Born in Ukraine, Plotnikov committed himself there to ballet at the age of 11 and was skilled enough as a child to be admitted to the St. Petersburg Ballet Academy. He soloed with the Donetsk Ballet Company in Ukraine from 1987 to 1990, at which point he came to the United States and became a principal dancer with Ballet Mississippi. Three years later he joined the Boston Ballet and performed in major roles in works ranging from Onegin and Giselle to Dracula and Company B.

He works the Festival dancers as hard as he was trained.

"I just try to tune them up so that every day they dance better to their potential," he says. "Some of the days it's really hard because they're tired, and you have to really push them."

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