We want to bring the magic of ballet to everyone.
Timur: I began my professional dance career in 1965. I was rewarded from a very early age with the opportunity to dance at the Bolshoi Theatre, and I have worked professionally with the Stanislavsky Theatre for many, many years. I really disliked the pompous image of dance; I wanted to use the Stanislavsky style of performance to interpret the stories, to create dance gestures. I don’t like the use of excessive wardrobe or scenery, it gets in the way of the dancer’s own performance. I think a dancer should be able to communicate their emotions, the maze of sensations that are produced on stage, magically to the audience.
After I had toured the world myself and retired from performing I founded my own academy of dance in the late 80s to continue to perfect my idea of how ballet should be performed, and then in 1989 I founded the Moscow Ballet. We perform the best of the classical ballet repertoire: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, the best known ballets in the world. Our company reputation was swiftly established and in 1991 we were the only company invited to participate in the farewell tour of the great Rudolf Nureyev. We are now regarded as one of the most important companies in our country which makes us all enormously proud.
Liudmilla: I grew up in Moscow, and I started dancing when I was 7. I’ve lived, breathed and dreamt ballet ever since. I graduated in 1973 from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography which is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in the world. I then went on to study at the world famous Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre. I performed as the principal dancer in most of the classical and modern ballets and toured many, many Western countries. In 1976 I won the award for Best Role for my performance as the Snow Maiden, and in 1986 I won “Best Actress of Russia”. I studied Choreography at the Moscow Academy of Arts and I now lead the troupe of dancers at the Moscow Company as Ballet Master. I love to work, I have to work every day, and I have to move. If I don’t then I go crazy.
Svetlana: I am originally from Siberia, a place called Krasnoyarsk. When I was a little girl I moved to Perm to pursue my dance studies. Perm Academy of Ballet is one of the most thought of schools in Russia. After I had graduated I danced with the Chelyanbinsk Opera and Ballet Theatre and then I started to teach as well in the 90s. I have taught ballet around the world, as well as perform. It is very difficult for a dancer to make the decision to stop dancing. It is like bereavement. It is a very difficult time in our lives.
Timur: The style of performance is a hallmark of our productions. We want to be able to strip away the ridiculous notion that ballet is only for the higher echelons of society, we want to make the art form accessible to everyone. From the youngest person to the oldest person we want them to understand and be moved by the ballet that they see on the stage. When we are on tour in the Balearics we try to encourage groups of school children and elders to come to see our performances. We love it when we are able to share the magic with ballet virgins, and we turn them into ballet addicts!
Ludmilla: We tour three times a year, we come to the island normally every January, April and August. This year we are doing eighty performances in Spain! Throughout the 25 years of the company it has performed more than 1800 times. I am responsible for thirty dancers in the current company on tour, and each one of them is like my child, I feel that I am like their mother.
Svetlana: But we are like a family. Everyone helps one another. We move around the country together and we spend every day together. It is very rare to have a day without a performance or an airport. If we do have a day to ourselves then we like to explore, but mostly we prepare to perform, perform, eat, sleep and try to relax.
Timur: It is worth it though; everyone who comes to see our performances loves them. We have even had the Queen of Spain tell us that she loved our ballet. Everyone wants to see The Lake, (Swan Lake), so we take it on tour every year. And at Christmas time we also offer the Nutcracker, which is a traditional ballet for the season. The mentality of the public has changed over the years; the ballet is not seen as elitist anymore. When you introduce someone to ballet for the first time and they are captivated by the art and fall in love with it that is a marvel. I am very thankful for this, that my ambition to bring ballet to everyone became a reality.