballet pedigree and, by all accounts, is a fine dancer.
On 30 January she will be joined by Olzhas Tarlanov as Solor and Anel Rustemova as Gamzatti.
All photos © Astana Opera
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.