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State Theatre New Jersey

Dance

Q & A with Alexander Daev of The Sleeping Beauty

The Russian National Ballet Theatre is bringing its enchanting production of The Sleeping Beauty to the stage at State Theatre New Jersey on Saturday, March 4, 2017. This classical ballet, performed to a score composed by Tchaikovsky, tells the tale of Princess Aurora who awaits a kiss from her true love to release her from her slumber. We recently caught up with the Ballet Master and Artistic Director of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, Alexander Daev, to learn about his background and get some insight into the world of traditional Russian ballet.

What do your duties as Assistant Artistic Director involve?  
My responsibility is to ensure that every performance the RNBT presents is kept to the highest standard of artistry for the audience to appreciate and enjoy.  I rehearse the company every day, and I choose whom the principal dancers will be for each performance.

What is your background in ballet and what is your journey to where you are today?
I first saw a ballet when I was 10 years old in the town square in my village outside of Moscow.  I fell in love with it and knew, that's what I wanted to do with my life.  I started taking classes immediately.  I've been with the RNBT for 12 years and after many years of dancing in the corps, then as soloist, I moved into the role of Ballet Master and Assistant Artistic Director. 

What is the brainstorming process that you and your artistic director go through to ensure that you convey your company’s aim of showcasing Russian ballet?
Our Artistic Director, Elena Radchenko, was a principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet.  The process of creating a classical ballet is in our blood, it's what we do.  We try different things and look to see what works the best.

How is Russian ballet different from western ballet?
 It is centuries old.  It has been handed down from teacher to student for many generations.  We can only learn ballet by dancing, there is no other way to learn it.  It is a big part of our Russian culture.

How do you keep the dancers motivated on such extensive tours, especially because ballet can be emotionally and physically taxing?
Yes, we work very hard and do many performances, but we are young and passionate about what we do.  We travel as one big family.  We are a very close group and support one another.  We love ballet and it gives us pleasure and energy when we make our audiences happy by sharing our gift with them.

 

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