When did you start dancing?
I was dancing at home the whole time as a young child, my mum sent me with my sister to the house of the arts, where children could audition to study all arts, like drawing, clay modelling, dancing and singing. The singing teacher would not take me as I was so bad, so I took up clay modelling and dancing. I loved to dance all styles on stage with from Rock & Roll to traditional dances, and for all different community events such as ‘Women's Day'.
At 12 my teacher made a small ballet choreography for me and put me in my first pointe shoes to see how I would move. She told my parents that I had a talent… it started from there.
Why did you start dancing?
I started to dance ‘professionally' because I was told I had talent, and I was proud to be really good at something. Of course I loved it and I felt very special. After my teacher told my parents that I had a talent, they were amazing, and we started to look for schools close to our home in Cheboksary. I went with a friend to Kazan (4 hours by bus) to audition and they took me. My mother didn't want me to live so far away, but I had a talent for crying too, so they let me go!!!
Which dancer inspired you most as a child?
As a young child I preferred to dance rather than watch ballet on TV (and there was a lot). I felt that as I could dance myself, why watch it? I made up my own stories and had fun with it. We went to the theatre to watch ballerinas in Cheboksary and they were the inspiration for my stories and I knew I wanted to dance like them, with their technique, energy and courage.
I once saw Morihiro Iwata dancing in Don Quixote and I was so proud to get his autograph. He later made a solo for me for a competition, which still seems like a dream.
Which dancer do you most admire?
It sounds a cliché but I admire every dancer I meet: everyone has their own story, their own difficulties, and they all overcome them to give beauty to the world. I really learn, and I am inspired, from every encounter with new dancers. I'm always learning, which is something I love.
What's your favourite role?
I have been lucky to dance the dream role of Odile/Odette many times from many different amazing choreographers, and recently with Alexei Ratmansky. I have fun with Odile, and I love to create my own story for her, and her personality. Every year of my life I am still getting to know Odette, and I think she will grow with me in my life as I live it and develop.
I am privileged that Christian Spuck created a role of Anna Karenina for me last year, and it is such a challenge to dance her and the complexities of her emotions and life. It is difficult, but a dream, to play such complex Russian Icon.
Last year I danced Patrice Bart's Giselle. I felt I was experienced and old enough to fully understand what such a role means and gives to a dancer. She is a simple, loving, country girl – as I am – and I love the two facets to the role. She is my favourite to dance right now as she inspires me personally, and I love to be inside her skin.
What role have you never played but would like to?
There are still big dream roles that I would love to dance: Nikiya in La bayadère, Manon, and Juliet. It would also be great to dance a ‘sexy' role like Carmen! As a dancer, the beauty of my life is to meet a choreographer who has an idea, passion, and creativity, and to work with them to bring that idea to life. I would love to dance one of Alexei Ratmansky's own creations as it was amazing working with him on the reconstruction of Swan Lake.
What's your favourite ballet to watch?
I have started to try to travel to other companies to watch other dancers and other productions, which is so inspiring. I love classical ballets, so it would be one of those, but it is too hard to choose… sorry!!!
Who is your favourite choreographer?
Maruis Ivanovic Petipa is the greatest of all time for his body of incredible work. There are many great choreographers that I love to work with, and I hope that they feel how much I enjoy my time with them when we are working together.
Special mentions to Patrice Bart, Wayne McGregor and Alexei Ratmansky.
Who is your favourite writer?
Who is your favourite theatre or cinema director?
Who is your favourite actor?
Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Julie Andrews, Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis and Vladimir Mashkov.
Who is your favourite singer?
Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman, and Cecilia Bartoli.
What is your favourite book?
Colleen McCullough's The First Man in Rome.
What is your favourite film?
I love old Russian fairy tale movies… and anything with Julie Andrews!!!
Which is your favourite city?
I love Italy, and it is amazing to discover fantastic new cities when I'm with Roberto Bolle & Friends. I think I would be very happy in any Italian city…
What do you dislike about yourself?
