Diana Vishneva was born in Leningrad (now St Petersburg). She began to study dance at the age of six. At the age of eleven she entered the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, from which she graduated in 1995 (class of Professor Lyudmila Kovaleva). In 1994 Vishneva won her first victory at the International Young Ballet Dancers’ Competition in Lausanne where she took both the Gold Medal and the Grand Prix. This feat has never been repeated by any other competitor since that day. In 1995, while still a student at the Academy of Russian ballet, Diana Vishneva became a trainee at the Mariinsky Theatre and performed the title role in Cinderella as well as the roles of Kitri in Don Quixoteand Masha in The Nutcracker. Ever since, she has performed lead roles in the international ballet repertoire including works by Petipa and Fokine, Balanchine and Neumeier, Ashton and MacMillan, Alonso and Grigorovich, Béjart and Petit and Preljocaj and Ratmansky at the world’s great theatres in addition to Nureyev, Makarova, Malakhov and Bart’s versions of classical ballets.
In 1996 Diana Vishneva made her debut at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia as Kitri and she continues to appear there in lead roles in the ballets Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Lost Illusions.
In 1999, together with the Mariinsky Ballet Company she gave her first performance at the Metropolitan Opera, while in 2000 she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty).
Diana Vishneva’s international career as a guest soloist began in 2001 with her performance together with the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Manon and at the Teatro alla Scala with the ballet The Sleeping Beauty. In 2002 she made her debut at the Berliner Staatsballett (Giselle and La Bayadère). The same year witnessed her Opéra de Paris debut in Don Quixote, where she later went on to give highly acclaimed portrayals of lead roles in the ballets Rubies (from Jewels), Manon and Swan Lake. Since 2003 Vishneva has been a Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her repertoire at ABT includes Giselle, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Manon, Sylvia, The Dream and The Lady of the Camellias among other works. In the 2010-2011 season she appeared in works presented by the companies of Édouard Lock (Canada) and Martha Graham (USA).
Diana Vishneva’s work has brought the ballerina numerous awards and prizes, among them the title of People’s Artist of Russia, the State Prize of Russia, the Divine prize, the Benois de la danse award, a Golden Sofit, the Spirit of Dance prize in the category in the category “Queen of Dance,” the prize as best dancer of Europe, six Golden Masks and the Ballerina of the Decade prize.
On Diana’s initiative, 2010 saw the establishment of the Diana Vishneva Foundation, a cultural and charitable organisation that works in Russia, the USA and Japan. The main tasks of the foundation are to increase access to ballet for all social classes, to promote it, establish new dance projects and assist young performers and retired performers.