An Impromptu Interview
by Patrizia Vallone
2003 – Positano, Italy
When I was a pupil at the academy, I studied
often with Chabukiani, who died in 1992. He didn't teach only classes
for men and boys, as one might think. I even danced "Giselle"
with him. He was a very lyrical and spiritual dancer, even if he's
mostly remembered for his heroic roles.
After studying in Tbilisi, I attended the
Vaganova Academy in Leningrad for one year. Then I won the International
Dance Competition in Jackson (USA). In 1992, Oleg Vinogradov, who at the
time was director of the Kirov Ballet, invited me to join the company.
are many good companies in the world, and each one of them has its own
unique qualities and characteristics. The Mariinsky has the advantage
of a great and ancient ballet tradition, which is handed down by illustrious
In the past few years I've been coached
by Ninel Kurgapkina, who was Nureyev's partner and collaborator. I prepared
"Sleeping Beauty" and "Giselle" with her. Before that,
my teacher was Olga Moiseyeva.
The Balanchine works I usually perform are
"Jewels" (“Rubies”), "Le Palais de Cristal," also
known as "Symphony in C," and "Apollon musagète."
I've also danced "Serenade," but only when I was an Academy
student. I love dancing Balanchine -- the hip movements give me no problem,
they remind me of Georgian folk dances. After all, Balanchine was a Georgian
too, wasn't he?
Yes, certainly, but after the classics!
Classical ballet remains my great love.
Yes, of course. I particularly love Kitry
in Don Quixote . I adore those fast steps, and I like the Spanish
atmosphere. I love character dances. Flamenco, with its typical hand movements,
is one of my favorite dances.
Did I really remind you of Anna Pavlova?
That is a really beautiful compliment! I'm very glad you liked my interpretation!
When I watch that film, Pavlova seems superhuman to me, a pure spirit!
I studied the role with my teacher, Ninel Kurgapkina, and I also discussed
it at length with my friend Nina Ananiashvili.
I felt happy and honored to receive this
prize, which in the past has been awarded to artists like Rudolf Nureyev,
Vladimir Vassiliev and Ekaterina Maximova. Not to mention the town, which
is really beautiful. I'll be back in Italy soon. In late September I'll
be in Rome for four performances of "The Firebird," starting
on the 26th. I'll be bringing my three-year-old son with me. So we'll
be seeing each other again soon!
Edited by Toba Singer and Lori Ibay
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