Meet Maria Khoreva, The ‘Insta-Ballerina’ Whose Flexibility Is Unreal

A human rubber band.

Maria Khoreva
Maria Khoreva / Instagram

A human rubber band.

Maria Khoreva is the Moscow-born dancer who just got called an “Insta-Ballerina” by Dance magazine. With over 295,000 Instagram followers, this girl comes classically-trained, genetically blessed, and there isn’t a Photoshop wand in sight.

Maria is just 18. She spent the best part of her childhood and teen years at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. The prestigious Russian ballet school is considered to be one of the world’s best and getting in is no picnic. The academy plucks little girls from all over Russia for their hyper-arched feet, extreme flexibility, and the one thing you can’t learn – the natural ability to dance.

Maria’s Instagram makes most fitness models look like amateurs. Her 180-degree développés showcase limbs that appear to be made of rubber. At the same time, sports bras highlight abs that would likely make The Rock jealous.

“She works with her head as much as with her body. And I’ve never seen such technique before. It’s phenomenal. I’m holding her, and thinking, everything is just perfect. There’s nothing wrong at all.”

Dance magazine quotes male dancer Xander Parish talking about Khoreva. The two are now young stars at the Mariinsky Ballet, Russia’s most famous dance and opera house. On April 8, Maria fronted Dance magazine. She’s making her mark.

A mishmash of studio stills and practice or stage videos, Maria’s Instagram caters to aspiring ballerinas, die-hard dance enthusiasts, and a different audience entirely. Namely, individuals with no prior affiliation to the ballet world who now come hooked on this girl’s agility, balance, and gravity-defying poses.

The April 8 Dance magazine feature also quotes Maria on life as part of the Mariinsky Ballet.

“The stories that people tell about the Mariinsky, that everyone is evil—it’s not true. All the dancers have been kind, generous and supportive. Of course, I feel the pressure, but they make it so much easier.”

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Pressure in the ballet world is, indeed, intense. The movie Black Swan attempted to portray this largely misunderstood world of morning classes, backstage flurries, bleeding toes, and endless rehearsals. Ballet is one of the few sports that see up to eight hours per day of training followed by full evening performances.

For Khoreva though, the studio is her second home. Be it weekdays or weekends, this girl can be seen practicing her pirouettes or perfecting her pointe work. Khoreva keeps her head down, but she’s getting noticed. As a Nike partner and promoter of pointe shoe brand, Bloch, endorsement perks likely come welcome for Maria. Ballerina salaries are notoriously low.

At the age of 18, Khoreva has yet to be promoted to the company’s highest Principal rank. For the ballet community though, it’s just a matter of time for this rising star.