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‘Ballet’is food for thought:Titova
All the world’s a stage! …. When the legendary play writer William Shakespeare said this, he must have well kept in mind what it means for an artist who has to literally make the world a ‘stage’. One thing that connects all the true-to-heart artists and Shakespeare here is that their works are not for them-selves, they are for the world. Liudmila Titova is literally living this saying of legendary Shakespeare in flesh and blood. She is known for her simplicity among her fans and this is something worth admiring. Off stage, sans the glamour, ballet-dress and the make-up; the spark in her eyes is enough for one to identify her even in a crowd. Titova’s artistic aura is hard to conceal and this is what she is proud of. It was rather a pleasure to meet this talented woman who has by virtue of her sheer interest and dedication reached unparalleled heights in her career which also happens to be the thing she loves the most.
Titova, the director and the main lead of ‘Cinderella’ show by the famous Royal Moscow Ballet, was recently in Abu Dhabi with her 70 team members. She was here to perform at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) as a part of the Abu Dhabi summer season being promoted by Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi. The 90-minute performances, featuring two lead dancers from the ‘Bolshoi Ballet’ and some of Russia’s most prominent musicians, including principal conductor Sergei Ostetrov, Cinderella cemented her place in the hearts of audience pretty fast.
Having performed in more than two dozen countries across the world, Titova comes with wholesome experience of performing before audiences from multicultural societies. The Gulf Time got an opportunity to talk to her in the Emirates capital and we indulged in an open conversation with the artist to know her experience with UAE audience and learn some ballet essentials that ‘make all the difference’ as she says.
Excerpts from the interview are as follow:
This is the debut performance of The Royal moscow Ballet and The Royal moscow orchestra here, what would you say about your experience of coming to abu dhabi so far?
I have been to several countries but this is, I must admit, one of the most pleasant experiences so far. However I do not like to categorise places because every country has a charm of its own, if there are mountains and snow on one side there is sand and sun on the other.
You know, people are similar everywhere. In Abu Dhabi one thing about audience that has smitten me and my crew is that people love to express what they feel. They will clap if they feel good, they know how to express and this makes them different. I remember on the first day of our show, some people from my team told me that they saw around a dozen children dancing and jumping and trying to do some ballet steps during the break in the show. This shows they liked us and what better welcome can it be for artists than audiences loving their work. It is just wonderful when these mothers come after the show and tell us that we want that our girls becomes little ballerina too. This is the biggest honour I believe and this is for what I will never forget Abu Dhabi.
What do you think fascinates the audience, the most about a Ballet performance?
I believe it is different for different people. See if it is an artist, he would love the hard work we put in, synchronization in the show and the ultimate message that is conveyed. For little ones, it is about the dresses, the whites, the pinks – girls love that. Also, the lighting and the sound the music I mean is enough to make those little bundles of energy sit for so long a time and enjoy the performance.
Our aim on the whole is to put up the best show we can. For this we rehearse day in day out and make sure that every time we go on stage, we not only gather applause, but that we feel the connection with the audiences too – a connection that lives with them forever. It is not like a movie or a TV show, which just comes and goes, such performances where it all depends on your talent and your hard work, are only successful if they directly or indirectly also contribute to your personal and spiritual growth. Your performance should be strong enough to convey a message that stays with the audience throughout their lives.
in one ofthe most unusual rehearsals, you went to a typical desert setting.
What prompted you to do so and how different was this experience from the other ones?
We took to Abu Dhabi’s expansive Al Khatem desert for an impromptu rehearsal. With Vadim Lolenko, my co-star, who plays the fairy tale prince, we went to the crest of a towering dune near the Arabian Nights Village to perform the classical Arabesque pose and this indeed was one of our most unusual settings to date. This we decided because this is a fairy tale setting to demonstrate the beauty of Ballet. It was one such time, the memory of which will stay with me forever. Nature is the biggest teacher and we did not want to miss out on an opportunity to be closer to it and actually feel the connection. This made our following performances more profound and I could actually feel that connection with the people and the land.
at quite a young age you are the director of this show, you are also an actor, and you are also a teacher. Where did it all start for you? When did the ballet come to your life?
It has now been 18 years. Ballet is my life now. I started taking classes when I was 8 years old. I worked very hard all through this time. While only one thing remained my focus that I have to give my best, I kept on learning one or the other thing every day. I traveled across countries and today I proudly look back to tell you that it has been more than 20 counties where I have performed till now including Germany, Switzerland, France, South Africa, Brazil, China and Italy. I love performing and being part of such a wonderful team. These people understand me and I understand them. Ballet is my life now. It is food for thought.
What is the next plan?
I would love to set up a Ballet academy. But I don’t want to confine myself.
For now, I love this travelling and performing in various countries. I want people should know that Ballet is not just a dance form; Ballet is a way of life. You learn discipline, you learn flexibility, and you learn how to be a winner altogether no matter what hardships your life poses. So, it would be wonderful to share this knowledge and actually being able to shape lives but I am not after money. I want to spread this message and that is what I am doing.
What advice do you have for the ones who want to learn Ballet?
This will be a lengthy answer (chuckles). For anyone who wishes to enter this world of Ballet, he must know that this is no smooth ride. You have to be prepared for immense dedication. But in the end it is inevitable that you will emerge as someone who will be a winner for life.
You will be a more adjusting person, a much disciplined one of course, but the most fruitful part is that once you will be on stage performing, you will know why artists say their performance is their God.
The satisfaction, the communication without words, the exchange of love and kindness that comes with your performance, will be something, which cannot be measured.
How do you think the technology upsurge is affecting the art forms like Ballet?
This is something that has surprised me. In Russia, I don’t see many children getting so much inclined towards technology. I don’t say that these things are not there. Of course we have children who are more interested in gaming and mobile phones and internet, but we somehow have been able to keep our traditions alive. Ballet is something that people love there and it is because of the parents that children take interest in this.
Which part of the Cinderella story is your personal favorite?
This is very difficult question. Being the director of the show it is very difficult for me to segment the entire show this ways. You know the show is just like life. It is incomplete without any of the experience as it is all connected and if you have to dislike one thing you will never arrive to the other one. You have to love it all. It is the darker and the lighter shades that complete the pictures you cannot have only lighter ones. So I see the performance as a whole, if it is worth applause my work is done. It is success of the entire team and it is because of each and everyone that we perform well.
Автор: Ritika Sharma