Episode 13: St Petersburg, World Capital of Ballet

Last Updated on May 26, 2023 by Ctybr67k

The schools, companies and dancers who have made St Petersburg’s ballet world famous

Surely ballet is one of the first things you think of when it comes to St Petersburg. Hear a brief history, beginning with the ‘twelve little girls’ invited in 1738 by the Empress Anna to join the city’s first ballet school, held in the Winter Palace attic. Find out more about 19th and early 20th centuries, when many of the great Russian ballets were first seen and dancers like Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova graced the stage. Hear too what happened to ballet in the Soviet era and how Rudolf Nureyev brought such exciting new ballet techniques from St Petersburg to the west, then find out what it’s like to see a ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre today.


More information about St Petersburg coming soon.

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Links & Reading

Useful websites for tourists
St Petersburg City Tourist Information Bureau
St Petersburg.Com (Tourist Information)

2 guidebooks to St Petersburg
Eyewitness Travel Guide to St Petersburg
Lonely Planet Guide to St Petersburg

Travel Book
Among the Russians by Colin Thubron

Russian History, a Very Short Introduction by Geoffrey Hosking
The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Caught in the Revolution by Helen Rappaport

Peter the Great by Lindsey Hughes
Peter the Great by Derek Wilson
Catherine the Great by Simon Dixon
Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie
Rasputin by Frances Welch
Four Sisters by Helen Rappaport (the 4 daughters of Czar Nicholas II)
The Diary of Lena Mukhina (A diary of the Siege of Leningrad)

Art and Culture
A Short Life of Pushkin by Robert Chandler
Nijinsky by Lucy Moore
Rudolf Nuryev The Life by Julie Kavanagh
Anna of all the Russias The Life of Anna Akhmatova by Elaine Feinstein

St Petersburg A Traveller’s Companion by Laurence Kelly
City Pick St Petersburg edited by Heather Reyes
Literary St Petersburg by Elaine Blair

Novels set in St Petersburg
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Siege by Helen Dunmore
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov