Feature: Recommended by... Oxana Panchenko

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Oxana Panchenko

*Ukranian dancer Oxana Panchenko danced with English National Ballet, Munich Ballet,
and City Ballet of London among others, before joining George Piper Dances in

*To celebrate the reopening of the Royal Festival Hall, she and Amy Hollingsworth performed
a new duet by Rafael Bonachela as part of the Ballet Boyz Gala, Ballet for the
People. (14-15 July)*

*Lyndsey Winship grabbed Oxana for a quick chat to find out what she’ll be watching
over the summer…*

Matthew Bourne's 'The Car Man'Photo: Bill Cooper
I’m in a company where we don’t really do much storytelling, and coming from
a classical ballet background I really do miss it, so that’s why I’ll be going
to see Matthew Bourne’s version of Carmen, The Car Man. I love the fact that his work is so theatrical but with a lot of dance. The
show is very real, it’s a proper story full of passion and revenge – I definitely
enjoy the drama. I like the company, New Adventures, because the dancers all come from very different backgrounds and they all complement
each other. Alan Vincent [playing Luca] in particular is someone I want to see. I’ve seen Car Man on TV and I really enjoyed it but it’ll be so much better to see it live.

The Bolshoi, 'La Bayadère'
I very rarely go to see ballet nowadays, maybe because I’ve done it myself so
much, and I’ve seen so many productions. There is a lot of good dancing out there
but very rarely do you see something really special. Having said that, I would
recommend the Bolshoi when they come to London. Obviously I admire the company, they’re very passionate
about their heritage and their own style, which is very unique. Compared to the
English style, which is more refined and understated, the Bolshoi style is the
opposite; it’s bravura, it’s full of passion and drama, they’re full on!

Last winter I spent seven weeks in Moscow with Michael [Nunn] and Billy [Trevitt], making a documentary about Christopher Wheeldon creating a new work for the Bolshoi. Those dancers are not used to creating
work and it was quite awkward at the beginning, but it was fascinating to see
how they grew and began to love the creative process. Bolshoi dancers are used
to telling stories – they hardly ever perform abstract ballet – and what was interesting
was they tried to find a story in Chris’ ballet. They couldn’t perform it as an
abstract ballet, and therefore they added something quite special to it. It’s
really good. They’re bringing quite a big repertoire so there is a choice of ballets.
I would also go and see Don Quixote with Maria Alexandrova as Kitri because she’s very powerful and very feisty and yet she’s got a strong
sense of femininity. I really like her dancing, and she’s also a lovely girl.

Christopher Wheeldon in rehearsal with Aesha Ash Speaking of Christopher Wheeldon, I would definitely recommend the launch of
his own company at Sadler’s Wells in September. I don’t think there are that many really good, talented choreographers
in the world at the moment but Chris is one of them. His style is still classically
based but it has moved on with time – it’s so fluent and so much freer than classical
ballet. As well as his own work there will be other choreographers, and each one
of them offers a very different but wonderful style, like William Forsythe’s athleticism and strength, and Jyri Kylian’s lyricism. Chris has got wonderful dancers in the company, some from New York City Ballet – and Alina Cojocaru and Johann Kobborg from the Royal Ballet are joining him.

I always love to see Alina, everything that she does. She’s a very unique dancer,
she’s got that something special. You can’t pinpoint what it is, it’s just there,
and you get that with very few dancers in the world. A lot of dancers have beautiful
physiques and can lift their legs but there’s something missing. I can’t say
what it is – the soul maybe? Alina has got that.

The Car Man is at Sadler’s Wells*, 10 July – 5 August*

The Bolshoi Ballet perform at The Coliseum 30 July – 18 August (with Maria Alexandrova in the role of Kitri in Don Quixote on 10 August)

The Wheeldon Company perform at Sadler’s Wells 19-23 September

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