What inspired you to connect your life with ballet?
Olexander: I was given ballet in addition to my desire. At the age of 11, I could not think that I would become the premier of the National Opera of Ukraine. One day at the ballroom dancing championship where I took part, I was noticed by one of the former ballet dancers, approached my parents, and said: “Give your child to the ballet, he has amazing data!”. That’s the recommendation of an unfamiliar man, just six months later I was already in Kiev on the qualifying tour in the ballet school. Then I dreamed NOT to do it, I wanted to go home. But my destiny has already been solved. The love for ballet appeared much later, at the age of 17, when I began to enjoy what I was doing. Inspiration comes from the sensation of the scene, the buzz from your dance and the love of the audience.
Kateryna: I dreamed of dancing since my childhood! I feel the inspiration when I hear the sounds of music and sing this melody with my body and movement.
The biggest reward for me is when on the international ballet Gala, in which the best representatives of the best theaters of the world take part, Ukrainians get the biggest applause of the audience. And applaud not only me and my partner – they applaud the National Opera of Ukraine and Ukraine itself …
You have the image of the most beautiful ballet pair in Europe. There is a stereotype that in a dancing couple romantic relations interfere. You have successfully defeated this myth. How do you do it?
Olexander: Personally, it helps me that we are a couple not only on stage, but also in life. I know a lot of couples who can not dance together, constantly quarrel at rehearsals and eventually refuse to work together. We are with Katya as a pair of inseparers – we are well together 24 hours a day. We never bother each other. Even while Katya washes off her makeup, she calls me with her. (Laughs)
Kateryna: Yes, removing the stage make-up takes time and I get bored. Therefore, I ask that Sasha sit nearby and talk with me. (Laughs) Even our parents are surprised that we are with Sasha around the clock, often joking about us. I think we succeed because we are not only spouses and partners for each other, but also best friends.
What career in ballet in Ukraine differs from a career in ballet abroad?
K: We are touring a lot. The management understands that it is important for our theater to participate in international concerts so that the name of the National Opera of Ukraine can be heard all over the world. Now we came from World Gala from Mexico. There were presented Grand Opera, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Theater, Mariinsky Theater, we and the Berlin Opera. This shows the international level of the theater. Abroad, of course, ballet dancers earn more. But many theaters do not let the artists on tour.
O: In our country and in the former CIS countries there is a concept of career growth and the opportunity to get the title of Honored Artist and People’s Artist.
Were there proposals to sign a contract abroad? Why stayed in Ukraine?
O: We have received proposals from different theaters from all over the world, but for various reasons we refused them.
K: I’m deeply convinced that it’s good not where I’m not, but where I am. I love my country and, in addition, we have created excellent conditions in our theater.
What is the image of Ukraine in the ballet circles at the world level?
O: Everybody knows that some of the best ballet dancers are released from Ukraine. The Ukrainian school is appreciated all over the world.
K: Everyone knows that the Ukrainian school is a technique and a soul. For the viewer, this symbiosis is very important.
Who from the world ballet artists inspires you?
O: I was always inspired by Rudolf Nureyev, I like how David Holberg dances. When I studied at the school, my idol was Mikhail Baryshnikov, as well as all artists and pupils of that time.
K: Mikhail Baryshnikov inspires absolutely everyone, he has some raisins in it. I really like Carlo Fracci. But in every artist you can find something good that can be learned.
What kind of ballet is your favorite?
O: My favorite party is Escamilio, a bullfighter from the ballet Carmen, a bullfighter from the ballet Don Quixote and Romeo in the play Romeo and Juliet. I love Woland’s role in “Master and Margarita” – this is a sexy, technical and charismatic party. My favorite parties are passionate and emotional men.
K: I can not say for sure. I like the games of fatal beauties, such as Carmen, Shaherizada, and at the same time, foreign critics call me the best Juliet and Giselle. For me, dramatic parties are very important on the stage, so that the role has an emotional component.
How does the Ukrainian public differ from the public abroad?
O: The public is always different and shows emotions in different ways. Everything depends on culture and mentality. Italians are very emotional and if they like dancing, they scream “bravo” from the beginning to the end of the play. But when we danced in the Arab Emirates, throughout the performance there was a deathly silence. It was not clear whether they like what is happening on stage or not. But at the end of the performance the hall burst with a series of applause. Theatrical culture is very developed in Ukraine. Ukrainian viewers feel a lot better when they need to applaud. Our spectators at the end always clap while standing. For me, as an artist, this is the highest praise.
K: The Ukrainian public is very educated and educated. For me it is the most native and warm spectator. Speeches on the home scene for us the most responsible.
What do you overcome difficulties in your career and in life?
O: My goal, to which I am going, helps me to overcome difficulties in my career and life. And on the way, as you know, there are always obstacles. But it’s even more interesting. After all, after the black strip always comes white, and vice versa.
K: Thanks to the work. Still from the school my teacher, Tatyana Alexeyevna Tayakina, told me: “When you enter the hall, you must leave all your personal problems and sorrows behind the door.” I am still convinced that only when you are left alone with the ballet will you achieve the result. Whatever happens to me in my life, when I come to work, there is only music, I and movement.
What do you recommend to those who want to connect their lives with ballet?
O: Those who wish to associate their life with the ballet, I will advise only one thing … Be patient and prepare for the titanic work. If you pass all the tests, you will receive extraordinary pleasure from this art!
K: Love creativity. Day by day improve. Ballet is the only man who never forgives betrayals. Therefore, only labor, labor and work.
What are the traditions in your family?
O and K: In each country during travel, we buy New Year balls on the Christmas tree. Even if we travel in the summer. When we are in Kiev, we put the children to sleep and read them for the night together.
What does it mean for you to be the premier of the National Opera of Ukraine and to represent your country abroad?
O: I’m proud of this title! Ukraine is at a fairly high level in the world of ballet. Presenting my native theater, I represent our country. The biggest reward for me is when on the international ballet Gala, in which the best representatives of the best theaters of the world take part, Ukrainians get the biggest applause of the audience. And applaud not only me and my partner – they applaud the National Opera of Ukraine and Ukraine itself …
K: For me, it’s a great honor and a great responsibility. After all, everyone is looking at you intently, how you are carrying yourself, how you are dressed, as you say. But the main thing is that during the dance the scene opens you up to the present, and you can not hide anything from the viewer. All your inner emotions and your essence on the stage are bare.
What is your greatest achievement?
Kateryna and Olexander: Our children.
And in your career?
Kateryna and Olexander: The love of our viewers.
What have you done for Ukraine?
K: Thanks to our tours, we demonstrate that in our country there are excellent talented dancers who dance not only with their bodies, but also with their souls. We show that Ukraine is not just a war. It is very important to present and open Ukraine as a country with a huge cultural potential and incredibly talented people.
O: I’m just starting to do something for Ukraine. Only now I began to think about projects that can do something for our country. On October 1, at the Opera House, Katerina and I will dance the play The Nutcracker. All proceeds from the sale of tickets will be directed to purchase equipment for resuscitation of children’s toxicology “Ohmadet”.
What would you like to wish Ukraine for Birthday?
O: I would like to wish peace and tranquility, because the situation in the country also affects creativity in general.
K: I also want to wish development in art, as developing the cultural sphere, we are making a contribution to the future of our country.
Photo: Alexander Gurman
Producer: Ekaterina Zemlyanaya
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