This interview with Brian Seibert in the Times is a must-read for those interested in Alexei Ratmansky’s obsession with Shostakovich.
Here are three short excerpts:
On Shostakovich: ” It’s much stronger than humor. It’s nihilism. He destroys things. He takes something very seriously, and then he crushes it with the most vulgar melody from the street. He plays with the expectations of the listener. He started playing for silent movies, so he learned the correspondence between action and sound”.
On choreographing: ” When I hear the music I think steps, trying different steps like different gloves. It feels like a crossword puzzle: it exists, you just need to find the right words. I prepare, but there is no useful system to write it down, so I need to have it in my head, and then I’m rushing to give it to the dancers. As soon as they have it, we can shape it together.
On history: “My grandmother still lives with my parents in Kiev. She was born in 1908, with Nicholas II and Tolstoy and Petipa still alive. She lived through all of it, so it’s not so far back. This music speaks important things to me.”