Russia's Main Nutcracker

Russia's Main Nutcracker

On December 31, Nikolai Maximovich Tsiskaridze, one of the most eminent dancers of our time, rector of the Vaganova  Academy of Russian Ballet, turns 48 years old.

Natural talent and indomitable desire to dance

Nikolai Tsiskaridze was born in 1973, on the day when the whole country sets tables, lights garlands and makes wishes. At the age of 10, he entered the Tbilisi Choreographic School, where he submitted documents secretly from his parents - he wanted to dance so much! A few years later, Nikolai moved to the capital, on the recommendation of his teachers, where began his studies at the Moscow Choreographic School. 

In one of the video interviews, Nikolai shared that his relationships with classmates didn’t work out:

“Since childhood, I was very bright: I studied well and always knew the answer, I wanted to be the first to answer. And this annoyed everyone a lot.”

Great mentors

In Moscow, Nikolai studied in the class of Pyotr Antonovich Pestov, who was known for his tough teaching position and the fact that the brightest and impeccably prepared students graduated from his classes. Tsiskaridze recalled that it was Pestov who taught him: no matter what happens on stage, you must dance the part to the end.  

Nikolai always stood out for his physical abilities, which corresponded to generally accepted canons, and talent. After graduating from school in 1992, he passed an audition and was immediately hired into the Bolshoi Ballet company by Grigorovich himself. 

The real stars and legends of Russian ballet - Galina Ulanova and Nikolai Simachev - were the dancer's first mentors here. They passed on their experience to the talented student, shared the secrets of ballet mastery. Then Tsiskaridze began to rehearse with Nikolai Fadeechev and Marina Semyonova:

“I so wanted to reach for those people who were passing this genre on to me. You see, when Fadeechev and Ulanova come into your class and teach you, this puts a lot of knowledge on you.”

Golden time at the Bolshoi

Quite quickly, Nikolai began to perform solo parts in Yuri Grigorovich's ballets. The first of these was the Compere in The Golden Age, then - Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and the French Doll in The Nutcracker. However, Tsiskaridze was never content with little and always wanted to be the first, the best and irreplaceable. And he had everything for that! 

 In 1995, Nikolai’s career skyrocketed - he became the Bolshoi Theater principal dancer. For 18 years Nikolai Tsiskaridze was the main Nutcracker of Russia! He danced this part 101 times and every year he went on stage on his birthday - December 31st. 

In 2001, Roland Petit created The Queen of Spades ballet especially for the Bolshoi Theater. Tsiskaridze became the first performer of the part of Herman. All the productions he participated in were a tremendous success.

The best ballet school

Now, Nikolai Maximovich is the rector of the Vaganova  Academy of Russian Ballet. Before heading one of the world's oldest ballet schools, he graduated with honors from the Moscow State Law Academy. By the way, Tsiskaridze is the only rector, in the entire lifetime of this educational institution, who didn’t graduate from it. 

Nikolai Maximovich deals not only with teaching and organizational activities, he also appears in television shows on federal channels, often gives interviews. Programs with his participation get millions of views instantly. 


Tsiskaridze is a public person. He openly shares his views, opinions on various issues and admits that he can be extremely harsh. There is even such a section on social media called "Tsiskarisms" comprising aphorisms authored by the famous dancer. 

A good shoemaker is also a poet.

You cannot demand intelligence from flowers.

Sport is a result. Art is an argument.

When you combine life with a trash can, don’t be surprised when they treat you as trash.

If your pipe has burst, the fact that you are a people's artist won’t save you.

Mona Lisa doesn't care who doesn't like her.

If you can teach, you will teach anyone. 

Spectators still remember the times when it was impossible to get tickets for the performances in which Tsiskaridze danced. And those lucky ones who succeeded got great pleasure from ballet!