Forbes Kazakhstan — 7 June 2019
Elena Lysenko
translated by Marguerite Wiewel

"Grand pas for Fairy of Graces" — under this name, the stars of the Bolshoi theatre of Russia performed a Gala Concert at the end of May in Astrakan with great success. World Ballet stars Artem Ovcharenko and Anna Tikhomirova danced on the stage of the Opera and Ballet Theatre. The director of the Gala Concert, Oleg Popkov (Moscow) is deputy chairman of the board of the Astrakhan Lands.

The Principal of the Bolshoi Theatre Artem Ovcharenko and the first soloist Anna Tikhomirova together with Astrakhan artists, dedicated the gala concert on the 90th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Astrakhan School of Rhythmic Gymnastics Lyudmila Thikhomirova.

Artem Ovcharenko (husband of Anna Tikhomirova) gave an interview.

Anna Tikhomirova and Artem Ovcharenko

– Artem, your schedule is literally calculated by day and years ahead, how did you manage to carve out two days and fly to Astrakhan?

– Yes, indeed, our artistic director told me that on May 21 I had to fly to London to Covent Garden to dance in "Romeo and Juliet", but I had to refuse and flew to Astrakhan, as six months ago I had promised to go there. And not for two days, but for three. On the third day I'll have a rest, and I'll fish. I love your Caspian Roach. When Anna's father, Nikolai Nikolaevich, brings a Caspian Roach from Astrakhan, only scales are left.

I couldn't help but come to Astrakhan! My extended family is important to me. If it were not for Lyudmila Alexandrovna, there would be no Nikolai Nikolaevich, there would be no Ani, I would finally not have our continuation - Arianna, the great-granddaughter of Lyudmila Alexandrovna. It is a tribute to a woman who has done a lot in her life, created a school, a culture of gymnastics in Astrakhan, and now her business lives on. Recently I reviewed her recordings of rehearsals with gymnasts and was surprised by her methods of work. It seems that she rehearsed with the ballet dancers. The comments she made are typical of the specialists who work with dancers.

– You have achieved everything in your life. You have status, awards moreover you starred in films, both foreign and Russian. What else do you want to achieve?

– In my understanding, life should be in some balance. I'm always trying to find the right balance. What can you wish a person? It's feeling his or her life. It seems that everyone somehow aspires to the meaning of life, to some result. I probably, on the contrary, do not aspire. After all, it's great, if you have no purpose and you do not have to prove anything to anyone, you can just live.

Oddly enough, I believe that the most monstrous, terrible things were done by people who were excessively purposeful. They were ready to destroy the whole world for their invented purpose. It is very important that all the facets of life are fulfilled. I don't want to impress anyone, I just love life as it is.

Photo © Alexey Yakovlev — Anna Tikhomirova and Artem Ovcharenko in Don Quixote grand pas de deux — Astrakan Opera and Ballet Theater, 20.05.2019

– Is it hard to be a principal at the Bolshoi?

– It is impossible to become a principal, you need to be, always.. That's what my profession taught me. When my coach told me, "Artem, get yourself together, show me your best Important people will come to the show”, every time I was trying to get it together, I failed. At the rehearsal studio I felt free, but uptight on the stage. Then I had a kind of epiphany. I realized that when I tried to impress, I was disconnected and belonged to not myself, but to these people, to whom I wanted to prove something. But when I stopped trying to prove something, I started dancing.

– It's easy to communicate with you, you don't have celebrity sickness, why?

– I don't know why a person should seem better than he is. Celebrity sickness is a set of complexes that I don't think make life more interesting. It depends on the upbringing in the family, and on one’s personal attitudes, when it comes to some understanding of how to arrange this life. I go down this path by trial and error and every day I study.

I don't like to judge life, I don't like to judge people. I see it very differently. I wake up feeling to feel, to contemplate this world, to live. That's what we should strive for.

I read a lot, books train the brain, they are useful for the imagination. I am interested in people who read a lot, know a lot, who have absorbed life, I can learn from them.

– How do you try to bring up Arianna?

– I want her to be my friend first and foremost. I don't want to be a person who will constantly impose something, as long as she is given complete freedom. She is still small, she is only 1 year and 9 months old. But even now we are encouraging her to develop to her fullest potential. She likes to dance when we turn on the music, she dances freely, she loves books. Of course, we introduce her to the Soviet classics and show her the cartoons on which we grew up ourselves, "Bremen musicians," or "Red Riding Hood." I give her all my free time. And it, unfortunately, is not so much, as I am constantly touring. But I am glad that Anna's parents, Arianna’s grandparents, help us a lot, and I am calm about the upbringing of Arianna, they give her a lot.

As part of the trip, Anna Tikhomirova, Artem Ovcharenko, Nikolai Tikhomirov (dancer, teacher) and Oleg Popkov met with acting Minister of Culture and Tourism Galina Soteeva. At the meeting they discussed further plans for cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Bolshoi Ballet. In particular, it was about an event that should the end of the Year of the Theatre in Russia. Artem and Anna took part in the opening ceremony of the Year of the Theatre in Yaroslavl, where they danced lullaby.

The question of renaming one of Astrakhan's streets to the Lyudmila Tikhomirova street was also raised.This initiative was made by the Sports School of the Olympic  Reserve. Galina Soteeva fervently supported this idea. She said that she would join the Public Council of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as cultural figures.