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Person of the Week: Altynai Asylmuratova

Published: January 25, 2020

This week, our feature is Алтынай Асылмуратова (Altynai Asylmuratova), the artistic director of the ballet troupe at Astana Opera, an opera house in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Before this, she was a world-renowned ballerina, and was the prima ballerina for the Mariinsky ballet. Asylmuratova was born in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan into a family of professional dancers. From a young age she knew that she wanted to become a ballet dancer, but her mother, knowing the difficulties of the profession, initially discouraged her. But Asylmuratova was determined, and she eventually convinced her mother to allow her to attend dance school, if accepted. Asylmuratova was accepted and studied at the Vaganova Academy of Russian ballet in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), and following her graduation in 1978, she joined the Mariinsky Ballet, where she eventually became a principal dancer. Throughout her career at with the Mariinsky Ballet, Asylmuratova became famous the world over due to numerous (critically-acclaimed) guest appearances with international ballet companies, perhaps most notably in Paris with the ballet company of Roland Petit (the famous french choreographer), but also with the American Ballet Theater Company and with the Royal Ballet. After her successful career as a dancer, Asylmuratova became the artistic director of the vaganova Academy, where she had been a student two decades before. In 2015, Asylmuratova began her role as the artistic director of ballet at Astana Opera.