Ali Abdulla Al Afeefi |
April 01, 2011
Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko, principal dancers at the American Ballet Theatre, perform at Emirates Palace together with artists from the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky.
| By Shamma Mohamed Al Meqbali |
March 31, 2011
The Young Media Leaders meet Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko, the American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancers, on the eve of their Ballet Gala. Max and Irina answer the questions the same way they dance together… in perfect harmony.
|Photo by Ranim Ibrahim |
SM: You came here
to perform during the Abu Dhabi Festival and – as you know – your show is
already sold out. How do you feel being part of the Festival?
Irina: We are
extremely excited and looking forward to performing and bringing joy and
happiness to the audience and we hope to get new fans.
Max: We are a
little bit nervous, to be honest, because when you hear the fact that your show
has sold out, it builds extra adrenaline, extra emotions and extra
responsibility. We’ve been working very, very hard to put this evening together
and knowing that there’s such a response – we are beyond happy and, as Irina says,
I really hope that the audience will enjoy themselves and that they will
appreciate the effort put into it.
performance will include famous dances from ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Giselle’
and ‘The Swan Lake’. Can you tell me the reason you chose these pieces?
Max: When we
started taking about the programme, since it’s the first time for us in Abu
Dhabi, we wanted to bring the best of the best. And for me, nineteen century
classical ballet is the best of the best. It has a timeless beauty and will
probably live forever. So the names you mentioned – ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and
‘Giselle’, and ‘Swan Lake’ - are the crown jewels of classical ballet. They are
wonderful; all of them created by genius choreographers such as Marius Petipa
and beautiful music. So performing the best of the best is the simple reason
behind our choice.
SM: And which one
of these pieces do you like the most?
Irina: Oh, it’s hard
to say which one we like most. We’ve basically done all this repertoire in full
length ballet, because we have led the full length ‘Sleeping Beauty’, full
length ‘Giselle’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, so it’s all in our ‘vocabulary’. And each
time you dance in a performance you fall in love with the character and you
transform yourself into the person you perform. But, I would say, if you eat
black caviar every day, eventually you want to try something else… So even if
at a certain time you are in love with a particular ballet, once you’ve done it
a lot, you naturally want to do something else. And there are different
characters, and there are different emotions involved. And it’s so wonderful
and challenging to be able to ‘be’ different people at different times.
SM: Max, do you agree with Irina?
Max: I agree, yes.
We’ve done all of them and the main thing that unites them is the relationship
between a man and a woman. That’s the basis of classical ballet. And the
emotions involved are portrayed differently in each piece, with different
movements, different styles and a different etiquette. But it’s a timeless
relationship, the ultimate relationship in the world…
Irina: … it’s all
SM: Do you have
any plans to come and perform in the future in Abu Dhabi?
Max: I very much
hope so. I hope that tomorrow evening is the beginning of a long-term relationship.
Irina: And that it
will open a door for more opportunities.
Max: We have many,
many plans for the future. My ‘computer’ [Max says, pointing to his head] is
already working on what I can potentially bring in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and… who
knows! Yes, I will be very honest, I would love to come back to Abu Dhabi.
SM: I am aware
that ballet is very demanding and that it requires lots of training and
preparation. Once all the practising is finished, and you are actually on
stage, in front of the audience, what is the feeling that dancing gives to you?
Irina: It’s like air.
It’s incredible adrenaline and a moment of happiness. It’s something that you
live for, something that makes you forget about the pain and the tiredness, and
everything else. You open a different dimension and you connect with something
else [she says, pointing above]. It’s an incredible feeling. It’s hard to
explain, but it’s the purpose of our lives. That’s why we chose this career.
Because we can open our hearts, unite ourselves with our soul and our music and
our emotions. If everything comes together in one voice, then it’s a miracle!
It’s an unbelievable feeling…
SM: You are a
couple – husband and wife. Does the fact that you are a family make your
dancing together easier or more difficult?
Max: It’s my
favourite question! No, it’s not easier. And people might ask why, and the
reason is that when you know a person for so long, and you are every day with
this person in the studio, and you’re doing ‘Swan Lake’ or ‘Giselle’ or
‘Sleeping Beauty’ for over twenty years, well… to be honest… it can get on your
nerves. There is a danger that it can become repetitive with no fire inside
anymore. So what we are trying to do is always reinvent ourselves, find
something new within the familiar pieces, find a new interpretation, or to
slightly change the choreography. We have to feel like children – like today is
the first day that we are doing this ballet. So when we feel that, the audience
feels exactly the same thing. Because you cannot lie to the audience – they
feel everything. If you go on stage and you are not happy, you feel empty –
they would feel exactly the same. You cannot fake your feelings. So, going back
to your question, it’s not easy because Irina demands a lot from me and I
demand a lot from her. We try to take our partnership to a completely different
level. It’s not just physical partnership – hold me here and help me there -
it’s emotional, and emotions need to click. We don’t have to overpower each
other, we have to talk and have one voice while not screaming at each other. So
if she’s talking I have to listen, and if I talk she has to listen, so we
always work to find the perfect balance…
Irina: On the one
hand it can be very, very difficult, but on the other hand it can be very
comforting and supportive. And sometimes, when I am performing with different
partners, then I realise… ‘Maxim was really helping me here…’
Irina: If you don’t
feel emotions from other dancing partners, you don’t click. And if you feel
that something is missing, that actually the most important part of it is
missing. So, although we are very tough with each other, at the same time we
get more benefit, we enjoy the performance and we feel really complete and
happy and that we’ve achieved something. Sometimes it happens that one of us
would change the choreography in the middle of a performance, because something
might have happened, for example one might hurt very much or something else –
in those cases we have an instinctive understanding for each other.
Max: Imagine – one
look for Irina and I immediately understand that something happened with her.
Or I can give her one look and she would know that something happened to me.
immediately we have to react!
Max: We can’t talk
to each other, you can’t stop the part and say ‘excuse me, audience, we are now
going to do this or that’. The music is playing, so, in the split of a second,
we have to make a decision and go to plan B or plan C, depending on what just
Irina: …or improvise
something on stage in order to continue. Nobody will notice anything.
Max: It’s the
complete trust, it’s the trust that’s been developed for over twenty years…
Irina: …and this is
the true value of our relationship.
SM: Do you have
any message for all the people in Abu Dhabi who love ballet and who can’t wait
to see your performance tomorrow night?
Max: I hope the
audience will be transformed for these two hours, I hope they will forget about
the everyday life, with all the difficulties and the struggle, the thoughts and
problems, and just be with me. I want to them to embark with us in this journey
of this phenomenal art form.
Irina: Art has such
power, a healing power, and it gives people new emotions, ways of exploring the
world and a way to open their heart for love.
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