St Petersburg Ballet Theatre prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova looks forward to her new year dates in Birmingham.


Q Do you have a preference for Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake. If so, why?

A I prefer Swan Lake because it suits my character and physique better. It is also a more profound piece which allows you to explore the role in more depth.

Q Tchaikovsky ballets remain immensely popular, why is that?

A The choreographer Petipa worked closely with Tchaikovsky on the ballet, explaining to the composer what he wanted, how many bars he wanted here, what he wanted there, which led to an almost perfect synthesis of dance and music.

Q When did you decide you wanted to be a ballet dancer and how did you go about achieving that dream?

A I saw Sleeping Beauty at the age of five and was hooked. The costumes and set made it all look like magic to me. At ten I was accepted into the Vaganova school. After that it was a question of applying patience and determination.

Q How much competition is there in Russia to gain the top roles?

A There are many different companies in Russia, there are seven in St Petersburg alone. There is huge competition and many interesting ballerinas. However, that there is very little that distinguishes the ballerinas. There is a sameness about them and that is the most difficult thing at the moment.

Q Would you consider moving to a company outside of Russia?

A I would definitely consider it. I would like to try more contemporary choreography. You need to try everything.

Q What do you like best about travelling in the UK?

A It is really like my second home since I have been here so often. Even at home sometimes I start missing England. Everything seems quite free and easy here. Even not knowing the language does not seem to be a problem.

Q What dreams do you still have to achieve in the ballet world?

A I’d love to try Romeo and Juliet. More creative roles on bigger stages.

Q What are your memories of dancing in Birmingham?

A The Symphony Hall has a wonderful auditorium. There is always a lot of pressure because we consider it to be a very important venue for us. And we always get a good response from the audience.

* St Petersburg Ballet Theatre perform Sleeping Beauty on Sunday, January 4 and Swan Lake on Monday, January 5. Tickets available from 0121 780 3333 and