When did you start dancing?
When I was 7 years old.
Why did you start dancing?
Because my Mum, Dad and sister are principal dancers, and also because I love the ballet art form.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
I watched lots of videos of Baryshnikov, Nureyev, Lavrovsky, Vladimir Vassiliev, Bujones and many others.
Which dancer do you most admire?
Many! Especially from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
What’s your favourite role?
I enjoyed dancing Romeo with Daria Klimentova. Songs of a Wayfarer. Swan Lake. Bayadere.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Le Corsaire, but it will happen soon! Spartacus. Laurencia.
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
I don’t have time to see many shows, but when I have, I enjoy almost any.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
I admire Nureyev, but his choreography is very hard. But if you get it, all his steps make sense.
Who is your favourite actor?
I don’t really have a favourite actor, but I love to watch films. Especially horror films!
Who is your favourite singer?
I like Pavarotti, but I listen to lots of different music.
What is your favourite book?
Which is your favourite city?
Cape Town: one of the most beautiful cities on earth.
What do you like most about yourself?
I like that, usually, if I want to achieve something or get something – I do everything possible to get it.
What do you dislike about yourself?
I don’t like the fact that I can’t push myself to do the dishes.
What was your proudest moment?
I’m proud when my parents are proud of me.
When and where were you happiest?
When I have my parents with me, good friends, and somewhere close to nature.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I love my family… the rest is my secret!
What is your greatest fear?
Sometimes I’m afraid to go and dance in new places, but then later you realise its nothing to be scared of, and you enjoy it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be tall like a basketball player 🙂
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m not stopping to achieve anything. For me is nothing enough.
On what occasion do you lie?
Tricky question 🙂 I don’t really lie, but I use to lie a lot to my mum when I didn’t want to go to school.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
I would definitely like to be a basketball player. I love basketball, my favourite sport. I always follow and watch NBA games.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I will let people decide that, not me.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
When I can get support, be honest, and laugh with this person.
Which living person do you most admire?
Sergei Vikulov. He was a great dancer, and what I admire is that he is a great teacher too, who is trying to help with all his heart. We have less and less teachers like that.
What do you most dislike?
I don’t like when people are not honest and lie.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
To enjoy life, enjoy what you have, and enjoy what you do.
How would you like to die?
Somewhere close to nature where there is not much civilisation
What is your motto?
Other awards include the Silver Medal at the Arabesque competition in Perm 2006; Gold Medal at the Vaganova competition in St Petersburg 2006; Gold Medal at the Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York 2006; National Dance Award’s Outstanding Male Performer as well as Emerging Dancer from the London Critics’ Circle in 2011; and at the Benois De La Dance 2013 he was voted Best Male Dancer.
Muntagirov is a Guest Artist with the American Ballet Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre, National Ballet of Japan, Mikhailovsky Ballet, Kremlin Ballet, Czech National Ballet and the Bavarian Ballet, and has appeared in many Galas around the world.
His partners include Daria Klimentova, Polina Semionova, Tamara Rojo, Irina Dvorovenko, Ekaterina Osmolkina, Oxana Skorik and Alina Cojocaru.
Top photo by Dasa Wharton; all others by Daria Klimentova.
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.