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Question of the day: is ballet for everyone or not?
By tradition, on the eve of the new year, legendary gymnasts, ballet dancers, circus dancers, trapeze artists and acrobats will gather on the stage of VTB Ice Palace. On the eve of the premiere of the unique sports show For Sports! City of the Future ” we managed to talk with the ex-soloist of the Mariinsky Theater, the show participant, the ballerina Oksana Bondareva . Her repertoire includes leading roles in the ballets Le Corsaire, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sylphide, Laurencia, Samodurov's Minor Sonatas, in the ballets of Nacho Duato and more. In our interview, Oksana will talk about the beginning of her career, the lifestyle of a ballet dancer and share her impressions of working on a new show.
Photo: From the personal archive of Oksana Bondareva
The creative path of Oksana Bondareva
- Oksana, tell us about the beginning of your career: how old did you start to study ballet, and how was it?
- Since the age of 4, my mother wanted to send me to a ballet school, but we lived in Kazakhstan, and there was no ballet school in the city. Therefore, I started to do gymnastics, even managed to complete the program of a candidate for master of sports. Later, when we moved to Ukraine, my mother sent me to a choreographic school at the Dnepropetrovsk Opera and Ballet Theater. At that time, ballet did not arouse much interest in me, for me it was a monotonous exercise - standing for hours at the barn ... so I forced myself to go to classes through force.
- When did the turning point occur?
- Everything changed when at the end of the school year we went on stage with a reporting concert. During it, I was imbued with the stage atmosphere, felt the warmth of the audience, and then I realized that I wanted to do ballet. By that time I was already dancing on pointe - the only one from our class. Much was easier for me, because I had a different muscle corset, because I was a professional gymnast.
- Oksana, tell us how you got into the troupe of the Mariinsky Theater ?
- At first I worked at the St. Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theater, after graduating from an internship at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. There I met Mikhail Grigorievich Messerer, and I also worked with the Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.
A little later, there was an offer to work at the Mariinsky Theater. For 3 years of work, I gained experience, met brilliant teachers, danced on the historical stage, it was wonderful. Then I returned to my native Mikhailovsky Theater, in which I still work, here both the audience and the stage warm me. I'm at home here.
Photo: From the personal archive of Oksana Bondareva
Image life of a ballet dancer: rehearsals and nutritional principles
- Does the lifestyle of ballet dancers somehow differ from the lifestyle of an ordinary person?
- Aa ballet dancer remains a ballet dancer 24 hours a day - this is the most important thing. We have almost no days off, if the vacation, then a maximum of two weeks a year. We usually work 6 days a week, day off is Monday. But it happens that it is loaded too. When I worked at the Mariinsky Theater, almost every day off was busy: someone was practicing their technique, someone had a performance on the eve and needed to rehearse. The working day is usually structured like this: in the morning we go to class, perform exercises, then rehearse.
- How long does the working day last?
- Depending on what performances the day before how many stage appearances an artist has. One rehearsal usually lasts an hour, but you need to warm up before it - everything together takes about two hours. There are 2-3 rehearsals per day, that is, on average, a working day lasts 6 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less.
- Are there any specific nutritional or dietary rules specifically for ballerinas?
- On the day of the performance it is not forbidden to eat something high-calorie, because we spend a lot of energy and energy on stage. There are no strict dietary restrictions: some are inclined to be overweight, some are not. In general, the diet of ballerinas hardly differs from the diet of an ordinary person who eats right. I would love to eat the last time at 6 pm, but I have such an organism that I cannot sleep on an empty stomach. So for dinner I can eat cucumbers with lettuce, a boiled egg. An ordinary breakfast - cottage cheese or yogurt.
Ballet - for everyone or not?
- Oksana, tell me, how old should I send my child to a ballet school?
- Before asking this question, you first need to look at the child's abilities and desires. Because, firstly, one cannot go against the child's wishes - otherwise it will be a torment for him and for the parents. Secondly, you need to understand that in order to practice ballet, a child must have natural inclinations. For example, as a child I danced all the time, whirled, and my parents did not know how to direct my energy (smiles).
- How many years is it too late to go to ballet school?
- I have only met talented artists, winners of international competitions, who started their careers in ballet at the age of 17-18. Of course, this is already much more difficult, because it seems to me that at this age it is difficult to comprehend the classics.
- Is it possible to start doing ballet for people over 20?
- - If you are planning to study for yourself, why not. Working out plastic surgery, stretching - all this helps to maintain a youthful body. But it is impossible to get into professional ballet after 20 years, this is already a unique case.
Фoto: From the personal archive of Oksana Bondareva
About the new show
- What will be the show “For sport! City of the Future ”, which will premiere in December? What is your role in the project?
- For me this is a very unexpected project, but the opportunity to participate in the same show with gymnasts of this magnitude is a gift of fate. In general, this picture is the story of the future and that there is love there too, no matter what people are. Choreographer Oleg Gabyshev showed in this act three stages of love: inception, development and extravaganza (or culmination). We will open the show program. In this production, I perform a dance on pointe, it is a little non-standard, because Oleg tried to modernize the classics with modern extraordinary elements. I think it will be very interesting - modern ballet on pointe.