Natalia Ashikhmina

Born in Bratsk, Russia, Natalia graduated from the world-renowned Novosibirsk Ballet Academy, studying under Tatiana Sulimova and Tatiana Kapustina. Upon graduation, she accepted Vyacheslav Gordeyev’s invitation and became the youngest prima ballerina of the Russian National Ballet in Moscow, where she worked extensively with Andrey Kudeline and performed the entire principal repertoire of the company at home and abroad. Five years later, Eldar Aliev offered Natalia a principal position with Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, where she worked with legends Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semenov and performed throughout the United States and Canada. Natalia joined the Louisville Ballet as a principal dancer in 2006. Under the adept guidance of Former Artistic Director Bruce Simpson and current Artistic Director Robert Curran, she has had the privilege of working with Helen Starr, Alun Jones, Harald Uwe Kern, and many remarkable choreographers and stagers. Her repertoire includes a vast array of principal roles in the classical, neoclassical, and contemporary repertoire such as Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty), Giselle (Giselle), Nikiya (La Bayadere), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Zabeida (Scheherazade), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), The Sylph (La Sylphide), Kitri (Don Quixote), Swanhilda (Coppélia), Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Kammermusik No.2, Concerto Barocco, Western Symphony, Serenade and Rubies, Daisy (Andre Prokovsky’s The Great Gatsby), The Dying Swan, The Lark (Bruce Marks’ The Lark Ascending), Helen Picket’s Etesian, Val Caniparoli’s Vivacé, The Seasons, Spaghetti Western, Cinderella (A Cinderella Story) and Marguerite (Lady of the Camellias), Stanton Welch’s Velicity, Andrea Schermoly’s Appalachian Spring, Hanna (Ronald Hynd’s Merry Widow), and Odette/Odile (Swan Lake). Natalia won the Audience Award at the 1998 International Ballet Competition Arabesque, a gold medal at the 1999 Competition of Professional Ballet Academies in Russia, and performed at the 2004 Gala des Etoiles in Montreal. She holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Novosibirsk Choreographic College. This is Natalia’s 15th season with the company, and she now calls Louisville home with her husband and colleague Phillip and their two children.