Thursday, 1 April 2010

Cupcakes & Conversation with Maria Kochetkova, Principal, San Francisco Ballet

Cupcakes & Conversation with Maria Kochetkova, Principal, San Francisco Ballet

Elo Double Evil photo © Erik Tomasson

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Coffee and a croissant.

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?
We just had a premier of Wheeldon's new ballet Ghosts where I was dancing the central pas de deux, it's a beautiful ballet to dance and to watch and the creative process was very interesting too. Also I just had my debuts in Balanchine's Serenade and Theme and Variations and Jerome Robbin's Opus 19/The Dreamer. Now I'm looking forward to the New Yuri Possokhov's ballet and artistic director Helgi Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?
I would like to dance with Michail Baryshnikov... anything.

Possokhov Diving into the Lilacs partner Gennadi Nedvigin) photo © Marina Gulyaeva

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?
The Mariinsky theater.  I would like to experience what it feels like to dance on that stage where so many of the greatest dancers performed.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
I don't really do much to my pointe shoes... I just break the box of the shoe so I can do demi pointe.

What is your daily routine at the moment ?
Wake up, breakfast, warm up, class, rehearsals, lunch (if I'm lucky), more rehearsals, make up, warm up, performance, bow, dinner, shower, bed.

Tomasson Swan Lake photo © Erik Tomasson

You can ask six famous people to dinner - who would you invite ?
Sergei Diagilev, Alexander Pushkin, David Lynch, Audrey Hepburn, Petr Tchaikovsky, Yuri Gagarin.

What would surprise people about you ?
People always tell me I look much taller on stage.

Who inspired you to dance ?
While I was studying at the Bolshoi I admired Ekaterina Maximova, Sylvie Guillem and ballerinas from the Mariinsky theater. I remember watching videos over and over again, I really wanted to be like them.

Wheeldon Ghosts (partner Vitor Luiz) photo © Erik Tomasson

What is your best piece of advice ?
Trust yourself, you can do so much more than you think you can.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I start getting ready very early and take a long time (a few hours) to warm up, I also avoid talking to anyone so I can concentrate for the performance later.

Coralli, Perrot Giselle (partner Gennadi Nedvigin) photo © Marina Gulyaeva

Which role has tested you the most & how ?
Odette and Odile in Swan Lake. I never felt like I was right for this ballet and never felt like I wanted to do it which is not normally like me. As I started working on it I fell in love with it, but the working process wasn't easy for me. It was also the first time I had to do some sort of evil character as Odile in ballet.

If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
It would definitely be something plain and comfortable to dance in. I would love it if Vivienne Westwood could design a costume for me.

Forsythe in the middle, somewhat elevated photo © Erik Tomasson

What do you look for in a dance partner ?
I like dancing with partners who want to keep working until everything feels right and I can trust them.

What is your favourite quote ?
Everything happens for a reason.

What’s been your best on-stage moment so far ?
At the curtain call of the opening night of Giselle at the Kennedy Center. I was still new as a Principal dancer to the company and I was given this opportunity. I felt very nervous as I was representing the whole company. When I saw audience standing during the bows I was so relieved and happy.

Tomasson Swan Lake'photo © Erik Tomasson

Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
Yes, but I can't tell you.

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now ?
I'm very happy with where I am at the moment. There is so much I could wish for but it's always nice to have more work created on you, more ballets to learn, to travel around the world and meet more interesting dancers and choreographers.

Petipa The Sleeping Beauty (Nikolay Korypaev) photo © Nikolai Krusser


  1. what a beautiful interview! I really enjoyed this!

  2. May she reach her dream of performing on the stage of The Marinsky Theater!

  3. Such beautiful photos and a great interview... Truly an inspiration for anything one pursues!
    I would have to have more exercise to eat a croissant each morning!
    Blessings for each day and always ~ Maria

    ps. Thank you for stopping by!
    You have a lovely and very interesting blog!

  4. i love her!!!!!!!!

  5. I absolutely adore this interview, and the photographs you've used to accompany it. Croissants and coffee would definitely motivate me to dance, as well!! :)

  6. beautiful interview, beautiful dancer!

  7. Lovely, so interesting, and wonderful photos!!!
    Margaret B

  8. Such a great interview, I enjoyed reading it! I love this blog, it gives young ballerinas, like myself, so much inspiration. :)

  9. Darling wishing you and your family a joyous and blessed Easter. I am so lucky to have you as a friend. Therefore, this Easter I will count my blessings and will count you twice luv.

    Love & Hugs

  10. Judging by her name and preferrences, Maria Kochetkova is of russian descent. And russians have no rivals when it comes to Ballet.
    BTW, Bareshnikov, whom she mentions in the interview, is coming to Israel and there's high excitement here about it.

  11. Beautiful photos, lovely interview! I love the question about the ballet costume, I would die to see Vivienne Westwood design a ballet!! How amazing would that be?!

  12. She's my favorite dancer at the present. I hope she stays at San Francisco Ballet. It seems to be the perfect company for her.

  13. She is stunning, she has an "Audrey" Hepburn quality to her!

  14. what a great interview and I love her piece of advice.

  15. Maria is a powerhouse when it comes to interacting with fan through the Internet. I first saw her on Superstars of Dance and have read of her adventures through Facebook and her website and tweets.

    Hmmmm ... now I am really curious about this secret skill that she is hiding.


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