- Portraits -

Anastasia Shevtsova. Vaganova Academy

A graduate of the Vaganova Academy Anastasia Shevtsova has told RBi about creativity, dreams and her love for photography.

Ksenya Poggenpohl

Ksenya Poggenpohl

RBi: What is the most vivid memory of the years of study at the Vaganova Academy?

It is really hard to pick one thing, because almost every day there was something interesting for us students.

But perhaps the annual “Nutcracker” will remain the most joyous and bright memory for me. This event is so longed for that, frankly speaking, it’s difficult to imagine how to live after graduation without these performances… Every student of the Academy knows this ballet by heart: in primary school you dance a doll or soldier, in the middle – a snowflake or a mouse, in the older you are engaged in the divertissement, and if you’re lucky, maybe you will be allowed to dance a solo of Masha or the Prince. For us it is both the way to the adult ballet life and at the same time the magical Christmas story.

RBi: The ideal theater for you is?..

Theatre of my dream? Better I will not name any particular place. I can just say that I will be happy, if I work in the thetre where there is diverse, interesting repertoire (i.e. not only the classics, but also modern), friendly international staff; understanding director; career opportunities. And it is also very important to like the city, where the theater is located, because we, as artists, need constant source of inspiration.

RBi: What a ballerina should be?

I believe that modern dancer must be in the continuous creative search, she must not ever stop searching. You can’t be satisfied with yourself because then you loose the desire to improve, and that will mean the collapse of a ballet career. Also a dancer must be able to listen and hear her tutor and her partner.

Of course, ability to work hard is a necessary quality. A dancer must be also very good actress. Recently, we often seen incredible physical abilities of the dancers, who perform almost circus tricks, but with indifference and detachment. But ballet is not acrobatics, it’s a drama, complicated with dance steps.

The performers of the past generation – Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova and the whole constellation of great dancers of the Soviet era – are a role model for me.

RBi: Dance is…

…The flight of soul, imagination; sublime way of expressing your thoughts; a combination of dramatic art, music and physics; the opportunity to travel to some other era in nonexistent worlds.

But at the same time, if you play someone’s choreography – you reflect the director’s inner world, and if you improvise – your own vision of reality. The idea is very close to me – in the future I would love to become a choreographer in order toto be able to say something to the world.

Анастасия Ливун

Anastasia Livun

RBi: Ability that you would like to possess most of all?

To rule myself: both my body and emotions – that’s what I would like to be able to. The first, of course, would be very helpful for me in my profession, and the second – in everyday life. Because we, as the people of art, are quite expressive creatures, and it is sometimes a hindrance.

And I would love to be able to live without the need for sleep! Because as soon as I start to think about how many interesting and useful things could be done at night, I realize, what a shame it is to waste of half of the precious time of our lives!

RBi: Ballet is love or drugs?

There are some people for whom this is really a drug, but I think it’s wrong. After all, you have to be versatile, and hanging up to one thing is stupid. The drug is something that destroys us, a substance, without which life loses its bright colors, in general, this is kind of unhealthy extreme. So for me, the ballet is love, that inspires me and makes me better every day.

To be honest, I got to ballet quite by chance. I just went to casting for the ballet school with my sister. At first, I confess, I did not like it, but now it is hard to imagine myself in something else. So I thank my parents for helping me to find myself.

RBi: What do you dream about?

I recently read in an interview with my favorite ballerina Diana Vishneva, where I found the following phrase: “I never dream. I set goals and achieve them.” In brief, this statement fully coincides with my own thoughts.

RBi: What would you be doing if you had not become a ballerina?

It would be definitely some creative profession, because I can’t see myself in any other sphere. I think that I would have gone to drama school. I’ve always been attracted to the theatre.

RBi: What is success for you?

It is a feeling of happiness. When you realize all your plans that is a success. Of course, it is the recognition of your achievements by other people, and their positive feedback.

It is easier to answer my favorite quote (approx. authorship of Winston Churchill): “Success is the ability to move from a failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

RBi: What is your goal in life?

Firstly, self-perfection.

Secondly, I want to create such conditions of life to do whatever I want: to travel, to be filmed in the movies, to engage in public activities and, of course, to dance. But I want to dance what I want, not to depend on anyone and to be free.

RBi: Tell us about your photo shoots, please.

Eighteen months ago I made shoot with my friend, a wonderful photographer. That was the start. I was often called to model afterwards, initially, in some ballet shoot, and then also in fashion.

I love it because it is easy to open up to the camera, you communicate with the audience not directly, but through the prism of the camera lens. Yet it is a great opportunity to transform, to try on the looks, which in real life you would never have dared. Finally, it is interesting to meet people from the sphere that attracts me – the fashion industry.

Anastasia Livun

Anastasia Livun