Later in the year (November), she took the title role in Moscow Musical Theater’s world premiere of Leah, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky to Leonard Bernstein’s The Dybbuk.

Nina, who surprisingly had never danced before in Italy, conquered audiences in Genoa and Milan, where she danced the Nureyev version of Swan Lake with the La Scala Ballet (March). For ABT’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera, she took part in Mark Morris’ Gong.

The highlight of the year turned out to be her eight-city Japan Tour (Sept. – Oct.)---featuring Ben Stevenson’s atmospheric Three Preludes (Nina partnered by Uvarov) and a grand suite from Sleeping Beauty---with five incomparable cavaliers (Belogolotsev, Filin, Picone, Possokhov, Uvarov) vying for her Aurora.

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The gala performance at the Bolshoi (Dec. 7) formally marking her 20th anniversary with the company was marred by an injury that prevented Nina from dancing on what should have been her very special evening. (See Moscow Journal in the Archives section of this website.) 

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Fortunately, Nina recovered quickly and by January 2002, she was back onstage at the Bolshoi; soon after she joined ABT in Orange County, California, and Washington, D.C. Fortuitously, ABT added Frederic Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée to its repertory in June 2002, so Nina had a chance to reprise Lise--- one of the most lovable characters in all of ballet---and a role she had danced ten years before with the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. Her partner this time was Carlos Acosta.

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Photo: Courtesy of ABT

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