INTERVIEW: Russian State Ballet of Siberia comes to Cardiff

WHAT better way is there to get in the Christmas spirit than to enjoy a world class ballet with your loved ones?

St David’s Hall has got the festive season all wrapped up with three enchanting productions from the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia starting with Coppélia (Thurs 19 – Fri 20 Dec).

Then it’s time for the festive favourite, The Nutcracker (Sat 21 – Tues 24 Dec) before the greatest romantic ballet of all time, Swan Lake (Fri 27 – Tues 31 Dec)

Neil Collins chats to Anna Fedosova from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia about another unmissable season.

The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia comes to the Hall each December. Is there something extra magical performing at Christmas time? 

Christmas is magical for children and adults. We do our utmost to take our audience to a fairytale world where dreams come true like when a young girl falls in love with a prince, who protects her from evil. Dreams help us to live a happy life, and without them life would be dull and empty. 

It must be hard being away from your friends and family at this time of year? 

It’s a little bit hard being away from home and family at this time of year especially on the New Year’s Eve. However, the Russian Christmas Day is actually on 7 January, and we actually keep our Christmas lights on at home from the end of the year until 14 January. This year the dancers and musicians will get together on 25 and 26 December when we have no shows. Then we get together again on 7 January and celebrate our Russian Christmas!

The life of a ballet dancer must require incredible levels of fitness. What is involved in your typical daily training regime? 

For an outsider, our morning exercises of just stretching and taking ballet positions at the barre may seem easy. Yet, by the end of that hour we sweat like people do after a hard work-out at the gym. A professional ballet dancer can miss one or two days of exercise in class or onstage, but even then we do simple routines at home or at the hotel. 

We usually start at 10am, have an hour at the barre and then another hour rehearsing with your partner. Performing the leading role in any ballet demands a lot of physical, psychological and emotional output. Usually soloists perform once a day, but if my colleague becomes unwell I’m needed to step in for a second time. You can’t show your tiredness and lack of energy to the audience though. They came to watch and get that energy and joy from you, and you can’t fail them.

At this time of year, it must be so tempting to eat and drink loads! What is your usual diet as a dancer? 

Ballet dancers actually eat well and don’t adhere to the diet for the sake of physical form. Most of us love meat as we need lots of energy onstage, and burn all calories in rehearsals and performances. I’ll certainly indulge over Christmas, but then I may have a harder exercise at the barre on 27 December! The best New Year detox is exercise and plenty of water.

Do you still get nervous before performances?

I don’t get nervous, but I focus all my attention on what is ahead. I have no superstitious rituals to complete, and I don’t enter into conversations with colleagues backstage. Instead, I save all my energy and concentration for the performance. 

Of the three ballets – Coppélia, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake – which is your favourite?

The Nutcracker. Everything is in harmony in this ballet – the storyline, music and choreography. The entire production is quintessentially Christmas.

This year’s ballet season once again comes “sprinkled with magical effects”. Does this make it an extra special experience for audiences?

The audience will be surprised to see more magical transformations onstage beyond the dancing on the digital screen. For instance, the Christmas tree will grow, whilst Moor and Columbine dolls will literally jump from Drosselemeyer’s box of surprises on the backdrop to dance onstage. 

Is Cardiff the perfect way to start the tour?

We love the Cardiff audience, and can’t wait to meet them every year. Cardiff is always the first city on our tour, and coming directly from Siberia we find ourselves in a warm environment in all senses of the word!

Tickets are priced £18.50 – £48 for 2pm performances,

and £20 – £50 for 5.30pm & 7pm performances. 

Family Tickets for 4 (2 adults and 2 children under 16) range from £52.50 – £114.50 for 2pm performances and £57 – £120 for 5.30pm & 7pm performances.

Concessions available.

To book you seats, please visit www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk or call the Box Office on 029 2087 8444.

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