Special project Foreigners in St. Petersburg
It has been long time the Russian ballet has opened its doors to the world, and our domestic theatres confirm the statement. The companies have become very multinational: with the dancers from Korea, Japan, Brazil, USA and Europe. The foreign names are so hotly favourite to the Russian audience, and we’ve been already watching the dancers graduating from Russian academies. La Personne team has met seven foreigners, dancing in Mariinsky Theatre, and created extended photo stories about future (and current!) heroes of the Russian stage. We were wandering with them by the windy Neva costs, we got behind the scenes and to the studios and even asked to be allowed to visit the secret art and sculpture workshops of St. Petersburg.
Mariinsky Theatre, Historic stage
Author: Olga Ugarova
Photos: Ira Yakovleva
MUAH: Maria Bystrova
My first trip to Russia was a journey to the International Ballet Competition in Moscow. I was 17. Right before the final where I got the III Prize, Yuri Fateev invited me to join the Mariinsky company as a trainee. I was thunderstruck! After a week I arrived in St. Petersburg.
I didn’t even have thoughts of moving to Russia, I was sure that only the graduates from Bolshoi and Vaganova Academies were able to dance here, and I had graduated from Berlin Ballet School. Probably, then I just got to be in a right place at proper time (smiling).
Ballet isn’t popular in Brazil, because it isn’t considered to be masculine sort of things. But I always liked dancing and I followed my dream, without paying attention to the outside opinion. From the very first days of learning ballet I knew I was doing something very significant for my life.
We turned to join the Mariinsky theatre almost at the same time with May Nagahisa. We had a debut together at our first season with the company – we performed in The Nutcracker. I was 18, May was 17. Since then our duet was born. Mutual work brings us much comfort, we feel the incredible mutual trust. Even after the lockdown when we entered a studio we did everything in a proper way, as it hadn’t been any time-break at all.
My ballet idols are my coaches in Mariinsky theatre. Now this is Victor Baranov. But Gennady Selutsky was the first man who noticed my potential. He means a lot for me. Unfortunately he passed away not long ago, but he would always live in my heart.
Special thanks to PR-department of the Mariinsky Theatre, Darina Grybova and Vitaly Kotov in person for assistance in creating the material.