Oleg Ivenko: ''Times have changed now, one must dance everywhere''

The actor playing Rudolf Nuriyev in the film is performing in Kazan these days

The film about Rudolf Nuriyev will be released in London this week where principal dancer of the Kazan ballet company Oleg Ivenko performs the role of the great dancer. In an interview with Realnoe Vremya, Oleg told what the shooting gave him and how he saw his future artistic life.

''I don't exclude cinema from my life''

Oleg, the film about Rudolf Nuriyev will be released in London on 22 March. When will we see it in Russia?

Warner Bros. has recently claimed the film would be screened in Russia in April. I don't know when exactly. I've heard this information, but not first-hand. I know the film will be shown at the Moscow International Film Festival.

As far as I understood, the film has already been at several film festivals.

Yes, the film has already participated in 8 or 9 festivals, including in Ireland, Serbia, Canada, USA, Japan. Now we have two awards for Best Artistic Contribution at a festival in Tokyo and an award in Dublin.

How was the exhibition in London before the first screening?

A red carpet, a big number of invited stars, fashion industry representatives, actors, directors, Ralph Fiennes, of course, all producers, the scriptwriter, the composer, actors – Louis Hofmann, Anna Polikarpova.

Do you have other proposals to act in a film?

Yes, these proposals are discussed now.

So you don't exclude cinema from your life.

No. It's interesting to me. Ralph Fiennes gave me a push, a new lease of life that helps me to move on. Because what is it to be a ballet artist? It's work until you're 38 years, then do whatever you want. Now I have to work hard, to do what I have to do. I understand this also thanks to my cinematographic ''dad''.

Ralph Fiennes presenting the film The White Crow. Photo: vk.com/aflesh19

''Ralph would like to see me in a play''

Has Fiennes blessed you?

Yes, and I am very grateful to him. He blessed me to move forward.

Are you going to present a beautiful premiere of your film in Kazan? You are still a soloist of our theatre.

I understand it, I've achieved a lot in this theatre and invested a lot in it. But cinema is another thing. It's different money. Ralph, for instance, would like to see me in a play very much. But stars must align to have a film premiere in Kazan, too. I don't exclude it, maybe this will happen.

How did shooting affect you? Are Oleg Ivenko on the first day of shooting and Oleg Ivenko who is presenting the film at film festivals different people?

Cinema is a completely different world. But my head isn't spinning, thank God. Obviously, I didn't study psychology once in vain. Yes, it's two different people. The first one is a young man who lives for the theatre, and nothing more. I had some ideas but needed a push for them to come true. The second person is who now believes in his ambitions and knows they can come true, he trusts his inner self, wants to correctly forge his personality and show the world that ballet can be a bit different. Ralph Fiennes places his faith, emotions, inspiration in me. He is a big example for me. He didn't limit to London premieres, he began to learn the Russian language, Russia culture is close to him. He has worked with Vera Glagoleva for a reason. Of course, I am completely different now – different ambitions, different energy messages.

''Ralph Fiennes places his faith, emotions, inspiration in me. He is a big example for me.'' Photo: loveradio.ru

''I knew little about Nuriyev''

Did you know a lot about Nuriyev when you began acting?

The preparation for the shooting took a year, so I knew many things before acting. But when I received a proposal to act, I knew little – he is a famous dancer, a rebel, that's it. I knew about his defection to the West. But then, when I began to study the materials, I saw something incredible. Every person, no matter who he is, has touching stories in his life that can be a basis for a film. Nuriyev also has such stories, many things happened in his life. Nuriyev simply became a discovery for me, even his ability to close from the external world. For instance, he never paid his bill in a restaurant. He just upped and went, while his friends had to pay.

Yes, he had this kind of features.

And I wondered ''Can I do the same thing?'' I went to a restaurant with my girlfriend and decided we would also go without paying. It was an experiment. We went, and nobody stopped us. Moreover, I went to the same restaurant a week later but paid for lunch, of course.

Was it a psychological experiment to get into the character?

Yes, I was curious, I wanted to experience his emotions. Nuriyev lived with emotions, he felt every minute he was living. He couldn't stay still, he needed to do something all the time. If he didn't have a play, it could be a party, an interesting book, something else. After working on this role, I started to read a lot.

Has any of Nuriyev's friends or colleagues already seen your film?

Mikhail Baryshnikov has seen it, he liked the film. He helped to make the film, consulted Ralph.

Scene from the film The White Crow. Photo: film.ru

''I want to hold a festival in Kazan''

I'd like to learn about the project you have in Kazan.

I have a school. We teach both adults and children there. No matter how old a person is, one can learn to dance at any age. Of course, I don't say you will be able to dance professionally on the stage, but you will be able to dance and feel freer. We improve adults' bodies, sometimes not slim people come, and we work to put a body in order. My colleagues from the theatre help me in this work, guys doing rhythmic gymnastics help. They all are my helpers, great professionals, I recruit meticulously because not everyone who dances well in the theatre can teach. I love to give individual classes, I make them up for a specific person. In addition, we also make up a nutrition system for a specific person.

What about your festival?

Yes, I have a festival. Now we want to hold it together with the republic's culture ministry. At the moment everything stalled, and I am sad. But I know this project will live anyway, I already have plans for both the fourth and the fifth festivals. The third one is ready already, it's just necessary to choose a date. I'm going to invite our guys dancing in Europe to it so that they will show their level. They love Kazan and will come here, of course. But the situation with the Ministry of Culture is unclear now. If they refuse to help us, believe me, I will find investors. In this case, we will hold the festival not in Kazan, but in Saint Petersburg or Moscow.

What plans do you have in the theatre?

I want to dance many parts, now I am dancing in a different way, I've matured and I am looking differently on the stage. I need to develop, it's hard to do it in one theatre. times have changed now, one must dance everywhere. I would like to dance Armand in La Dame aux Camélias, Crassus in Spartacus. I need to change my speciality and dance something more dramatic.

''I want to dance many parts, now I am dancing in a different way, I've matured and looking differently onstage. I need to develop, it's hard to do it in one theatre. Times have changed now, one must dance everywhere.'' Photo: idel-tat.ru

Aren't you going to leave Kazan?

No, Kazan is my base, all the best is done here for me so that I feel comfortable, and I hope this will go on. Head of the ballet company Vladimir Yakovlev has always let me go for casting. As for the theatre's director Raufal Mukhametzyanov, I admire what a theatre manager he is, how accurate our theatre's work he created is. One must follow his example.

Do you have contracts with other theatres?

Now I am holding talks because I should join the Nuriyev Foundation and become one of his representatives.

By Tatiana Mamayeva