The Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London 22- 27 July 2008
Farukh Ruzimatov Artistic Director is interviewed for Critical Dance in June 2008
Q. Is being the Artistic Director something you have always wanted to do and is it very different from being a dancer?
The crucial thing you must have if you want to manage other people effectively is the ability to manage yourself. I have great experience as a dancer, I came through lots of difficulties which do face my dancers now and I know what they need and how I can help them in developing themselves. This experience really helps me now, as Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet.
Q. Do you have any plans to develop a Mikhailovsky School or will you continue to take dancers from the famous Vaganova Ballet Academy?
No, Vaganova Academy is a unique place with the history, traditions and with a great future as well. The Academy is one of the principal elements of what we call the Russian Ballet.
Q. Balletic technique has been pushed so that dancers are, for example, far more supple today than when many of the classic ballets were created. Do you believe technique is equal in importance to artistry for the audience today?
I believe that the dancer has to produce certain impression, which is a result of the whole image – technique, dramatic skills, artistry. The ability to impress people – that is important.
Q. What do you look for when you audition a dancer?
I want to have dancers, who are physically strong and gifted as artists. And, most of all, I want to have dancers, who can dance well.
Q. Are you interested in having guest artists from other companies and indeed other countries?
Yes, we are. The Mikhailovsky has been a place opened to international partnership for the whole 175 years of its history.
Q. The balance between being a museum with heritage productions of the nineteenth century classics and a modern ballet company is not easy. How are you developing the repertoire of the Mikhailovsky?
We have a certain policy on developing the repertoire. Each season we present one revival, one new ballet created especially for the Mikhailovsky ballet company and one childrens ballet. So this season we have done Giselle, which is the reconstruction of original stage production with choreography revised by Nikita Dolgushin, George Kovtun created a new Spartacus for the Mikhailovsky and children enjoyed Cipollino, tale about boy-onion and his friends.
Q. This new Spartacus is a total work of art incorporating singing. Are big productions going to feature more than small more intimate ballets in your repertoire?
People enjoy serious productions, spectacular productions. Not accidentally the word performance in Russian is “spectacle”, formed from spectacular.
Q. Like many companies you share your theatre with an opera company are you able to give as many performances a year in your home theatre as you would like?
Today we have enough performances to express ourselves on the stage, to present new artists, to stay at our best artistically. The Mikhailovsky Ballet has more performances on the home stage than the Mikhailovsky Opera.
Q. Was working with the opera in Spartacus easy?
It was a very interesting experience for both companies. Opera people found themselves great actors in Spartacus. And it is always a great pleasure to collaborate with Elena Obraztsova, Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Opera.
Q. Do you think British audiences are different – perhaps more reserved in their appreciation of ballet?
I have been in London lots of times when I danced. The audience seemed to be very warm!
The Mikhailovsky Ballet are at the London Coliseum 22 - 27 July 2008
Film Clip http://justaucoeur.com/farouk.html