DancerThe names of those who gained the international prize Ballet Benois became known in late April. The 10th jubilee ceremony was held in the Moscow Bolshoy Theatre. The jury that was traditionally chaired by Yuri Grigorovich named the premium laureates of 2002. The prize in the most honorable category "Life devoted to art" went to the Dutch Ballet‘s founder, famous choreographer Rudi van Dantzig and painter Jurgen Rose. "The Best Choreographer" prize went to William Forsyth (Frankfurt Ballet). The Ballet Benua prize went to the ballet dancer Anastasia Volochkova of the Bolshoy Theatre and Oreli Dupon of the Paris National Opera. In the man category the first prize went to Irzhi Bubenichek of the Hamburg Ballet and Jeffrey Gerodias of Elwin Ely Ballet.
Today Anastasia Volochkova is one of the brilliant and, at the same time, fiercely criticized Russian ballet dancer. She has big expressive eyes, a top-model height, a figure that would rather fit a beauty contest than ballet. The young dancer seems to be soaring above others, she is mysterious and inaccessible. And she can "sell" herself like no one else. Her credo is to draw others‘ attention and be liked. Reports often call her a face from glosses and reproach her for appreciating appearance rather than mastership and promoting herself instead of mastering dance steps. However, the beautiful woman with strong character parries: "Everything could be forgiven in the world of art but success. Spectators want to see me." And it is so indeed. Each performance of Anastasia Volochkova, either a ballet or a solo evening - turns to be a sensation. She has successfully toured Britain, the United States, Austria, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Canada and Italy. American, Brazilian and Chinese choreographers gave her dance turns. Great Maja Plisezkaya trusted only Anastasia Volochkova to dance the role of Carmen in ballet Carmen-Suite by Bise-Shedrin that was created specially for Plisezkaya.
Anastasia Volochkova is 25 and she is in the flower of her youth and talent. Earlier she worked in the Mariinsky Theatre in her native city of St. Petersburg and has played 14 roles within four years. Then she was performing on the Bolshoy theatre stage, touring London where, Anastasia says, she is quite at home. At the age of 19 she won a gold medal at the 1996 International ballet contest after Serge Lifar in Kiev. Then she won the premium Ballet Benois in 2002….
What does her extraordinary talent mean? How does Anastasia Volochkova happily combine characteristic features of the St. Petersburg and Moscow classical ballet schools? She says: "I want to be a classical ballet dancer and at the same time dance "modern" and be in the limelight. I have a lot of ideas about future ballets and concerts, including a free entrance play for children. Children are the most grateful spectators. I am interested in almost everything. For instance, filming of a historical feature is starting and I am to play as a dramatic actress in it. This is a new life for me, like fresh air. Each performance or rehearsal is a life experience that is a source of light. A TV version of my performances is currently being prepared. I devotedly believe that there are no stops in life and it is never late to get knowledge and experience. I want to dance much and variously. I know I‘m rebuked for hurrying and turning my like into a fuss. Perhaps, it is a deal of true in it, only because I do not want to be late since I‘m young and spiritually and physically strong enough".
Anastasia Volochkova dances the roles of Giselle and Raymonda; her personal ballets are "Pahita", "Bajaderka", "A Vision of A Rose", "Esmeralda" and "The Russian Hamlet" in which she plays the role of Catherine the Second. She says these characters are close to her and reflect her own life that was full of challenges even in her childhood. She says: "At first I was not accepted to a choreographic school allegedly because of a lack of necessary physical parameters. But I always knew, even being a small girl that was crying and clinging to doors of the Vaganov Academy, that I would become a ballet dancer and not a teacher or an engineer like my mother. Since then I know by sure that purposefulness and working efficiency are more important then initial physical state. And teachers, of course. In the academy great Natalia Dudinskaya was my teacher and remain my teacher for all my life. Now - my teachers and coaches Natalia Bessmertnova and Marina Kondratieva. I also gratefully recall lessons with Ekaterina Maximova. My partners and colleagues in the theatre are also my teachers of a kind."
In her young years Anastasia was demonstrating amazing efficiency by training 16 hours a day in order to achieve freedom of moving and lightness of jumps. After she started working in theatre, she used to come earlier than others to do gymnastics before a training began. Anastasia believed that a classical dancer should develop his or her body to master the modern dance style.
The role of Odetta-Odilia in "The Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky, among many others played by Anastasia, has greatly influenced her life. It brought her back on the Moscow Bolshoy Theatre stage after a long term "guest contract" that was rather vulnerable for self-esteem. Several years ago she played in the ballet by Vladimir Vasiliev, now she is brilliantly performing in the interpretation by Yuri Grigorovich who specially invited her to play the first role.
Anastasia Volochkova says: "The interpretation of the plot changed made it an absolutely different ballet. The play is no longer about Princess Swan, but about the soul and high-flown ideal. It appeals to people not to betray their souls. I treat the call as the main one in the ballet. The Prince appeared to be undeserving the ideal, he betrayed his love, but betrayal can not be forgiven. The interpretation by Grigorovich speaks about a clash between dreams and the reality, doubleness of a personality, doubts, the difficulty of making a choice, inner struggle - all these are known to every person."
Now Anastasia Voloshkova, a soloist of the Bolshoy Company, is capturing audiences with faultless technique, stage self-confidence, queenliness and brilliant beauty. She continues performing abroad where she has been repeatedly offered palaces and castles, hands and gorgeous life. She says: "I want my life to be connected with Russia. Moscow and St. Petersburg are the dearest cities for me. I want them to need me. I‘m sure best choreographers, poets, musicians were born in Russian. My mission is to dance only in Russia."
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