Vaganova Ballet Academy graduate (class of 2017), Bolshoi dancer, Eleonora Sevenard. Photos by Karina Zhitkova for La Personne.
On choosing Moscow: “I auditioned for the Bolshoi earlier than anywhere else – six months before graduation, during the winter break. That’s one of the reasons [I chose it]. Makhar Vaziev was present at the audition and my partner and I took class with Svetlana Zakharova. Had we not been accepted, we would still be very proud to have attended that class. I come from a big family and I’m used to being surrounded by noise and activity when I’m home, but things are different now. Aside form this being a brand new chapter in my life, it is also my first step towards independence and I’ve made it by moving to Moscow. I see the Bolshoi as a temple of the arts and I like their extensive and diverse repertoire. I like the Bolshoi productions and I like to imagine myself in some of the roles. I like trying new things, testing my strength and I’m sure that Moscow can give me the opportunity to do just that. That’s another reason.”
On Tsiskaridze: “Nikolai Maximovich is very dear to me. During the last two years, I had all of my rehearsals with him. I understand his corrections very well. Usually, you’re given several different ways to approach a move and you have to chose the one you’re most comfortable with, but it’s different with Nikolai Maximovich. He immediately sees exactly what I should to do. When so much energy and love is put in you, I don’t know how you could possibly fail to get inspired by it to work harder. It’s very important to me not to let him down and to meet his expectations. Our meeting was a fateful one. It has influenced my life a great deal and I’m sure will continue to do so for many years to come.
On envy: “I try to maintain a friendly relationship with everyone. The academy is one big family. When we were little, we looked at the senior students in awe, dreaming of one day being as good as they were. Later, the tables were turned, and we were the ones who junior students looked up to. I didn’t want them to see me as some unreachable star. I wanted to help and give useful advice. I think that competition is a necessary, as long as it’s healthy. If you can’t do the two or three tours someone else can then all that means is that you need to work harder.”
On Vaganova Prix: “Soo Bin Lee’s dancing was so light and inspired; we had goosebumps watching her! Moreover, she’s already an accomplished artist and has a lot of experience dancing on the Primorsky stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. My partner and I danced in two acts in a row: first, the Black pas de deux from “Swan Lake”, then “The Fairy Doll”. The Prix turned into a real test of strength for us. I wasn’t upset that we took second place. This was my first competition.”
On being VBA’s de facto prima: “This year, the graduation performance only had one cast, as the other two had already graduated. While rehearsing with my new partner, I had a feeling that we’ll get the leading roles. By the time of our performance at the Kremlin Theatre, I already knew that I’ll be joining the Bolshoi, so I really hoped that I would get to dance the lead, as this was my opportunity to introduce myself to the Moscow audience and my future teachers. I didn’t want to miss it.”