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.
Great Britain – Russia
Strelka of Vasilyevsky Island
St. Peterburg University
Author: Olga Ugarova
Photo: Mikhail Vilchuck
I moved from London to St. Petersburg a little bit more than ten years ago. In England I danced in Covent Garden corps de ballet and speaking the truth nobody from the art management had ever noticed me, although I made friends with guys. I remember that we’ve even had trainings till late night with Sergei Polunin. Mostly, I was somewhere in a deep corner during classes and anyone hardly paid attention to my presence. But one day Yuri Fateev appeared and gave few classes. He gave many advises to everyone including me. Before his departure, I had a lesson with him and after a while he invited me to Mariinsky Theatre.
When I started dancing variations for two and three, my mother came to St. Petersburg. She was so delighted! I remember how she’s told she has been so proud of seeing me on such a stage. I admit my way to leading parts wasn’t that quick – I danced mostly inset parts and small solos, but then the roles of Albrecht, Siegfried and Romeo happened. I danced the last one with Victoria Tereshkina. She is incredible! She felt my nerves and tried to calm me, to tune me into simply enjoying the dance. Can you imagine? The Prima ballerina! And such a tender heart!
When I first saw the Mariinsky Theatre, it was winter-time, it seemed to me like a magical palace from the Nutcracker Christmas tale. Everything around reminded of a dream: winter, snow, the best world company, of which I could become a part. Of course, I was afraid of many things, because the common British opinion of Russia is limited with the stories about hackers, spies and James Bond. But the more I plunged into theatre and culture, the more I fell in love with the country and with the mates. Yes, the Russians look severe at the beginning, but it turns quickly you feel that these people can be real friends.
Last year I became a citizen of Russia. It fortified my relationship with this amazing country, which is very close to me and means a lot. It’s a huge honour to be a part of it!