On Monday 18th September, The London Russian Ballet School will perform a one off performance at the London Palladim to over 700 children. An admirable initiative, the evening’s aim is to break down barriers by making the world of Ballet accessible to children from varying backgrounds. The dance company’s principal, Evgeny Goremykin- alumni of the world renowned Bolshoi Ballet talks more about the commendable performance and the Bolshoi’s 240 year proud tradition.
The London Russian Ballet School are set to perform a special one-off performance at the London Palladium in September. How are you feeling ahead of the event?
It is always stressful before a performance which requires many hours of hard preparation. I am very proud of my students and their attitude to their work is very special. It takes a long time to grow a dancer and I have to be patient but this performance is very special, my students will be dancing with some of the world’s best dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet which is my old company where I danced for 20 years. There will be 800 children in the audience who have never seen a ballet. This is a wonderful responsibility. So yes I am nervous, proud and excited and grateful for the opportunity.
Romantic Revolution is a collaboration between the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet and yourselves. What inspired the collaboration?
The Bolshoi is my own company. It represented a very happy time in my life. It is also the greatest ballet company in the world together with the Mariisnky. When I was young I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this wonderful company with its heritage and traditions. I loved the repertoire, which was very varied in contrast to what people think. The standard of dance was very high and I think I was blessed to have been a part of the troupe at its height. One of my first classes in the company I nearly had a heart attack the barre was lined with world famous dancers who were household names. Great great artists Plissetskaya, Liepa, Vaisieliev, Lavrovsky, Mazimova and Bessmertnova to name only a few. I am enormously proud of this wonderful theatre and ballet company. It was only natural to want to maintain my connections with my performing life. I could not teach if I had not had my wonderful schooling and theatre experiences and this is what I want for my students. It was a privilege for me to arrange the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary tour of the Bolshoi Ballet to London in 2016. Our goal is to bring this great company and its artists before young people who have never seen ballet and to a wider public.
The evening will consist of Don Quixote and a piece specifically crafted for Bolshoi’s principal dancers, Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov. Why these two pieces in particular?
The modern audience expects variety so classic and contemporary is important in any evening event. I also wanted to consider the young children who will see ballet for the first time. Don Quixote is thrilling, it is technically demanding and very magnetic. When we performed this in outreach in July the children went mad. I think all audiences love this classic and there is a very rich variety of solos which our students will be able to perform alongside the wonderful principals Krysanova and Chudin. It seemed natural to let Alexandrova and Lantratov choose something in contrast to show the depth of Alexandrova’s strength and Lantratov’s grace. They are wonderful dancers together.
This collaboration is special in that it looks to create accessibility within the arts, with 700 children from Lambeth, Brent and South West & West attending the event for free. Do you feel at present there is enough being done to make the arts more accessible?
No I think more could be done but it is very difficult to know how to improve things. We have worked very hard to create a consistent programme of performances to engage a growing number of local young children in the arts and are now moving from Lambeth into other areas of London. This requires dedication and a firm belief that young children really will respond to what they see and really they do. Some of the most rewarding performances we have given are for youngsters in schools. It is my view that any approach to improve access must be in depth and not a box ticking exercise otherwise it is a waste of money. We are very grateful for our sponsors in this performance who have a very egalitarian approach to education and the arts. Our chairs Natasha Tsukanova and Irina Gofman have an incredible commitment to involving more young people in the arts and expanding the Bolshoi project to a series of performances next year.
What are you hoping for the audience to take away from Romantic Revolution?
Great happiness and pleasure from having seen something to take them outside their every day life. A wonderful evening excursion with a great atmosphere where an audience is united regardless of where individuals come from.
The London Russian Ballet School is the only school to offer Russian ballet training in the UK. What can trainees expect from the school?
Students at the school expect to be taught the Russian system which is over 250 years old. It has produced some of the world’s greatest dancers and relies on a tradition of former dancers passing on the knowledge they have learned and were themselves taught by their teachers. This is unique. If I did not teach what my teachers taught to me I would feel incomplete. I would like to pass on the knowledge that made me a dancer but a dancer from a school, unmistakably Russian. My students expect to work hard but have control of their bodies, good technique, fifth position as we say, and that gives inner strength.
LRBS celebrates seven years this year, helping to support the dance careers of the stars of tomorrow. What has been your proudest achievement so far?
My proudest achievement was the tea at the House of Lords to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary tour of the Bolshoi Ballet’s first trip to London. I was most honoured when Vladimir Urin spoke in public of our small school as a legacy in London of this great Russian system and culture.
What advice would you give to aspiring ballet dancers, choreographers and future Artistic Directors?
You have to know yourself and you have to know your art. This is born more from hard hard work and good teaching.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Romantic Revolution will take place at the London Palladium on Monday 18th September 2017. For more information on the production, visit here…