Oleg Vinogradov: the School Vaganova Academy now, but the ballet has not become better.


The famous choreographer talks about the prospects of Russian ballet and his new production of the Nutcracker»

On December 8 and 9, the premiere of the Nutcracker staged by Oleg Vinogradov took place at the Opera and ballet theatre of the Conservatory.

The history of ballet knows many different productions of this late masterpiece by Tchaikovsky. People’s artist of the USSR Oleg Vinogradov turned to the version of Vasily Vainonen. Why to it — Oleg Mikhaylovich explained during our meeting.

Enjoy Petipa can endlessly

– It, in my opinion, the most remarkable. Of all the versions of the Nutcracker that exist in the world — and I have seen so many of them in my lifetime — choreography is the closest to Petipa’s style. Vainonen created a completely unique performance. There was something lacking in modern, rational staging.

— Can you name them?
– I won’t hurt anyone. Have you seen Shemyakin’s Nutcracker? There is an interesting work of the artist – in itself. But the atmosphere of fairy tales, romance, warmth and love, which have Vainonen, she wasn’t there. We all grew out of this” Nutcracker ” — through it passed the biggest artists: Nureyev, and Baryshnikov, and Makarova. We’ve been busy everywhere — the first dance of the children, then rose waltz, and finally leading roles. I wanted to make this performance for four years, but the Conservatory had no money, because the theater has no training and special budget for new productions.

— In your edition there will be any fundamental changes?
– Our troupe is four times smaller than the Mariinsky theatre, and it is clear that we do not have enough dancers. In this regard, there are some necessary reductions. Vainonen himself told me how he staged this performance — both for large companies and for small ones. My editorial concerns, first of all, drama and directing. The choreography there is wonderful — I did not touch it.

– Did you know Vasily Vainonen closely?
— I was lucky to work with him — I was his assistant at the last production, which he did in the 60th year in Novosibirsk. I saw how it works and what it achieves. The production, on the one hand, is very simple — in its structure, in drama, in form — and at the same time extremely complex in choreography. There are two magnificent corps de ballet suites. There is the balance of choreographic elements and drama that we see in ancient academic performances. This is a classic dance as a base, and historical dance, and all kinds of characteristic dance, and plastic pantomime. That is, the complex of the ballet performance, which today’s choreographers do not own. Oddly enough, today almost no one creates large, full-scale performances for the whole evening.

– What do you think this is connected with?
– With money, of course. After all, the crisis in the ballet touched primarily large forms. Yes, she is gone, oddly enough. Now I have finally organized my own Fund – “Oleg Vinogradov foundation for the preservation and development of classical ballet”. I will be engaged in the production of new performances, and what I do all my life — the restoration of ancient performances.

– You’re going to re-create them from records?
– First of all, there are no and cannot be any records in the ballet as such. And then there was no video. Only a few fragments. Basically I’m going to do their own versions, which stylishy antique…

– So it won’t be authentic versions?
That’s impossible. You know, just move any antique item from the past to the present-perhaps. With the choreography more difficult. The shape was different in humans. They had different feet, different hands. They were different. After all, the old archival records it is impossible to watch. The same legendary Nijinsky — but with those legs — today, the troupe did not take. Of course, I’m not talking about technique — about bodily form. Today, when you look at the Lepeshinskaya, Dudinskaya, you can see the wrapped knees, nevytyanutaya upgrades… But the nature of dance it is absolutely crazy was. And the audience was different, the aesthetics were different, the perception was completely different… Now, of course, forms a stunning, fine lines, such as Svetlana Zakharova, generally once in a hundred years are born. Everything is changing — therefore, the restoration of ballets should be treated very carefully and tenderly.

– What do you think about modernism? To foresight, for example…
— It’s not mine-it’s gymnastics or, there, acrobatics… I love Balanchine, Robbins, Neoclassicism. I love burnonville. Of Course, Petipa. It’s ballet. Everything else is not ballet.

– How would you define the difference between “ballet” and “non-ballet”?
– There you will not notice mistakes. And you can enjoy Petipa’s ballets endlessly.

In Russia is able to collect easily

– Oleg Mikhailovich, let’s talk about traditions and schools. As far as I know, you were once accused of being the artistic Director of the Kirov ballet, you invited graduates of other ballet schools to the troupe. They said that you began to blur the traditions of St. Petersburg ballet, that Perm, for example, dancers are not Petersburg hands…
Yeah, accused. This is nonsense, absolute nonsense and amateurishness! Especially for a long time I could not forgive the wonderful dancer Olga Chenchikova, who at the I International competition in Moscow received a silver medal. Naturally, I immediately took it, and at the artistic Council it was not even accepted to the rank of soloists: she seemed to be listed in the corps de ballet, but in fact was a soloist. Our school influenced everyone, and only in Perm, where since the war our teachers taught, all of our — and education, and technology, and coordination.

