(b Labinsk, Krasnodar, 13 Jul. 1969)
Russian dancer. He studied at the Tbilisi Ballet School with Chabukiani and then at the Vaganova Academy (the St Petersburg Ballet School) with Gennady Seliutsky. He joined the Kirov (Mariinsky) Ballet in 1988, and was promoted to principal in 1991. One of the newer breed of Russian male dancers, he combined a powerful classical technique with a curiosity for the 20th-century Western repertory. He developed his stylistic versatility through early guest seasons with the Berlin Opera Ballet (1990–1) and New York City Ballet (1992–7), where he performed more than 25 works by Balanchine, Robbins, and Martins. From 1996 he widened his repertory further partnering Darcey Bussell at the Royal Ballet in MacMillan ballets, and appearing as principal guest dancer at La Scala from 1999 and at Bayerisches Staatsballett (Bavarian State Ballet) from 2000. In 2001 he suffered a severe injury but returned to the stage to continue dancing with the Mariinsky, Royal Ballet, and NYCB, as well as heading his own small ensemble. In 2006 he was appointed director of the Novosibirsk State Ballet, for which he has subsequently staged La Bayadère. He is recipient of numerous prizes including the Gold Medal and the Grand Prix at the Paris International Competition, 1990.