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Andrei Litvinov's Inspired Dance

Among theatre genres, ballet is probably the most aesthetic. The plasticity and language of gesture must be expressive and beautiful. Ballet characters are fantastic and noble; we see rather an ideal than reality. But yet, the people like us dance, and all of them are different and unpredictable.

The male artist's dance is of particular interest in ballet, though the stronger half of the mankind looks often too graceful. The great high leaps, broad resolute gestures, vivid temperament, splendor and fervor save. And our hero, Honored Artist of the Republic, Andrei Litvinov, has all the above. But there is something else making us recall Andrei's dance with a smile and some warm, radiant feeling. The artist must be many-sided and still recognizable, bringing the eternal values and momentary existence. This is why Litvinov is interesting: he is fabulously unattainable and quite earthly. His characters are lofty and frankly nice. You can feel the real man's power: lively, young, free of complexes and original.

The nature had granted Litvinov striking appearance, high stature, artistic talent and, above all, a bright character, which is impetuous and lyrical, romantic and specific. Andrei likes the canons of classical choreography, but he is not an academic person himself. He “lives” on the stage taking one flowing direction, blending organically the various verges of image. He is an open and serious person. In short, he is brilliant and is no tyro at the theatre at all.

Litvinov: I've been working since 1986. But I started my ballet biography in the Moscow Academic Choreography School : I studied five years in Moscow , three years in the Chisinau School . I was noticed in the theatre at once and I was promoted, but in a year I was called up to the military service. I was a tanker and an anti-aircraft gunner.

Correspondent: It's a sudden turn, since the army is not the best place for the dancer, one can lose form. And how did you feel when you took off the soldier boots?

It is a contra-indication for the ballet artists, I even thought of giving up dancing, I had no hope to recreate… But everything turned all right.

Did your parents send you to the ballet school?

I was born in Bender. The promotion group selecting the talented children noticed me there. I passed three selection rounds, and only three of 360 persons were sent to study in Moscow.

Everything happened by chance, as fate willed …

I did not even think of the ballet, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut or , hockey player like all children. But when at first I saw «Swan Lake», I just fell in love with ballet and could think of nothing else but dancing .

All ballet people are dreamers and they live as if in a fairy tale, all the more, the majority of ballet plots are fairy tales …

But it can't be otherwise. If you do not believe in what you dance, the audience will note the falsity at once and won't believe.

In what first nights have you danced?

“Nutcracker” and “Carmen-suite” as well as “Carmen” in the version by Radu Poclitaru. The rest of the performances were staged before me, but we have very few premieres due to the lack of funds. It is a pity, because first nights make an artist grow and mature in his creative work.

You are always elegant and inspired, in spite of the same repertoire … and are you always self-confident?

By no means. You can dance lightly, with aplomb, beautifully, but no one knows what awaits you in a minute. I am sure in what I do, but I do not know how I will manage it, I can't foresee it…

C: Have you had any unexpected things?

A lot. I had falls, fractures, anything …

You make an impression of a toiler, “a soldier on the stage”. But maybe you have your own preferences, attachments. Or you don't care?

Tchaikovsky's three ballets are on at the theatre where I dance three princes: Prince – Nutcracker, Prince Sieghfrid in “ Swan Lake ” and Prince Desire in “Sleeping Beauty”. And all of them are alike, though the “prince's part” is one of the ballet basics. Each prince has his own character, his facets.

But who is the most preferable?

L: Albert in “Giselle”. Both because it is my first part and because he is full of contrasts. He is light-minded and penitent. I feel close to this character: wild emotions at heart, as if he “burns inside”.

C: But “The Sylph”?

L: Here we have the main character – not a prince, but a country fellow chasing after his butterfly – dream. I like the performance style in “The Sylph”. It is like the classics, but not usual, not Russian. There are strong parterre technique, low leaps here. Unusual body and perspective position: it is the performance's charm.

C: “The Sylph” is unusual, mysterious, mythical, and the part of James suits you very well. “A simple fellow has delicate feelings ” – you make it very good: kind of democratic estheticism …

L: We were filled with the spirit of “The Sylph” even greater when we were in Scotland .

Have you retained the contacts with Russia ?

Individual contracts help: I have my impresario in America where combined performances with participation of Russian dancers are staged. I am invited together with them. I've danced with Lyudmila Semenyaka, Nina Semizorova … With many dancers.

Who are your favorite partners?

I have danced with all our dancers. Each dancer has her pluses; the most important thing is that the partner should be smart, sensitive, inspired. Alyona Zaitseva, Nadya Cotets, Maria Polydova do not need any introduction. Masha is expressive, Nadya is academic, and Alyona is fine in general. She dances the whole theatre repertoire, she succeeds in any part.

You and Zaitseva are an ideal ballet couple: one melodic line, entire harmony. You match each other visually too; you really look fine. But let's recall the memorable moments, phases of your theatre career …

The strongest creative impulse is the work with Grigorovich in “Nutcracker”. Then follows Radu Poclitaru, a really creative person pleasant to work with.

But you teach too, don't you?

As a teacher – coach, I teach classics, master class. I do rehearsals with the ballet artists.

But besides the money, what do the tours give you?

In Europe the conditions are better than those of ours. There you have another perception of art. There you are thought of: make-up will be done for you, you will be dressed, prepared for the performance – tremendous care is taken of you. A good impresario will ask you hundreds of times if you are fine, if you need something, right up to small things.

And the artist feels himself to be a person ... Do you have any friends abroad?

A lot of my Moscow classmates are there, we phone each other, they invite me to cooperate, to teach and to dance – in America , in Russia , Romania . But the level of an artist is not determined by money. Many have not been rich before, but they've been famous.

Our theatre also gives us an opportunity to develop, to reveal ourselves. In the West only experienced artists are needed. They are not give time for development.

The West is much more technical. But as for the spirituality, the Russian ballet is ahead, we dance with our soul. There you have much more sport, but what is ridiculous: more and more Russian dancers are there. In many theatres there are only Russian companies. In England , there is a company called “Russian Ballet”.

But do you like teaching?

I like it very much. It helps me dance better. You notice not only your mistakes, but also the others'. I like observing the artists when “absorb” the information like a sponge, and they are happy when they succeed.

Are you an optimist or a realist by nature?

I am a romantic at heart. Sometimes I am mischievous, my son has taken after me. I am different. I happen to be explosive, indignant, especially when there is some injustice. I am a fighter for the truth.

But do you want to become a choreographer?

I hope to. You must be born to be an artist. It should be in your blood. Since the ideas are not born from nowhere… though I am not so mature to make serious projects. It is difficult to dance and to produce at the same time.

Are you a universal partner?

I have a “prince” figure. In appearance I am a lyric dancer outwardly, but in the soul I am fire. It encourages me.

What people support theatre: creative, fanatic?

Creative fanatics. To be creative is not enough: ballet requires fanaticism.

Interviewed by Elena Uzun

Translated by Vlada Popushoi

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