Drawing: Ivan Vasiliev in Spartacus

Autographed drawing of Ivan Vasiliev in Spartacus with the Bolshoi Ballet

When ballet critics described the eighteen-year-old Russian dancing prodigy Ivan Vasiliev as the next Nureyev and Baryshnikov, he replied “I am not the next Nureyev or the next Baryshnikov, I am the original Ivan Vasiliev.”

Four years later, in 2010, the ‘rocket man’ – dubbed because of his aerial brilliance and explosive leaps – returned to London’s Covent Garden with the Bolshoi’s production of SPARTACUS and continued to wow audiences and critics alike.

Mark Monahan, in his Telegraph review wrote, Ivan “leaves you unable entirely to believe what you saw… Vasiliev is the reason to see this ballet, queue overnight for return tickets: this boy from Vladivostok is a fully-formed superstar and he will blow your mind.” Now 29, the ‘boy who can fly’ is part of the Mikhailovsky Theatre troupe, after a stint as Principle with the American Ballet Theatre in 2012-13.

He returned to London last week to perform for the English National Ballet in LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA MORT at the London Coliseum where he signed my drawing.