They Make Life an Art: The Grigorovich Ballet

Alena Trofimcheva

 Photo: Alena Trofimycheva | Спасибо!

I had an opportunity to go on tour with the Grigorovich Ballet dance troupe from Krasnodar, Russia. In spending two months, day in and day out, I made some good friends and learned some valuable lessons. 

They work hard by day— play hard by night.  That is how these dancers make their life an art.

I thought something different while sitting in the audience watching the bird-like creatures float on and off stage, telling stories and unveiling legends with their bodies.

Then I had a lucky chance to go on tour with the Grigorovich Ballet to spend a couple of months traveling with the dancers.  I saw them day in and day out as they practiced, partied, ate, practiced, performed, partied and practiced some more.

They look so delicate on stage, but they are made of steel.  Their bodies are completely solid, not at all as fragile as they appear when thrown feather-like by their partners. Their grace and ease make the dance seem natural, but it is nothing of the sort.  Every move is the result of discipline, tenacity and endless practice.

Their chiseled bodies appear as if they are restricted to a diet of lean protein and vegetables, but I watched them eat their way through burgers, pizza and many plates of everything that this country has to offer only to burn it all, in half of a rehearsal.

They were genuine, friendly and took me into their troupe as if I was part of the family.  They really walked out the lives of true artists, lives that were entirely devoted to their art.

The troupe is part of The Grigorovich Ballet Company.  The company was founded in Krasnodar, Russia by Yuri Nikolayevich Grigorovich, chief of the Russian ballet scene for thirty years and recognized by many as the father of the Nutcracker.

At home, their routine starts early in the morning.  They arrive at the studio and practice— ten-hour rehearsals are the norm, some weeks end with performances on weekends, some months are spent touring.  For them, it is not a hobby, but a lifestyle.  They live the life of dance and that is what makes each of them a dancer.

This is the trick to turning a hobby into an art and turning a dilettante into an artist.  It takes uncompromising devotion to perfecting the art till it so fully defines the artist, that in turn— the artist defines it.

Behind the scenes from the 2012 U.S. Grigorovich Ballet Tour: