Paul Ghiselin knows, down to the last gilt-edged detail, what Ida Nevasayneva would spend her every dime, rouble and euro on – and quantity seems as important as quality!
“Ida would go for tons of gorgeous things. She just loves pretty things – she also likes to wear colour. And fabulous fabrics. Shiny. Fuzzy. She enjoys textures.
She collects antiques – but goes for curious things most. Because Ida loves the world and wants to pick up a piece of it everywhere she goes. Home is just filled with lots of bits of craziness that she picks up on her travels. Tons of knick-knacks. Pictures all over the walls – each one with a story. She even knows how much each one cost – she’d probably tell you, too…”
So is Paul a bit of a magpie too? Well – no and yes, yes and no…
“My shopping spree? I’d have to admit: clothes. I can be practical and impractical about it. I’ll go into a shop and nothing looks good. But then I’ll go into another store and I’ll want everything. The socks, the pants, the shirts, the coats, the scarves – all of it. And I’ll walk out of the shop several hundred dollars lighter, but loving every second of it – I love fashion, so I go crazy. I can go crazy in an H&M – it’s not top dollar – and I can go crazy in a high-end outlet – which can be very expensive. Price tags aren’t the deciding factor: the clothes are.
Foreign supermarkets? Oh, them too. Grocery shopping when we’re on tour – I love it. Shelves full of wonderful epicurean delights? I go nuts. In Bologna, I want to buy all the tapenades. In France, I want the foie-gras. I want to try all the things while I’m there – but then I want to bring them home, so as I can savour them.
You know, I even get intrigued by the wrappings. I’m always impressed by how the Japanese wrap things – they really are the masters. We always seem to do sharp edges, creasing flaps into points – trying to make everything box-shaped. The Japanese just seem to fold the paper round, tucking it in. It maybe ends up an uneven shape, but that’s quite beautiful – so then I don’t even want to unwrap the goodies inside, because that will spoil the artistry of it.”
Raffaele Morra admits that his ballerina, Lariska Dumbchenko is ‘old-school’ when it comes to shopping: status is everything and keeping up appearances is a must.Borocco downthu
“Lariska would buy furs and bags, jewellery – everything that is glamorous. She lives and breathes glamour. It’s how she sees herself and wants other to see her. For myself, I would never buy fur – I’m eco-friendly. But for Lariska, it must be fur. It must be luxurious, rich, like a status-symbol. Shopping for her means buying anything – everything – that will make her look like the great ballerina she is when she is outside, in the real world. She can never be just ordinary when she is off-stage. She is always a ballerina – and ballerinas should always look glamorous.”
So if Raffaele gives the thumbs-down to fur, what does he buy?
“Ballet videos. I already have a very good collection – I think, probably, just about everything that’s been recorded. But I still look, wherever we go. Just in case there is a new compilation or a performance I don’t have.
For me, watching them is not just for interest or pleasure but more and more it’s because of what we do. As ballerinas, we have to feed ourselves on our art. Also, if we want to make a parody of a ballet, we have to know the original work – understand it, so as we can echo it or take it in a different direction. It’s also important to look at what’s happening now, with other companies – discover what’s out there, what audiences are seeing elsewhere. And of course, all the ballerinas are an inspiration to us – the new ones as well as the old ones. When we’re travelling, it’s not easy to see other companies performing live. But with videos, you can watch a performance over and over and over.”
Fernando Medina-Gallego smiles ruefully as he admits that Svetlana Lofatkina has guilty secrets stowed away in her carrier bags.
“My ballerina – she’s not very good with make-up, so she doesn’t go to the cosmetic counters in the big department stores. And she’s a very poor dresser – no style, so she wouldn’t go crazy for clothes either. What does she buy? I think you could say she’s into food. That’s what she splurges on. Off-stage, she’s really Hifatkina – especially if there’s anything with cream. Lots of cream. Sweet things? Oh sure. She’d never go on-stage without sugar first – but only because it’s so necessary for energy… and for her art, of course.”
Does Fernando have a similar cravings? Actually, his interest lies more with the bags than what’s inside them.
“For me, it’s luggage. But there is a reason. We travel so much for Ballets Trockadero tours that our luggage gets destroyed a lot. So every time I see a suitcase that I think fits my needs better – I have to buy it. I’m crazy about luggage. Maybe yes, it’s because I’m also buying lots of other things that I need to buy more luggage – but actually, I just really like luggage so I’d buy it anyway, I think.”