Xander Parish

Mariinsky Ballet Dancer | The Mariinsky Theatre
Russia

One morning in January 2010, I left my position in the corps de ballet with The Royal Ballet in London, flew to St. Petersburg to join the Mariinsky Theatre and became the first British dancer in history to join the treasured ranks of the Mariinsky Ballet. I was transported from a spear holder in the back row to dancing the lead male role in Fokine’s Chopiniana within three weeks. Since then, I have undertaken a repertoire of leading roles that I once could have only dreamed about—often on the same stage where Petipa and Tchaikovsky themselves worked more than a 100 years ago. I have been extremely fortunate to establish a friendship with Viking Executive Vice President Karine Hagen right at the beginning of my Russian adventure—she has become my fairy godmother. Karine cheered me on during that first performance of Chopiniana, offering much-needed support at exactly the right time. Now, ten years later as a principal of the Mariinsky Ballet, I am delighted to share insights into my adventures in Russia.