Oleg Ivenko: ''Ballet barre can substitute exercises in the gym''

About how the dancer, who played Rudolf Nureyev in the film by Ralph Fiennes, brings ballet to the masses

Soloist of the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Musa Dzhalil Oleg Ivenko at the beginning of last year opened in Kazan the ballet school Ballet Room. The studio is unique because classical ballet, stretching and other styles are taught by principal dancers, who perform in the Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kazan. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Half a million for the ballet studio

Ballet dancers usually begin teaching after the career in theater. Oleg Ivenko decided to open a ballet studio at the height of his work. Thus he wants to bring ballet art to a wide audience.

''We can prepare talented children for entering a ballet school. We can help adults to realize their childhood dream to try themselves in this art as well as to improve posture, develop flexibility,'' says Ivenko.

Oleg Ivenko is definitely a man of art, and all the decisions, according to him, he took by intuition. And his business acumen, it seems, also does not fail him.

It was invested 500,000 rubles in the repair of the premises. Photo: Oleg Ivenko's personal archive

At first, classes were held in halls rented in other dance studios, but when Ivenko realized that other studios enticed his students, he decided to set up the school and to find separate premises. He found them almost by chance. Before a tour to Korea, he decided to have a haircut and in search of a barber shop at ten in the evening he accidentally walked into a new beauty salon on Zhukovsky street. Oleg Ivenko immediately drew attention to the fact that on the walls in the room there were mirrors. In fact, it already was a studio. Besides, he found out that the barber shop was going to move out.

''How can such thing happen? I don't think that having a haircut exactly in this barber shop was a coincidence. It was predestined,'' the dancer says.

It was invested 500,000 rubles in the repair, the studio spends from 1 to 2 thousand dollars per month on promotion and ongoing costs. The ballet studio partly has already achieved an operating cost recovery, now they plan to bring the studio to stable zero and then reach profitability. The artist understands that the most difficult time for small business development is the first three to four years. It is the period when businesses close, so systematic development of business is important.

Ivenko mistakes the first invitation for the role of Rudolf Nureyev for spam

The organization of work in Ballet Room is similar to other dance schools. Classes are held in the evening, a subscription for eight lessons a month costs 3,000 rubles, adults are taught stretching, modern dance, classical ballet, body ballet, yoga; children — classical ballet.

The fundamental difference from other schools is that among the teachers there are real stars: in addition to Oleg there are Nurlan Kanetov, Amanda Gomez, Regina Garifullina, Alessandro Caggegi, Marcel and Maria Nureyevs. Oleg Ivenko teaches some styles personally.

''Our teachers help with nutrition system, to make a good posture,'' he says. ''I see how after our lessons people become more plastic, confident. The internal flow becomes more harmonious. I am happy that my colleagues and I bring it to them.''

Not so long ago it has become known that Ivenko will play Rudolf Nureyev in the film White Crow. Director of the film is Ralph Fiennes, he also acts as a mentor of Nureyev.

Oleg Ivenko got the role of Rudolf Nureyev in the casting on a common basis. Photo: Nikolay Kulagin

''The shooting of my part in the film has finished. I hope a trailer will be released in February, and we will see the film in eight to nine months,'' Oleg Ivenko says.

This is his first film, the received the role after casting on a common basis. He was selected from five-six applicants for the role of Rudolf Nureyev: Ralph Fiennes was looking, in the first place, for an experienced dancer, desirably Russian.

''When in a social network I received the first invitation to the casting, I decided that it was spam and deleted it. I responded only to the second message, when they started asking for my telephone number. Only then I realized that this was true,'' Oleg laughs.

Any graduate of GITIS [The Russian Institute of Theatre Arts] would be envy of invaluable acting lessons which he received from the director of the film, Ralph Fiennes. According to Ivenko, ballet dancers all their life dedicate to dance, but only 5% of dancers can go beyond the theater.

''I think if a person achieves success in two different fields, it says about his wisdom. This does not mean that he will spread himself too thin. On the contrary, he will have an opportunity to organise his time and opportunities wisely,'' Oleg Ivenko concludes.

Oleg Ivenko plans a festival of the ballet school

In his business, the artist puts no less ambitious tasks. He is planning to organize a dance festival that aims to bring the art of ballet closer the Kazan audience. The team of Ivenko plans to hold a festival already in April 2018 and is actively looking for a platform.

''I want to create a platform for dance groups, as well as to conduct master classes. Now we are selecting the applications for participation in the festival. There will perform my students, dancers, teams with folk, Latin, modern dancing,'' Oleg Ivenko said.

Before opening the ballet school, Oleg Ivenko visited several dance studios in Kazan. Photo from the personal archives of Oleg Ivenko

Oleg Ivenko is planning to open the second dance hall on the other side of the Kazanka river. There are also suggestions for opening branch studios in other cities of Russia.

''We showed the statistics of attendance of our school, and colleagues from Yoshkar-Ola have become interested. I hope the lessons there will also be given by ballet dancers and gymnasts – it is our feature,'' says the owner of the ballet studio.

However, as the creative businessman recognized, ballet artists do not rush to become teachers.

''I can intuitively see what dancer can become a good teacher,'' he says that if you want to keep an individual approach to the student, it is necessary to involve the second instructor if a group is more than 14 people.

Individual approach is not an empty phrase, the dancer believes. Before opening the ballet school, Oleg Ivenko visited several dance studios in Kazan and drew attention to the fact that teachers there were more concerned about themselves, not disciples.

''They do not charge with enthusiasm, they look only at themselves. I visited three different studios, looked at stretching teaching. I was surprised that teachers did not come to disciples, did not give individual recommendations. Of course, there are personal trainings but it is also necessary to invest energy in group ones,'' says Oleg Ivenko. ''Students have different levels of flexibility, each has its own characteristics, it is necessary to be able to determine. If you do not understand, then how can you be a teacher?''

In Ballet Room, Ivenko seeks to transmit energy and excitement of ballet to those who from is far from the art. But apart from energy, the ballet dancer believes that ballet barre is a great alternative to the gym.

''At the ballet barre, you work out the internal muscles, which the person does not involve in 80% cases. Working on ligaments, muscles, we begin to feel the body from within. We look at the posture and align the back. The only that you cannot work out at the baller barre is arms and chest, but legs will become instantly strong,'' sums up the artist and businessman.

By Ekaterina Gumarova

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