Representatives of the Bolshoi Theater, Makhar Vaziev, Nina Semizorova and Svetlana Zakharova, spoke about the ballet world from the inside in the Observer program on the Kultura TV channel.
A Program for Young Artists - "Amazing Motivation"
Beginning of the Young Artists Ballet Program of the Bolshoi Theater became an important topic for discussion. The Theater’s Ballet Artistic Director Makhar Vaziev said that initially this project was conceived as a regional one, but organizers received heaps of applications from foreign dancers.
The process has already started and future participants of the program send their dance recordings. The Bolshoi expert group watches the applications and selects those who will pass to the next stage - intramural audition at the theater. After this two-stage selection process, the artist gets into the educational program. They work with teachers and immerse themselves in the creative atmosphere of the country's major theater. The training lasts from 4 to 7 months on the average, but every participant will have a chance to come all this way at a comfortable pace. The theater will provide the program participants with accommodation, and the general sponsor, Ingosstrakh, will cover their travel expenses and provide a scholarship as financial support.
Choreographer and teacher-repetiteur Nina Semizorova warned that it wasn’t easy to qualify for the Young Artists Ballet Program, as the competition was huge. Teachers and organizers have a difficult task: to choose the most talented artists from among the gifted artists. And prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Svetlana Zakharova recalled how she herself once participated in a similar program.
Who needs the new Youth Program more - the theater or the participants? It is obvious that first of all this opportunity to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Bolshoi is valuable for ballet dancers. However, there is a concern, because this might cause a massive outflow of talented regional artists to Moscow. Will the local theater companies suffer, if they are left without their stars?
Makhar Khasanovich also recalled one demonstrative case. A ballerina from a region came to the Bolshoi for audition. And, even being an accomplished artist, she was literally “half-fainting”, when she entered the room and saw the prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova. “It doesn’t sound pretentious, it’s an amazing motivation,” - Vaziev wrapped up.
Freedom, Restrictions, and Ballet Ideals
The most emotional part of the conversation touched upon the topics of ballet ideals and restrictions. What traits should a ballet dancer have? Participants of the conversation ran through the main ones: natural musical sense and plastique, physical characteristics - proportionality and good coordination, as well as the ability to live out the emotions on stage vividly. Svetlana Zakharova and Nina Semizorova added that you can't do without patience, hard work and luck in ballet.
“A student must meet their teacher. The person with whom you do your first steps in the choreographic school is crucial,” - Zakharova emphasized.
Ballerinas are often asked about the tough limitations they put up with. This conversation was no exception. However, both ballerinas of the Bolshoi admitted that they had never felt disadvantaged.
They also talked about the dependence of artists on the choreographer, artistic director and other people involved in the art of dance. All partners in the conversation admitted that a ballet dancer depends on many people and factors. But at the same time, they are free to express their emotions like all creative people.
Makhar Vaziev spoke about an interesting practice of the Bolshoi. Any dancer can prepare any part and apply for any role during regular auditions. This is how the creative freedom manifests itself - if the artist looks convincing in the role, they get it.
Russian Ballet is Still the Best
Professionals of the ballet world are sure that traditions of the Russian ballet school help maintain world leadership. The system of mentoring and transfer of creative experience from generation to generation - all this is still present in Russian ballet. And you shouldn’t forget the legendary discipline of artists.