Classic never gets old because it is constantly being rethought. Khristina Shyshpor at the age of 17 impressed the spectators by performing parties in the "Swan Lake" Ballet. Now the ballerina demonstrates a new level of performance and new more dramatic characters.
Khristina, ballet is, without question, an elite type of art. Not everyone can appreciate it and feel it. Tell us, how did your mutual love with ballet begin?
My first acquaintance with ballet was when I turned 4; it was then when my parents first brought me to the National Opera Theater to see Swan Lake. I really liked it, and we would attend ballet performances more often.
Many girls dream of becoming princesses, of wearing beautiful dresses and being gorgeous. It seemed to me that the ballet dancers on stage then were doing just that.
Every performance would leave me content and fascinated, with a dream that someday I would become like these dances. It is interesting how life turns and how everything changes: now it is me, who is on the stage, dancing in those performances I used to attend, and many of those ballerinas whom I watched so enthusiastically are now my teachers.
There is an opinion that one must make tremendous efforts to succeed in ballet. What is your formula for success?
Daily self-improvement and overcoming laziness, temptations and fears. The way to succeed in ballet is to fight, with yourself and your vices. Stop for nothing, as sky is the limit.
The world is “turning” so quickly now that you need to work long and hard in order to be ahead and set the tone, and not be running behind and stumbling. If you want to achieve something in ballet, you need to be hardworking, patient and emotionally resilient. Without these qualities, you can simply break down under the physical and mental pressure.
For better or worse, there is no room for error on the stage—no second acts, unlike in the movies; you cannot start all over again if something went wrong; you cannot take a break to talk with the director. Therefore, when I go out to dance and I am left alone with the audience, I have got only one chance, one instant and one movement, which determines my success.
Do you remember that moment in your career when you felt that you were “spreading your wings”?
Life just started going at a furious pace. After all, I was only 16 years old when I went on the opera stage as an artist. Experiencing a million and one emotions, I could not fully realize what was happening then. And this was only the beginning: in a year, all these feelings multiplied for me a hundredfold, as the lead in Swan Lake. It was then when my “wings” spread, both literally and figuratively. And I would very much like my “flight” to last as long as possible.
I know that now you are performing in Swan Lake again ...
Swan Lake is my lifelong dream. And I fulfilled it at seventeen. Now I wish and plan to show professional transformation. It is an iconic ballet for me, and I want to demonstrate how I have changed and become better, more mature and wiser. My technique is also much better, so this time it will not be a showcase of that seventeen-year-old girl’s talent, but a performance by an experienced ballerina who can convey sensuality, audacity, deception and at the same time tenderness and naivety. My experience will help reveal Odette and Odile better, deeper and differently.
Tell us, do I understand correctly that Swan Lake can be called the Hamlet of ballet? Is it considered the pinnacle of career and skill?
Yes, it is true. Swan Lake is one of the most complex ballet performances. It has three acts, which requires very serious conditioning. Moreover, the performance includes an infinite number of various elements, supports and fouettés. It is a difficult task in terms of drama too, namely the transformation of the white swan into the black swan, and into the white swan again.
I started our conversation saying that not everyone can understand ballet. Any recommendations on how to learn to love and appreciate ballet?
I will say one thing: everyone can love ballet, but there is no formula for how to make oneself love it. You need to learn it for yourself; grow up to it. For some it will happen immediately, for some — over time, and for some, it will not happen at all. Ballet is something classic, it is timeless. Conscious people may not love it and may not relate to it, but they will never cease to respect it.
Then I will ask you for something different. We ask all guests to recommend a book that is worth reading.
I do not read very often due to lack of time and energy. My handbook is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I need literature that supports me morally, takes off tension and does not allow me to lose heart, limbs and wings (smiles).
This book reminds me that I am on the right track and that I cannot give up. Can I recommend it? Yes. But will everyone like it? It is a matter of taste.
I also have a piece of advice for actors: read classic literature. It will help you to better understand the character’s logic and the subtleties of images.
Anything you would like to wish MILLION readers?
Be kinder, smile more often, love children, reach for everything beautiful, create and enjoy art, be it in a theater, gallery or cinema. In fact, it can take very little to make you happy, as happiness is in the details.
Love each other and do not take life very seriously, and then the world will smile back at you!♥
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