– To the question about the school – can you comment on the situation at the Vaganova Academy of Russian ballet?
– The matter is that the situation arose absolutely anecdotal. Listen to the conversations — it seems that the problem of the Academy is that Nikolai Tsiskaridze was left without a job and need to employ it. It’s just a madhouse! In fact, the school’s problems have existed for more than thirty years. I had claims to school still when directed Sergeyev and Dudinskaya, – we talked to them, and I even offered them that then made at the American school.

– Are you talking about the Kirov ballet Academy in Washington? Does it still exist? Without you?
– There are more than 22 years, successfully developing. Our teachers from the Mariinsky theatre teach there, and the graduates of my school dance leading roles in all the troupes of the world. I tested the system of six-year education and proved that it is absolutely real. And here, after nine years of training, graduates of three pirouettes can not do.

– Why? Poorly teach? Unable to?
— I don’t know… in Russia are Able to collect easier than in any other country. It is a talented big country. The most important thing is selection. It is necessary to go to the periphery — as once in the republics went, selected. But the worst thing is that then did not prepare teachers, not prepared shift. And now, when the generation of famous teachers is gone, there is a desert. And those shots that are supplied by our ballet Academy and the Conservatory are far from ideal. Well, Tsiskaridze was appointed, and he will now lead the school. It happened.

– Do you like him as a dancer?
– Of course he’s a great dancer. It is very specific, individual, it can not be compared with anyone at all. Neither the texture nor the scale… Dancer and personality was not in one generation.

– You weren’t invited to the Academy?
– At the time of Konstantin Sergeyev, at the time of Leonid Nadirov, I was constantly invited. I came, talked to students, told about how the performance is created. It happened regularly, and it was right. And then somehow it stopped. I haven’t been invited in 13 years. Well, okay, I have something to do, I’m not offended…

Our theatre is accessible to the General public

— Altynai Asylmuratova career dancer when you started?
— Of course! I took her to the theater, and with me she became a star. I raised her in the end. Maybe she was offended that I wrote the truth about her in the book — about her strengths and weaknesses. But … it’s not normal after all. In General, I think that what Nikolai Maksimovich will do now should have happened 30 years ago.

– What exactly?
– Reorganization of the school. Elimination of those shortcomings which are in teaching, in shots and so on. In the criteria… I am Sure that breaking it will be nothing — on the contrary.

– They say that the St. Petersburg ballet school will die because it will be run by a Muscovite.
– That’s what people say when they want it to be. I am sure that it will not be worse and Nikolai Maksimovich is able to prove it — he is a smart man. Most importantly-whom he will listen to and with whom in contact will work. Today, to be honest, there is no big difference between Moscow and St. Petersburg schools. Both they and we have advantages and technical imperfections. In the sense of aesthetics the most different arms: the St. Petersburg our hands with nothing to compare, hands and body. Almost no one dances with the body, and for me the body and hands are more important than the legs. Well, the Paris Opera still has legs like we’ll never have. But they dance like soldiers — such, however, charming, beautiful… And in General I will tell you — from the fact that the famous Vaganova School has become an Academy, ballet has not become better. Dancing not become better, not become better teachers, choreographers showed up. Knowledge, skills, experience is not added.

— Would you go there as an art Director?
None of my business. I am a choreographer. I’m the head of the company. I know what to do and how. What do you mean I’d go? Well, if you had to, of course I went… I made a school in America — go and see. I wanted to show you what we’re doing there. Not to invite. No need. Fear.

— What?
I do not know. But I hope that we will establish relations with Tsiskaridze.

– Let’s go back to the Nutcracker from Tsiskaridze. In a few days, the premiere of this ballet will take place at the Mikhailovsky theatre-Nacho Duato seems to also promise the classic version…
— Well, of course, with such a troupe… Of course, we do not have such wealth and such luxury, which is in the big theaters, but our theater is available to the ordinary public. We have the cheapest tickets, and you can get to us at any time. And in the hall, by the way, as many places as in the Mariinsky. And people who love music and ballet come here, and we work for them. So, despite our poverty, despite the budget, which even talk indecently, we tried to make a fairy tale that everyone will love. We have new costumes, we have beautiful scenery of my long-time partner, an outstanding stage designer Vyacheslav Okunev. So that celebration we will do. I’m sure.

Marianne DIMANT talked Photos provided by the Agency “Interpress” and the press service of the Theater.

(c) “Vecherniy Petersburg” 12.10.2015