Bolshoi dancers: Ballet is the art of overcoming oneself

July 25, 2014 Diana Bruk, RBTH

Why do you think the Bolshoi Ballet is so internationally revered?

A.T.: I think it’s managed to retain its reputation from the Golden Age. We have a wonderful group and a great repertoire. And the standards for the dancers are still very high.


D.M.: Well, the Bolshoi blends the Italian, French, and Russian schools of ballet, so it’s all of the very best. And the instructors are excellent. They really instill a sense of discipline, which is important for ballet. They’re perfectly comfortable moving your foot into the proper position themselves if you’re not doing it right, and if you don’t like that, you can pack your bags and leave.


Do you think the American approach to ballet dancing differs at all from the Russian? For example, are there any misunderstandings with [American Bolshoi dancer] David Hallberg due to cultural differences?


A.T.: Not at all. He’s a great person and he really blended in with our troupe. I think artists have their own language – an international ballet language.

A.T.: そのようなことは一切ありません。ディビッッドはすばらしい人で、ボリショイバレエ団にしっかりとけ込んでいます。アーティストには独自の表現力、世界で通用するバレエの表現力があると思っています。

M.V.: He’s a very open and positive person. I think that when people are kind, cultural differences don’t matter so much.

マリア・ヴィノグラードワ(M.V.): デイビッドはとてもオープンで前向きな人です。いい人には、文化の違いはそれほど重要ではないと思います。

D.M.: If he continues in the same spirit in which he started, everything will be great. We’ve had lots of foreigners over the years, and what really matters is the person. If a dancer thinks he’s a star who has nothing left to learn, that doesn’t have good results, but David isn’t like that.

D.M.: 初心を忘れなければ、すべてがうまくいきます。これまで何人ものダンサーが海外からやってきましたが、そのダンサーの人物次第です。もし、自分はスターダンサーだからもう何も学ぶものはないと考えているようだったら、いい結果は生まれません。デイビッドはそういうタイプのダンサーではありません。

I was elated to hear that tickets to the Bolshoi were totally sold out. Did you worry that the current political tensions between America and Russia were going to affect sales, and have they affected your time here in any way?


A.T.: No, I’m very happy to say that there were no problems at all, because I’ve always believed that culture shouldn’t have to pay for politics. What happens in politics shouldn’t affect regular people or culture. Artists, after all, exist to bring goodness into the world.


Do you diet at all?

Anna: Absolutely not, I eat everything. We especially love sweets. The idea of ballerina’s dieting is ridiculous, because we need the energy to exercise on stage.

A.T.: 一切していません。何でも食べます。私たちは特にスイーツが大好きです。バレリーナがダイエットしているという話は、ばかげています。私たちには、舞台で踊るためにエネルギーが必要なのですから。

Image: bolshoi.ru/ Anna Tikhomirova as Kitri in Don Quixote. Photo by Damir Yusupov.


Soloist Kristina Kretova Gets a Big Break in ‘Don Quixote’


July 22, 2014 10:36 p.m. ET

About a month ago, she said, she danced the dramatic narrative ballet “Onegin” five times in one week with several different partners, a challenge for any dancer. Two of those performances, she said, were with David Hallberg, the American dancer who joined the Bolshoi as a principal in 2011.


Ms. Kretova was impressed with Mr. Hallberg’s “open and friendly” personality, adding that it was unusual for an artist of his popularity to be so humble and communicative. She was also grateful that he attended her 30th birthday—a karaoke party—even though he was dancing the next day.


“He came and he performed a rap in English. It was funny and everyone in the theater talks about it,” she said, adding that she herself mainly performs songs by the Russian star Alla Pugacheva.



Within the Bolshoi, Ms. Kretova said she looks up to principle Svetlana Zakharova, especially in “Swan Lake.”

“For Russians, the way she takes the stage is the ideal Swan. But Americans think it’s cold,” she said, expressing surprise at recent reviews.



Image: bolshoi.ru/ As Odette in Swan Lake. Photo by Damir Yusupov


NJ.com The Bolshoi Ballet at Lincoln Center: lots of swans, but not so many stars (on July 22, 2014 at 8:29 AM, updated July 22, 2014 at 8:51 AM)

online.wsj.com Don’t Blame the Dancers (July 22, 2014 6:51 p.m. ET)

Published on 27 May 2014 by LincolnCenterVideos





The Mariinsky Ballet: ‘as exciting as the World Cup’


9:00AM BST 25 Jul 2014

Seeing the Mariinsky, in particular, is like going to the root of ballet. This is the company, formed in the 18th century, where what we now think of as classical ballet was forged. The Paris Opera Ballet may be older, but it was in St Petersburg, not Paris, where Petipa made Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty the cornerstones of the traditional repertory.

特に、マリインスキーバレエを見るのは、バレエのルーツを探るようなものだ。18世紀に設立され、今私たちがクラシックバレエと呼んでいる演目を作り上げたのがこのバレエ団だ。確かにパリオペラ座バレエ団の方が歴史が古いかもしれないが、伝統的レパートリーの礎とも言えるプティパ作「白鳥の湖」や「眠れる森 の美女」を世に出したのは、パリではなくザンクト・ペテルスブルグなのだ。

In the years since Petipa’s death in 1910, the Mariinsky has gone through many, many changes. The version of Swan Lake they now perform is Konstantin Sergeyev’s 1950 revision, with a Soviet-approved happy ending. In recent years, massive reorganisation means that the purity of their training, where dancers only from the Vaganova Academy graduated into the company, has been disrupted. More recently still, that precious school itself has become subject to the political manoeuvrings of Russian cultural life.


Yet, when this magnificent company step out on to the stage, you can see in the lines of their bodies, in the quality of their commitment and, in particular, in the moral authority and seriousness of the corps de ballet, the lineaments of the standard by which all ballet is judged.


There are some magnificent dancers – my own favourites are Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov – and some dancers the critics may argue over. There are some fascinating ballets; seeing Diana Vishneva in an unfamiliar version of Romeo and Juliet, or Uliana Lopatkina in Balanchine’s rarely seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream are tantalising prospects.



Image: theguardian.com / Diana Vishneva, an ‘exquisitely feminine Juliet’, with ‘thrilling’ Vladimir Shklyarov. Photograph: N Razina