St.Petersburg

Julian MacKay, a first soloist at the Mikhailovsky Theater

19 Feb 2019
In Your Pocket sat down to talk to the super talented Julian MacKay, a native of Montana and now a first soloist at the Mikhailovsky Theater - at just age 20! As a young teen, he was spotted by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and was invited to study in Moscow. Julian became the first American to graduate both the intermediate and advanced departments of the academy. After graduation, young Julian got a chance to dance at the Mikhailovsky and now calls St. Petersburg home!

- Tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been living in St. Petersburg.
- When I was an 11-year-old boy living in the state of Montana, USA, I won the Youth America Grand Prix medal. Soon afterwards, I was noticed by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and was invited to study in Moscow. I became the first American to graduate both the intermediate and advanced departments of the academy. After working eight months at the Royal Ballet in London, I got an offer to be a second soloist in the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and now at just 20, I am the legendary imperial theater’s leading male dancer!

- What is your favorite district in St. Petersburg and why?
- I love the center of the city, all along Nevsky Prospect and especially around my Theater - the Mikhailovsky Theater on Arts Square. St. Petersburg is beautiful even in the places it shouldn’t be.

- Is there anything you particularly like about spring in St. Petersburg?
- There’s so much beautiful green space in St. Petersburg, the lilacs start to bloom and it’s easier to get around the city so we start spending a lot more time outside.

- What are some of the spring events you’re most looking forward to?
- I have a new clothing line coming out sponsored by Grishko (the world-famous leader in dancewear, shoes and accessories), which I am designing while being inspired by Apollo and his Muses.

- If a visitor can visit only one ballet performance this spring (March/April/May), which one should they visit?
- I definitely recommended Giselle or La Sylphide - both are romantic ballets that are perfect after a day exploring the city! Make sure to check out the Mikhailovsky Theatre website to see when I am dancing. I will also soon have my own website up www.julianmackay.com.

- Apart from the Mikhailovsky Theater, what are some of the other cultural musts for a tourist visiting St. Petersburg?
- The Hermitage and the area around Palace Square are great! The Repin Academy is a must, as is a boat trip on the canals and the Neva. Just make sure to dress warm for the latter!

- Can you give our readers some insider tips? What are some of your favorite places in St. Petersburg that a tourist won’t find in a guide book?
-
The Roerich Museum, which is newly opened on Vasilyevsky Island. This Russian painter and philosopher is the subject of an original ballet “Warrior of Light” that I am producing and performing in along with my three siblings, who are also ballet dancers.

- Apart from the bad words, what are some of the most essential Russian words/phrases everyone should know?
- Chyut-chyut - this is actually one of the first Russian words I learned and for a couple of months over-used it a ton so all of my classmates at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy had a running joke about it. Teremok is actually the name of a restaurant that serves blinis (Russian pancakes) and if you are a traveler on a budget it’s a cheap and great place to eat.

- Do you have any plans for the summer yet? If yes, what are they?
- I am going on tour with my own show and a Grammy winning cellist, so stay tuned!
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