Alexandra Elagina Interview
(Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker)

Alexandra Elagina is a 22 year old dancer with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker.
She calls Kazan, the 6th largest city in Russia, home.
Alexandra graduated from the Kazan Ballet Academy in 2006 in the class of teacher I. Khakimova, the People’s Artist of Tatarstan and Honorable Artist Of The Russia Federation.
After graduation she was accepted as a soloist to Tatar’s Jalil State Academic Theatre Of Opera and Ballet which is considered to be home to one of the best troupes performing in Russia.
She made her performing debut as the Fairy Of Tenderness in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty.
In 2010, Alexandra made her debut here in the U.S. at West Point Military Academy.
With the help of translator Svetlana Todinova who is also a dancer and audition director for the Moscow Ballet, we put some questions to Alexandra Elagina about her life as a dancer.

Q – What do you think of America so far? What has impressed you the most?
A – O.k. She say’s its very beautiful. She saw very beautiful mountains that impressed her. Very beautiful.

Q – Have you met any American ballerinas along the tour?
A – No.

Q - Has there been a time when you’ve been able to see an American ballet production co?
A – No. Not yet.

Q – When did you start taking ballet lessons?
A – She was ten.

Q – Is that something she wanted to do or did her parents encourage her to take lessons?
A – She said her childhood was always in theatre, very close to her mom. When she grew up, she already saw the ballet cos. the ballet classes. She was always with her mom. She (her mom) pushed her to ballet school. Her mom was a professional ballerina.

Q – At what age did you know you had what it takes to become a professional ballerina?
A – She said she was 16 and at that age she understood that it’s gonna be very hard and she’s getting stronger and stronger practicing as a ballerina.

Q – Did you have to go to a ballet school?
A – Yes.

Q – Was there a lot of competition to get into the school?
A – Yeah, it was audition of course as everywhere in Russia. There is big competition.

Q – If someone is rejected, do they cry?
A – Yes. She says yes. Some of them cried and they were very upset.

Q – Would the boys cry as well?
A – She didn’t see boys cry but, they were very upset. I do remember my moments of course and they were crying, boys and girls.

Q – How long did you study ballet before someone said you’re ready to become a professional dancer?
A – She was 19 when she started to rehearse the main role. Like the lead role.

Q – How many hours a day did you have to rehearse for this role?
A – O.k. It takes a couple hours a day, like ten days before the show starts. Sometimes it takes much more.

Q – How many hours were you dancing in ballet school?
A – It’s about 5 to 6 hours a day.

Q – How do you keep in shape when you’re on the road? Do you go to a gym everyday?
A – Everyday we do the class. It lasts one hour for everybody. All the dancers have to have the class before the show starts. She doesn’t go to the gym.

Q – Are you on a strict diet?
A – She’s not on a diet. She’s very thin naturally. She’s just watching what she eats ‘cause she works a lot.

Q – You’re 22 years old. How many years can you expect to be in a ballet co. like this? Can you do it for 10 years? 20 years?
A – She says everything depends on her health and of course it will be as long as possible. Ten to twenty years, yes. All her life. Depending on her health.

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