Svetlana Lunkina

Principal Dancer

Svetlana Lunkina View Gallery

Quick Facts

Born: Moscow, Russia
Trained: Moscow Choreographic Academy in Russia
The Bolshoi Ballet: 1997 - 2013
Joined as a Principal Dancer: 2014

Svetlana Lunkina is sponsored through Dancers First by Anna McCowan-Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C. 


Five Things to Know

  1. 1Svetlana has performed principal roles in a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets with The Bolshoi Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and internationally. Among them are Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Onegin, Manon, La Sylphide, Anna Karenina, The Four Temperaments, Chroma and Petite Mort.
  2. 2At just 18 years old, Svetlana was the youngest dancer in the history of The Bolshoi Ballet to perform the title role of Giselle. To date, Svetlana has appeared in five different versions of Giselle worldwide.
  3. 3Svetlana worked extensively with influential choreographer Roland Petit, dancing the lead roles of Liza in La Dame de Pique and Esmeralda in Notre-Dame de Paris in their Bolshoi premieres. In 2008, Petit updated his ballet La Rose Malade especially for her.
  4. 4In demand as an international guest artist, Svetlana often performs in galas, festivals and with top companies such as the Vienna State Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet and the National Ballet of Japan.
  5. 5American artist Anna Gaskell photographed Svetlana for her 2013 exhibition, SVETA, in Paris and Cologne. Svetlana is also the subject of Gaskell’s short film, & Juliet, in which she rehearses the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet without a partner.


Favourite Ballets

  1. 1Giselle
  2. 2Anna Karenina
  3. 3Chroma
  4. 4Spartacus (Aram Khachaturian)
  5. 5Anyuta (Vladimir Vasiliev)


Full Biography

Svetlana Lunkina was born in Moscow, Russia and trained at the Moscow Choreographic Academy in Russia. Svetlana joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1997 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2005. In 2013, she joined The National Ballet of Canada as a Principal Guest Artist and became a Principal Dancer with the company in 2014. 

Svetlana is a respected international artist who shines equally in contemporary work and the great classical ballets. Recently, she debuted in Wayne McGregor’s MADDADDAM. Her repertoire with the National Ballet includes principal roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Onegin, La Sylphide, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale, Manon, Nijnsky, Anna Karenina, Le Petit Prince, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Four Temperaments, Apollo, Approximate Sonata 2016, Chroma, Genus, Emergence, Angels’ Atlas, After the Rain,  On Solid Ground and The Dreamers Ever Leave You.     

Over her 15 year career at The Bolshoi Ballet, Svetlana danced many leading roles in both classical and contemporary ballets. Her repertoire includes principal roles in Swan Lake, La Bayadère, Raymonda, Spartacus, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Sylphide, Le Corsaire, Carmen and La Fille du Pharon. She also danced featured roles in Serenade, Jewels, Afternoon of a Faun and Chroma. In 2002, Alexander Grant set the role of Lise in La Fille mal gardée on her. Svetlana has also worked extensively with Roland Petit, who set the roles of Lisa in La dame de Pique and Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris on her. In 2008, Petit updated his ballet La Rose Malade especially for her. 

Svetlana is in demand as a guest artist at ballet companies around the world including the Berlin State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro dell Opera in Rome, Paris Opéra Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Bucharest National Ballet, Polish National Opera, the National Ballet of Japan and Asami Maki Ballet Tokyo.  

In 2023, Svetlana was the recipient of the David Tory Award. Her many awards include the Triumph Youth Award in 2001, Prix de Benois de la Danse in 2007, Brilliance of the 21st Century in 2008 and Ballerina of the Decade in 2010. Svetlana appeared in the film St. Petersburg-Cannes Express by John Daly in 2003.  






The Winter’s Tale
“Paulina… has winglike arm gestures; the part was played on Wednesday by Svetlana Lunkina (formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet), who tellingly showed how Paulina’s grief expresses itself in the splayed fingers and turning wrists at the end of those spread arms.”
– The New York Times

“Svetlana Lunkina projected such touching innocence and vulnerability… Lunkina achieved the transformation to an ethereal creature splendidly with adagio dancing of poetic loveliness.”
– Toronto Star

“Sheer dramatic intensity of Svetlana Lunkina’s debut as Tatiana… To say it was electric rather understates the case.”
– Dance International


Ballerina of the Decade (2010)

Brilliance of the 21st Century Medal (2008)

Meritorious Artist of Russia (2008)

Prix Benois de la Danse (2007)

Triumph Youth Award (2001)

Other Projects

Artistic Director of the International Canada All Star Ballet Gala

Artistic Director of the Canada Ballet Art Project

Creator of the AI powered ballet training app, 1on1 Ballet Studio Master Classes