On returning to the Bolshoi after the acid attack on ballet director Sergei Filin:
It was Sergei Filin invited me here in the first place. Of course, I had serious doubts about returning. I was afraid for myself, and did not know how the company or the audience would react to me. On the other hand, thinking about all these stories, I realized that you only have one life, and strength and youth don’t last forever – sometimes you just need to push ahead and go for it. Now I feel that Moscow is even better than before.
On the Bolshoi dancers:
I want to make friends with my colleagues at the Bolshoi Theatre. Although there are language and cultural barriers between us, I will leap across them.
Bolshoi soloists have venerated status which makes them difficult to approach. In America there is nothing like this: principals are found mixing with the corps de ballet and don’t think about some sort of class system. For me it’s only usual to have people bow and scrape when I play the Prince, so I’m trying to undermine the hierarchy. That said, I like the fact that the Bolshoi dancers are held in such respect.
On being Onegin:
It’s great playing a normal person, not a dance fairy-tale hero! Onegin – a man who lived his life to the full, yet at the end is rejected by the most important person in his life; what prince can show such immense feelings?
I love Dior, but I’m not thin enough for it – in fact, to jump, you need well-developed muscles. Raf Simons [creative director at Christian Dior] is a genius, I love everything about him: the fact that he can sew himself, the kind of music he picks for his shows, and his furniture designs. I like to dress simply, but a little idiosyncratically. Nothing flashy, but I hate ‘boring’.
Friends loath to go shopping with me, because I admire things, and try them on thirty times, but never buy anything. So in New York, there is a special ritual – I call a designer friend and ask her, “Can you come with me, then at least I can go home with something.”
Photos by Danil Golovkin
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.