Why did you start dancing?
Teachers and parents saw my great ability to dance, but I chose ballet I wanted to dance for my Mom to fulfil her dreams.
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
Nureyev has always been my number one. Not just for his dancing, but his acting and body control. He could work 24 hours a day; that was how he reached this level.
Which dancer do you most admire?
What’s your favourite role?
The main thing for me is to be on stage.
What role have you never played but would like to?
I have played so many, but the ones I haven’t played…? I want to play them all!
What’s your favourite ballet to watch?
Something that inspires me. It doesn’t matter who choreographed it, it is important that it was brilliant.
Who is your favourite choreographer?
I have been fortunate to work with many wonderful choreographers and I thank them all… read my biography! But there are many that I have not worked with and I dream to collaborate with them one day. I must mention the most recent choreographers Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, who changed me and my inner world.
Who is your favourite writer?
My mom: she writes poetry.
Who is your favourite director of a theatre?
Nikolai Boyarchikov, Director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet. When I worked there, he gave me a chance when nobody believed in me and knew that I would grow. And there are others that I owe a lot to: Makhar Vaziev, my Director when I was at the Mariinsky Theatre, who introduced me to what that theatre had to offer. Alexei Ratmansky, who believed in me and gave me a job at the Bolshoi Theatre.
Who is your favourite actor?
There are a lot of them and each have something unique. I admire strong people, who have made themselves.
Who is your favourite singer?
What is your favourite book?
One that I don’t want to put down.
What is your favourite film?
One that touches my heart. Sometimes it’s a good comedy.
Which is your favourite city?
I very much miss and love my home-town, Syktyvkar. My family lives there and many people close to me. But now my home is Moscow and I’ve fallen in love with it too. For eight years I lived in St. Petersburg and so I miss that city too.
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
What was your proudest moment?
This is always when I attempt to do something and succeed. This is happening now.
When and where were you happiest?
When I reach my set goals.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My Mom and Dad.
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The fact that I am a happy man.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
That I’m able to spend money on what I think I need.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Overrated? Don’t know… but ‘rated’: sincerity and authenticity.
On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to.
If you hadn’t been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
If I wasn’t a dancer, I would be nothing.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I am different. I mean, I am what I am, and do not want to be like anyone else.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Peter the Great.
Which living person do you most admire?
My Mom and Dad.
What do you most dislike?
What talent would you most like to have?
To be able to sing.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Utopia… When everything is done for a person.
How would you like to die?
I don’t want to die.
What is your motto?
Believe in yourself, go ahead and never give up!
I’d like to take this opportunity to send a message to all those at La Scala:
I am happy that I was able to come and dance at La Scala in Milan. Special thanks to the Directorate of theater and artistic director of Ballet Theatre Mr. M.Vaziev and Svetlana Zakharova. I thank them for the invitation. I was not only able to dance one of my favourite ballets [Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons] but also to get acquainted with the company. With lovely artists who have become my friends. I felt happy. Thank you for your love and support.
Andrey Merkuriev – a biography
Andrey Merkuriev was born in Syvtyvkar (Komi Rupublic, Russia). He graduated from the Ufa Choreographic Institute in 1996 and became a soloist with the Komi Republic Ballet the same year. In 1997 he was asked to join the Mikhailovsky ballet in St Petersburg, also as a soloist. After winning the Silver medal at the Kazan international Ballet Competition in 2001, he was invited to join the Mariinsky Ballet in 2001 as a First Soloist. Merkuriev has been a Leading Soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet since 2006.
Merkuriev’s vast repertoire of leading roles includes Espada and Basil in Don Quixote, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in the Nutcracker (choreography by Nikolay Boyarchikov), Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Phoebus in La Esmeralda (choreography by Boyarchikov, after Perrot and Petipa), Solor in La Bayadère, Pierre in La Halte de la cavalerie (choreography by Petipa), Paris and Valentine in Faust (choreography by Boyarchikov), Count Albert in Giselle, James in La Sylphide (choreography by Bournonville), the title role in Mikhail Fokin’s Petrushka, Mercutio and Romeo in Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, De Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, the Nutcracker-Prince in Kirill Simonov’s Nutcracker, the Young Drosselmeyer in Simonov’s The Magic Nut, the title role in Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Phlegmatic in his Four Temperaments. He has danced principal roles in John Neumeier’s Spring and Fall and Now and Then, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Steptext, David Dawson’s Reverence, and Balanchine’s La Valse. Merkuriev’s repertoire at the Bolshoi expanded to include such roles as Jose in Alberto Alonso’s Carmen, Miller in Leonide Massine’s Le Tricorne, Fisherman in Pierre Lacotte’s La Fille du Pharaon, Petr in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Bright Stream, Boris in Yuri Grigorovich’s The Golden Age and Crassus in Spartacus, Prince Charming in Yuri Possokhov’s Cinderella, Ballet Teacher in Flemming Flindt’s The Lesson, and principal roles in ballets by Twyla Tharp (In the Upper Room), Alexei Ratmansky (Russian Seasons and Middle Duo), Balanchine (Tchaikovsky Pas de deux and Rubies), Christopher Wheeldon (Misericordes), and Asaf Messerer (Class-Concert), among others. Merkuriev created principal roles in three full-length ballets by Alexei Ratmansky: Yan in The Bolt, Jerome in The Flames of Paris, and Lucien in Lost Illusions.
Merkuriev had several works created on him by choreographers participating in the Bolshoi’s New choreography Workshops, and among these are +/- 2 by Viacheslav Samodurov and Old women falling out by Ratmansky.
He has toured widely with both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky Ballet and often appears at international galas. He is also a frequent member of Vladimir Malakhov and Friends and Roberto Bolle and Friends touring groups. He recently danced with Bavarian State Opera in Munich as a guest artist (Basil in Don Quixote).
Merkuriev’s awards include the Silver medal at the Open Ballet Competition Arabesque in Perm, Russia (2000); the Silver medal at the Kazan International Ballet Competition in Russia (2001); a National theater award, the Golden Mask, for his performance in William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (2005); and the Positano “Leonid Massine” Prize (2008). Mr. Merkuriev is an Honored Artist of the North Ossetia-Alania Republic.
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.