Ballet had rarely gathered full houses in the Palace of the Republic. The unbelievable number of viewers surprised even the art director of the theater, Valentin Yelizaryev. The maestro was very concerned about the repairs in the Bolshoi Theater and consequent move to the Palace of the Republic. I can imagine his feelings: his favorite theater being attacked by bulldozers and other futuristic machines. Inside the theater the temperature was below zero, there was no stage, and builders with hammers and pliers were shooing off miniature ballerinas in special gas masks and pointes.
What about the insides of the creative process? Rehearsal in the half-demolished theater in the morning and ballet performances in the palace in the evening — bright, colorful and elegant, like “Bayadere”. There are ten performances a month, not much, but enough for Yelizaryev to gather the best dancers for the most “starred” show ever. This is beautiful, I believe. Earlier it was like this: one show — one prima ballerina, but now they will have to compete for getting on stage.
The twins Katerina and Petr Borchenko have probably made the biggest progress last year. Yelizaryev lured them into his theater a couple of years ago, and they seemed to like it. How are the guys doing here? They have had leading parts, large tours, reputation… Let’s ask them. By the way, Petr is five minutes older than Katya.
— Petr, you are older, so you will have to start. I remember when you came to Minsk they commended Katya and gave her the diploma “Philip Morris — Debut”, and you were somewhere behind. This year you are more ambitious, I guess.
— I have more roles, more parts to play, more rehearsals, so quantity means quality here.
— I hear you never wanted to become a ballet dancer.
Katya: Oh yeah, he loved ballet. Our parents danced in Russia’s Mariinsky Theater all their lives, and we spent so much time behind the curtains. Petya loved ballet, but he wanted to become a mathematician or physicist. However, when I entered the Vaganov School, my brother told me he would like to study with me. My parents were very much surprised to learn that we danced together. And we have no wish to part now.
— Is this couple purely for work, or is it easier to be together off stage?
— Katya, when Petr lifts you two meters above the stage, the whole audience seems transfixed. Aren’t you scared sometimes?
— Of all my partners I trust only Petr. We feel each other beautifully. For a ballerina it is of major importance to trust her partner.
— But this ballet career can’t be long. Aren’t men sorry to have to retire at an early age?
Petya: No problem with me, I will choose a profession and will work with something completely new.
— In Minsk?
— We’ll see. We would like to stay in Minsk, to tell the truth, we got used to this country.
— Where do you live?
Katya: We live in an apartment that the theater owns in a beautiful district of Vesnyanka. Many famous sportsmen live there. I often meet Max Mirny or Vladimir Volchkov when I go out.
— Isn’t your apartment too small for two people?
Petya: We have two rooms. I have got the computer, tape recorder and TV in my rooms, while Katya has a mirror and a bed.
— You don’t watch TV?
Katya: I have little time. I am involved in two plays staged by Yelizaryev, which means two rehearsals every day. And I love it — the more exercise the fitter you get. I gain weight rather quickly when I work little.
— Do you ever have free time?
Katya: I kind of like movies, so I never miss a premiere.
Petya: I try to spend as much time as possible with my girlfriend who studies in Minsk Linguistic University.
— Do you plan to get married?
— I hope so.
— Isn’t Katya jealous sometimes?
Katya: Oh, never. I am glad he is like this. But I have no time to go out with boys; I am obsessed with my career.
by Viktoria Svetlichnaya
Life in Ballet
Ballet dancers Yekaterina and Petr Borchenko ready to trade Moscow for Minsk