Kirov Chief Wants To Do `West Side Story'

INTERVIEW

IN an interview during a recent visit to Britain, Oleg Vinogradov, artistic director of the Kirov Ballet, talked not only about Balanchine and his company's upcoming American visit but also about glasnost, creating ballets of ``West Side Story'' and ``Fiddler on the Roof,'' and both the Kirov's and his own future plans. Q:What makes this visit to the US special?

A:``It's significant because it shows that ties are better between our two nations. Glasnost for us means we can now do things that were impossible before. Not only are we traveling again to the US, but now American choreographers, dancers, and teachers are coming over to work with us in the Soviet Union - something we only dreamed about. We are looking forward to presenting the Balanchine works to US audiences; they were a great success with our audiences in Leningrad. We also have a lot to show that we couldn't present on the last tours. It would be impossible to display our full repertoire. Therefore relationships between our two countries should be on a permanent basis.... I reckon that we should come regularly - every year or two.

Q:Is there fear that, as you branch out into contemporary styles, you may lose the purity of your classical line?

A:Never! Because the professionalism of pure classicism will never be curbed by the modern. For example - [he leaps up and demonstrates a perfect first position, heels together, feet turned out]. If you are properly trained, your body is then able to take on new styles, new movements [he shows a contemporary movement]. Both B'ejart and I agree that modern ballet should have classical foundation.

Q:After the Balanchine ballets, what other Western works would you like to see in the Kirov repertoire?

A:Two years ago I approached Jerome Robbins with two projects for him to stage for us. I would like to have a ballet based on the musicals of either ``West Side Story'' or ``Fiddler on the Roof.'' Whether it is possible depends on Mr. Robbins - if he can and will come. I would like also to have Balanchine's ``Firebird'' in the repertoire. I would very much like Jiri Kylian [Czech choreographer, now director of Netherlands Dance Theatre] to work with us - our company would perform his style beautifully. [Kylian creates fluid, continuous abstract ballets.] We have a mutual project with Spain's Antonio Gades in a ballet that will combine our two companies for performances in the near future.

Q:What are your own future plans?

A:I want to live! I haven't got any personal life because of [lack of] time, but I will start living in the near future when I retire from ballet! Yes, I want to leave in about two to three years. [His wife, Yelena, interrupts: ``It's not true; he's just very tired at the moment.'' But he overrides her and says emphatically that he means what he says.] I haven't had any time to ``live.'' I have two yachts in Leningrad, and I want to sail, to draw, to read ... but only detective stories by Agatha Christie. ... No, I don't want to guest teach, to serve on competition juries, to choreograph, though I would like to set up an international ballet center in Geneva, where I already have land available and where the finest dancers in the world could be trained. As every normal person should understand, one's working life has to end sometime, and I want to leave in one big bang.

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