Magazine article Dance Magazine

Back to the Bolshoi: Inside Yuri Possokhov's Latest Premiere for His Home Company

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Back to the Bolshoi: Inside Yuri Possokhov's Latest Premiere for His Home Company

Article excerpt

Yuri Possokhov left the Bolshoi Ballet in 1992 on a quest to dance more current work. He ended up developing a passion to choreograph that work himself, and this month, a new generation at the Russian company debuts his latest full-length, Hero of Our Time. The ballet's story comes from a well-known Russian novel about a bored anti-hero whose adventures take a dark turn. It's bound to be rich fodder for Possokhov: As choreographer in residence at San Francisco Ballet, his contemporary pieces are regularly hailed for their imaginative theatricality and wit. Dance Magazine captured the rehearsal process in Moscow this winter, and asked Possokhov for his thoughts on the Bolshoi's past and present.

How does it feel to go back to the Bolshoi as a choreographer?

Kind of hard. I always have problems choreographing on dancers who are friends. The relationship in the studio gets tricky. This is my third time choreographing at Bolshoi: I set Magrittomania in 2004, and created Cinderella in 2006. Now is not a perfect time for Bolshoi. It's still an uncertain situation there since the attack. They're in transition, trying to escape from the past, but people don't know where the company will go.

Does that make the process difficult?

As a choreographer, the number one problem is actually the schedule: The dancers perform almost every day, so to find the right time to gather together and create something is hard. They perform, they tour--it's nonstop.

How does today's Bolshoi compare to when you were with the company?

It's completely different. The rep I was dancing was from the 1870s. Today, the Bolshoi has a huge variety: Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian, John Neumeier. It's so important that the young generation has something to dance that expresses themselves. Unfortunately, my generation expressed the generations before us. …

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