In recent years Daria Pavlenko gave such influential proof of artistic potential, reliability and versatility, which ensures her place among elite of ballerinas. On the beauty of motions, musicality and feelings she is beyond comparison. Her performances in leading roles of ballets like Swan Lake, La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda are steeped in the grand classical manner, emphasizing the qualities of choreography and music rather than the technical prowess of the dancer.
Daria Pavlenko's career followed a more traditional path than is common in the Mariinsky Ballet, where stars are now often made overnight. In her case the daily corps de ballet work preceded the more prominent assignments. In her second season at the Kirov she began to prepare her first soloist roles, mainly under the guidance of Gabriella Komleva, one of the most distinguished ballerinas of the previous generation. In 1998 Pavlenko danced Maria in Zakharov's dram-ballet Fountain of Bakhchisarai, the Lilac Fairy in the old Konstantin Sergeyev production of The Sleeping Beauty, and Gamzatti in La Bayadère. At the end of that year she was also cast in Alexei Ratmansky's challenging Middle Duet with Islom Baimuradov. In April 1999 Pavlenko was selected to dance the 3rd Act of The Sleeping Beauty in the Gala evening dedicated to her repetiteur Gabriella Komleva.
In her fourth season Daria Pavlenko, now a soloist, made her debut as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake and danced the second ballerina role in Rubies. During the large-scale Summer engagement in London's Covent Garden in June 2000, she particularly distinguished herself by accepting and learning the lead in Balanchine's Diamonds in less than a day. By also learning Emeralds later that year, Pavlenko became one of the very few ballerinas who tackles with equal success the principal parts in all three sections of Jewels, a rare feat that perfectly illustrates her versatility.