Interview: Irina Kolesnikova and St. Petersburg Ballet Theater
Illustration by Nereid
Foreword: This interview was done during the tour of St. Petersburg Ballet Theater in Taiwan in August 2019.
I have never been to Russia, and while talking about Russia, the images of cold and vast plains always come to mind. Yet, besides the mental image of a bleak landscape, the term "Russia" also tantalizes my good O' soul with a sense of yearning. Classical music and classical ballet serve as the invisible link between me and the northern land.
The door to the meeting room was opened, and into the room came Konstantin Tachkin (General Manager) and Irina Kolesnikova (Prima Ballerina). Russians are already taller than Asians on average; her long dress in soft textures and her demeanour of a ballet virtuoso maker seem even taller for an extra ten more centimetres.
“Nereid: for younger ballerinas, do you have any tip of how to be related to their character like you do?
Mr. Tachkin: It takes some time for a dancer to feel it, not immediately; it should be experienced.
Nereid: It must be quite difficult to realize that.
Mr. Tachkin: In my opinion, it’s also about talent, and then you can develop it. If there’s no talent, it’s hard to get to this step. Irina has this talent; she can develop it, and eventually find her way to indulge in the characters.
But Irina also said that you must also enjoy the dancing and the particularly this moment when she’s on stage.”
Like an actor, a ballerina also needs to feel with the characters and studies the background of the story in order to lead the audience into the magic world of the show. It takes some times and experience for a ballerina to realize how to put themselves into the characters.
Talent, hardworking and basis are three related elements which can’t live without one another. Which is why they think the strict Russian ballet system could cultivate a strong ballerina the best.
“Nereid: Do you think for classical ballet, is there any difficulty of attracting the younger generation?
Mr. Tachkin: It’s very popular among the generations. For example, yesterday, after the performance, Irina was signing the autograph, and there were a lot, a lot of young people. Of course, most of them are ballet pupils, but also, there were young people who obviously are not. I know this kind of opinion, it’s not only here, Europe the same, they said the spectators are mostly the elderly. I think it’s not true; I think not.
Nereid: Yeah, everyone can enjoy it.
Mr. Tachkin: Yes, absolutely. “
Every industry is trying to attract millennials- this huge and powerful consumer group. A lot of people doubt if classical ballet could continue its popularity in the modern era, and consider ballet as a knowledge that is difficult to understand. It’s a falsehood to Mr. Konstantin and Ms. Irina.
Actually, watching classical ballet is just like reading a dazzling storybook. Each piece of work is adopted from a narrative fairytale. Let go the misconception, classical ballet could be a leisure activity enjoyed by anyone.
Besides Ms. Irina's breathtaking skills, what triggered my fervid admiration for "Irina Kolesnikova" was her friendliness and sincerity, which I didn't expect given her status as a prima ballerina. Thanks to her easygoing personality and our likeness in opinion, the interview which could be serious and even tense turned out to be an enjoyable chat. Within just ten minutes, I feel like making a like-minded friend.
Text: Nereid @bunheadodelette_nereid
(Full interview article on Nereid, Elle Rêve)