Sasha Mukhamedova: “I started in Amsterdam in corps de ballet”

The daughter of Irek Mukhamedov is dancing Kitri

Sasha Mukhamedova — the daughter of Irek Mukhamedov from Kazan, once principal dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre, “star” of Covent Garden — performed the role of Kitri in Don Quixote at Nureyev International Classical Ballet Festival yesterday. In the late nineties of the last century, Mukhamedov toured on the stage of the Dzhalil Tatar State Academy Opera and Ballet Theatre, and his countrymen saw him in three parties — Solor in La Bayadère, Albert in Giselle and Basilio in Don Quixote. Yesterday, the audience saw his talented daughter in Don Quixote.

“Oh, it’s my daddy!”

Irek Mukhamedov began to study in Kazan in the 122nd English special school. He studied there for 3 years, and then the talented boy was taken to Moscow, to a choreographic school. By the will of fate, I had a photo of Mukhamedov — a first-grader, my relative was his classmate. The boys and girls of this first class were photographed with their first teacher while walking in the Park named after Uritsky.

“Oh, it’s my daddy! In this photo, he is so similar to my younger brother,” Sasha immediately recognizes his father. “Send me the photo, please, I'll send it to my dad,” she immediately asks. Sasha is a very positive, all the time smiling girl, very similar to his father. Not a drop of “stardom”, she worked out a rehearsal diligently, after it we immediately go to the dressing room to make the interview. However, she has complexes about her Russian language, Sasha is now accustomed to speaking English.

Sasha, was it inevitable for you to become a ballerina?

My parents knew how much work ballet is, and they did not really want me to become a ballerina. Besides, I am the daughter of Irek Mukhamedov, I have to correspond, and it is even more difficult. I sang and played jazz as a child, but at the age of 13, I decided to be a ballerina. Like my mom and dad.

So it was your conscious decision?

Yes, my conscious decision.

And your father accepted you to The Prince and the Pauper.

He did, to my delight. In the UK, there are such children's troupes, where children can come to dance, learn to dance. They try their hand, decide whether they should go further. I went to a troupe like this, I studied in class, and then my dad gave me a small part in The Prince and the Pauper, but there was even a solo. I finally decided, I realized that I wanted to do ballet. I want to be on stage.

Parents didn't mind?

No, they said that if I decided so, I should go to a good ballet school. I went to the Royal ballet school in London. I went there later than the rest of my peers, they had already made friends, and I was kind of on the sidelines, I was almost an outsider. It was hard. After 2 years, my parents took me from there. My mother started to study with me, I can say that I am her student. After receiving good training from my mother, I went to work in Amsterdam.

“I did well in Amsterdam”

Why don't you work with dad? Where is Irek Mukhamedov working?

My dad works everywhere! He often comes to Amsterdam.

Does he work as a ballet master or as a coach?

As a coach. He is very popular, he is constantly busy and asked to train with artists. Mom also loves to teach, and she also has a lot of students. My parents are living in France.

Your parents taught you Russian classical ballet school, but Amsterdam is a different environment. How do you manage to combine several different schools?

My mother taught me for 2 years, I was already sixteen, and she taught me an accelerated course. She taught my body to work, she helped me to gain self-confidence. My mother prepared me for the daily hard work in the ballet company. She gave me a good “Russian base”. Dad taught me less.

You came to Amsterdam, how were your things going there?

Very good! I was 18 years old, everything was interesting to me. I liked the city, I liked the ballet company, I immediately made a lot of friends.

Two years ago I became a principal dancer of the National Ballet of the Netherlands. There were chances to promote, and I worked hard and every year I added something

In what part did you debut?

I started in the corps de ballet! Then there were small parties, and now I already dance the principal ones. Two years ago, I became a principal dancer of the National Ballet of the Netherlands. There were chances to advance, and I worked hard and added something new every year.

You are a winner of many prestigious ballet competitions. Do you like competitions?

My mother prepared me for competitions, and she always sets me up for winning. Winning the competition gives you confidence.

“I am moving to San Francisco”

Do you often dance in Russia?

Unfortunately, no. The first time I performed with our company in St. Petersburg. I was invited to Moscow by Andris Liepa, it was his programme in the Kremlin Palace. My partner and I performed modern choreography. In Kazan, I am going to dance for the first time.

Is this your first time in Kazan?

No, when my father danced here, my mother and I also came here, I was 7 years old. My grandparents are dead, but my uncle, dad's brother, lives here. And another grandmother, mother's mother, lives in Moscow.

What does your brother do?

My brother, he is younger than me by some years, very talented and extraordinary! Everything he does, he does perfectly. He starts one thing, brings it to perfection, and then says, “Well, I already know how, what else would I do?”. He once became interested in swimming and he had excellent results. He started ballet, and he was doing great, but he got injured. In general, my brother is a very talented person.

What language do you speak at home?

That's a good question! The funny thing is, my parents speak Russian to us, and my brother and I answer them in English. When someone from the outside hears it, for example, on the street, probably get surprised, obviously, we make a strange impression.

I'm omnivorous, I like everything. So I felt good in Amsterdam, where there were both styles

Do you dance everything you want?

I am very pleased with the parties that I dance. A month ago, I danced for the first time in Swan Lake, it was probably the last ballet in which I had not danced before and in which I wanted to dance. I worked for 10 years in the National Ballet of the Netherlands and realized that I wanted to see what is happening in other ballet companies in the world. And I decided to leave Amsterdam, to go to America, to San Francisco, to dance there in a ballet company. I'm moving there in July. I've always been interested in American ballet style, but I don't know yet that I will dance there.

What do you like to dance more: modern or classical?

I'm omnivorous, I like everything. So I felt good in Amsterdam, where there were both styles.

Sasha, you are a very positive person, you probably have a lot of friends?

Well, I hope. You have to be a positive person, a negative person sits and looks at the world as if in a hole. I don't want that!

What do you like to do besides ballet?

I communicate with friends, we love to go and discover new restaurants, new cuisines. I love to watch movies, I really do. I like to travel to exotic countries.

By Tatyana Mamaeva. Photo: