You started this season in a new theater. How did you come to such a radical decision – to move from the Bolshoi to the Stanislavsky Music Theatre?
When all is well, you don’t just leave the Bolshoi. I do not want to talk about everything, but there were some fundamental things that influenced my decision. I have long followed the repertoire of the Stanislavsky and always envied the performances of this theater. I position myself more as an artist of the contemporary repertoire than a classical ballerina. I prefer free plastic and, it seems to me, it fits my personality. When I heard about Laurent’s plans for the new season, I was delighted to see all the people I always wanted to work with the list of choreographers: Naharin, Geke, Ekman!
But this was not a spontaneous decision?
No, I took me a long time to take it. Five years to be exact. At the Bolshoi theater, I knew what was waiting for me in the next ten years…
And what waited for you?
All the same repertoire, which I have been dancing for ten years now. And it’s unlikely that I would be able to get somewhere higher, but wait forever for them to finally start putting on new ballets of McGregor, Kylian or Forsyte is impossible. This is a dubious occupation – to live in anticipation. Therefore, having given ten years of my life to the Bolshoi, I do not particularly regret that I left it. When, if not now, is the time something to change and learn new things. I do not know where it will take me…
What are the risks of this transition?
I wouldn’t call it risk. I am a person who is not quickly getting used to things, so when something changes in my life, it affects my state of health and condition. I have been working in the new theater for a month now and I can say that at first, it was rather difficult for me. I was getting used to a new space, time and even new editions of ballets.
But doesn’t such a delicate perception of change gets in your way, because the life of an artist generally lacks stability?
Yes, it does. For me, the risks are always related to my psychological state. I found that such a problem doesn’t affect my physical form that much, but it does affect my psychological state. I can be in perfect physical shape, but if I’m not set up correctly, I can not give out the right result on the stage. And now I’m trying to work on it, I try to go easy when it comes to some failures and difficulties. Of course, it does not always work, but I will continue working on it.
You went through a series of injuries after that isn’t it also extremely difficult to return on stage?
Yes, certainly. I felt a wild lack of confidence in myself after the injury. After injuries, you have a completely different attitude to your body. Changes always begin inside, but changing the theater will surely help me to work on myself.
How did it happen that you danced the same thing for ten years? You in fact were very successful during “Herman Schmerman” the ballet.
Yes, but after this performance, it turned out that I missed almost all the ballet premieres of that period because of the injury that happened due to overload. And when I returned, I was no longer able to join those performances and slowly began to fade into the background. As if before, I was in a stream that led me to something, and then I seemed to cross this stream and could no longer get back into it.
Knowing your dedication and performance, was this lack of demand difficult to handle?
Yes, I had a hard time during that period. During the injury, I tried to switch: I gave masterclasses, worked on myself, tried to develop myself. But in the theater, it was just a barren time, where most of the strength was spent on stress, than on actual work. Of course, there were thoughts that I have to change something, perhaps, to quit ballet. It was a vicious circle.
You are now as fanatical at work as before. As far as I can remember, you constantly put additional work on the press and stretching? Do you not think that to some extent this excessive desire for excellence has led you to injury?
Yes, this excessive fanaticism led to the fact that I was doing everything possible, and I did not find any response from the audience or the management. It was a mental shock because I saw how some people dedicate much less time to the ballet and they all are more successful.
I can not say that now I’m a fanatic. All that I do now is because of the love for my body. Pilates and special exercises, all this for my health, for my back, so that at forty years old I don’t feel like an old woman. Now I want to return to the condition where ballet is not a job, but rather as a hobby. Because when the ballet becomes a tool to earn money, it turns into a craft and creativity disappears. The ballet should not depend on well-being in life, in this profession, only creativity should thrive.
A little bit about the new theater, with whom do you work now?
Laurent introduces a new system of rehearsals, where different teachers are responsible for different, even the smallest roles. This, too, knocked me out of balance, because I was used to working with my teacher in the gym. Here everything is different, everything is focused on work, rather than relationships. I think this approach is good for me.
Are you ambitious? What goals do you have now in the new theater?
No, I’m not ambitious. This is exactly what Mahar Hasanovitch did not like (Mahar Vaziev – art director of the Bolshoi theater). When he first started working at the Bolshoi, he told me to prepare the Dryad Lady, I said: “No!”. Because I think that I am not worthy to dance such a party. So my ambitions are bad 🙂 I have an absolutely sober attitude to my abilities and I understand that there are people who will dance certain parts better then I will.
But you understand that this is a pernicious thinking. How many dancers eventually danced the roles that didn’t fit them at first.
Yes, I agree. It’s just that for some time now I’ve been thinking that classics are for me.
Let’s move away from ballet. We invited you to become the heroine of our project with Tiffany since we know that you absolutely adore Audrey Hepburn and always dreamed of starring Holly Golightly. Tell us, are you and Holly alike?
Nope, not at all. Makeup and parties are not my things. I am very family-orientated. I do not drown out any problems with hangouts and connections with rich men.
I am more inspired by Audrey herself because this is an unusually large latitude person who could truly love and give away that love. She went through a lot while remaining absolutely humble. I would also like to be like that and find resources for love, not only for myself and my loved ones but also for those in need.
By the way, speaking about love, you recently became a bride. Another change?
Yes, soon I will become a wife. This is a big change in everything. I’m super inspired. Now I’m starting to make most decisions myself. Began to listening more to myself. I feel the power, feel that I can change something in my life.
Interview Алиса Асланова
Photo Дарья Ратушина
Style Диана Кличко
MUAH Яна Коптякова
Jewelry: Tiffany & Co
Special thanks to Tiffany & Co.