THE MAKING OF A PROFESSIONAL BALLERINA
We would like to introduce you to Elizaveta Mironova, a Canadian ballerina who graduated from Victoria International Ballet Academy in 2011. Liza is the only Canadian ballerina who has ever been invited to work for one of the best Russian ballet companies in Moscow. At age 20, she has danced all the classical repertoire, and a few leading roles.
Today, the publisher of a widely read magazine, called Elizaveta in Moscow to ask her a few questions. Elizaveta will be coming to Canada to perform the main role in The Nutcracker ballet by Victoria Ballet Company on December 18 and 19, 2015 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Here is the abridged conversation with Elizaveta Mironova.
Liza, how does it feel to be a ballerina? From the outside, the life of a ballerina looks glamorous, with pink pointe shoes, fluffy skirts, admirers, flowers – like every girl’s dream.
I started taking ballet classes when I was nine. I attended the private school of my mom, Victoria International Ballet Academy. Like other girls and boys, I did not think at that time about ballet as a profession. We just liked our school, it was good, comfortable. We loved Dance, Music, all the subjects that we were offered. That was our creative childhood. After some time, when we became more mature, we realized that ballet was serious stuff, hard but extremely interesting, that ballet is like a science in that the more it reveals its secrets the more knowledgeable you become. Gradually, we would turn, from ugly ducklings, into very nice birds, sometimes even into beautiful swans. But I would not advise young girls in pink tutus to believe that everything is so fast and simple. This profession takes years of hard work, sweating and bruised toes, so that some time in the future one is able to dance the Princess role. It feels good to wake up the next morning with a feeling of happiness in your heart, thinking: yesterday I gave joy to my audience and in return I received so many praises and applause. Trust me, these minutes prompt you to live and work even more. Flowers and admirers are just a pleasant addition to the wonderful but not simple profession of a Ballet Artist.
GRADUATING AS A DANCER
How many graduates of Victoria Ballet have become professional ballet dancers?
Not all of my friends dance on a big stage. But every one of them, one way or another, are linked to this beloved art. All of them are successful. Some of them already teach ballet. Some are dramatic artists working in big theatres. Some continue their studies at universities. Some are busy in the modeling industry. All of them are strong, handsome people. I believe this is thanks to the majestic art of ballet. My best friend, Anastasia Loskutov, has been working as a ballerina in the United States for three years. She is a fantastic ballerina! Come enjoy The Nutcracker and you will agree with me. We take turns dancing in the four shows, with a wonderful male dancer as the Prince, Tyler Gledhill, a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada.
And now a difficult question: your mom was your teacher, was this a tricky combination?
It can be, but not in the case of my mom. I was not the most attentive student, but I never had any conflict or disagreement with her. She is very strict in the class, but patient. There are many things, professionally speaking, that I would change from the time I was a student, now that I look back with the experience I’ve gained; only today I realize how lucky I was to have had such qualified teachers as Victoria Mironova and Elena Dmitrieva. Elena is the main teacher at VIBA. Now I tell myself I should have listened better to them when I was a student. Now a days I often have to upgrade my skills because at that time I did not take in all that I should have. It’s like the saying: if the youth knew and if the seniority could. This is about me too, though I am only 20. Returning to your question, I would say that I was always happy with my mom, we always spoke the same language of dance. I can talk to her, and share everything because I know that she danced the same repertoire as I do now, only 25-30 years earlier. Common interests reinforce relationships. By the way, Victoria has a good relationship with most of her students. She has had so many of them, and they work now in different countries. Recently she invited to her ballet company two of her alumnae to join us from Japan. These young ballerinas are coming to live and work in Toronto.
It’s been almost three years since you left home and went to live in Moscow. How do you feel there?
In spite of the good conditions that I have in Moscow – my theatre provided me with a room in an apartment, a good salary, an interesting job – I must admit that I am home sick, and missing Canada. I love Russia, I was born there and lived there until I was 5, I love Ukraine, where I was an apprentice, and I remember my teachers with greatfulness. I was lucky to be able to perform on the stage of the National Opera House of Kyev, Ukraine; but Canada is my home, my family is here, and I hope my future is here too. But while I am in Moscow, besides my work I am now studying at GITIS, the state university of the arts, department of choreography. I like studying, but it is extremely difficult to combine work, many theatre tours, and no leisure time, but I try very hard.
What are your plans for the near future?
After the Nutcracker in Toronto with Victoria Ballet Company, I am going to Germany, where I am expected to perform with my company. Then Moscow again, Brazil, and more till April, when I am planning to come back to Canada to perform in the ballet Cinderella. Till we see each other again, my dear audience, I love you and wish you happiness.
Yours, Liza Mironova.