I sometimes hold back in saying things I maybe should say in fear of upsetting people.
What was your proudest moment?
I generally feel happy, and very emotional after a performance. Pride is not something I feel often, as I feel I am so lucky to have this chance to be on stage, but I do feel proud, however, to have learned English… something I thought would be impossible!
When and where were you happiest?
As a dancer I have two lives… I am happiest on stage when I feel an audience has been touched by a performance; and I am my happiest in life to be at home with my husband and family.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My boyfriend, who I call my husband. I know he is my life, my happiness, and greatest support.
What is your greatest fear?
That I, or anyone I love, is hurt.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I feel I am changing and learning every day of my life. If I have to choose one thing however, it would be that maybe I am too lazy at home
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My life is like a fairy tale. If you told 5-year-old Vika from Cheboksary what I would happen in her life, she would have never believed it. I am lucky, I work hard, and I am happy with each thing I do. After its done, I try harder and have a new goal. Maybe I will have a better answer when I am 80!
What is your most treasured possession?
The belief and support that people have in me. As an object it is a necklace with two hearts carved by my husband that I wear everywhere.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Cuddles on the sofa, when maybe I should be doing something else.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Trying to make everyone happy.
On what occasion do you lie?
I never lie to myself, or for other people, and I prefer to avoid a topic rather than tell a lie.
If you hadn't been a dancer what would you have liked to be?
A chess grand master, or an artist in some other creative field, but – I am assured – definitely not a singer!
What is your most marked characteristic?
I am very shy off the stage!
What quality do you most value in a friend?
I do not speak much, but when I do, they know really to listen to each word I say, and try to understand.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which living person do you most admire?
My mum, she finds happiness in everything, even when life is really not easy.
What do you most dislike?
Aggressiveness or extreme negativity.
What talent would you most like to have?
To be able to speak really well. I would love to be able to tell stories like my husband
What's your idea of perfect happiness?
In the future it would be to live in a forest with my husband, close to family and friends, with our (future) children running and playing around. Right now, it is cuddles, tea and honey
How would you like to die?
In my sleep, as a very old grandmother, who has lived a happy life, and after I could finally tell some great stories…
What is your motto?
Try it! Let's see how far we can go!
Viktorina Kapitonova – a biography
Viktorina Kapitonova, who is a native of Russia, studied at the Kazan Ballet School and Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre Academy. A winner of “The Young Ballet of Russia” competition and of the “Arabesque” contest, Kapitonova danced from 2005 onwards at the Jalil Opera House in Kazan, performing solo roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Coppélia and The Nutcracker.
She was a member of the Stanislavsky Ballet for the 2008/2009 season; and she joined Ballett Zürich in 2010, since when her performances have included Odette/Odile in Heinz Spoerli's Swan Lake, solos in Spoerli's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Wäre heute morgen und gestern jetzt, …und mied den Wind and Goldberg Variations.
Spuck created the title role for her in his full-length ballet, Anna Karenina.
She has danced both Giselle and Myrtha in Patrice Bart's Giselle, starring as Giselle alongside Roberto Bolle and Friedemann Vogel. In her career Kapitonova has also been seen in choreographies by Deane, Duato, Balanchine, Ek, Forsythe, Kylián, Lee, McGregor and Schläpfer.
Viktorina created Odile/Odette in Alexei Ratmansky's reconstruction Petipa/Ivanov choreography of Swan Lake using Stepanov notations, and danced the World Premiere premiere on the 6th February at Zurich Opera House in Switzerland.
She presented her choreography Two Bodies – One Soul as part of the company's Young Choreographers programme.
Viktorina danced Derek Deane's Swan Lake as Odile/Odette as guest at the Croatian National in Zagreb.
Viktorina was also the recipient of the Friends of Ballett Zürich's Dance Prize for 2015.
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.