I didn't decide, it was my mother's decision! She sent me to a ballet school in Austria. She didn't say that she wanted me to be a dancer however, no, she asked me if I wanted to fence. When I said yes she told me that I needed ballet to be able to fence well, so I of course went along with it; somehow I stayed with the ballet, gave up the fencing. Then I had the opportunity to study at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St Petersburg, and that was how I went to the Kirov.
What is a character dancer?
It means a dancer who doesn't dance the role of the prince, but the non-classical parts like the Spanish Dance in Swan Lake. The second dancer in a classical ballet is often the bad guy, that's me; like Birbant the pirate in Le corsair.
Do you think it makes a difference to your career that you are not Russian - a foreigner?
Yes, I think so. It made people notice me more, which helped with getting reviews in newspapers and magazines. But, at the same time, I am the odd one out, and this means perhaps that there is a limit as to how far I can go with the company.
The Kirov is full of dancing families - sons and daughters of dancers; do you want your son to become a dancer?
No. It's too much hard work, and it's underpaid! As a kid you have no free time, all your childhood is spent in ballet classes.
What is your favourite part?
Lots of them. I like Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, Jose in Carmen (another bad guy), Nurali the slave driver in The Fountain of Bakhchiserai (you see how I like to play the hard man!). But it changes, you can dance a part well and you think it's your favourite part, you dance it badly and you hate it.
Who is your favourite dancer?
When I was a kid I had favourite dancers - Nureyev, Baryshnikov. Now the good dancers come and go so quickly that I don't notice them for long enough.
|© 2005 Jeremy Noble|