David Hallberg returned to the Bolshoi for Onegin, and while there found time for a photoshoot for Vogue Russia. He talked to Anna Fedina for an article entitled “New Muscovite”.
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