Feature: Recommended by... Zenaida Yanowsky
Zenaida Yanowsky is a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, known for her strong, intelligent performances in a huge range of roles, from Odette/Odile in Swan Lake to Ashton’s Sylvia to work by Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon and Will Tuckett.
She recently took a break from dancing to have her second child and will be back on stage in Carlos Acosta’s Premieres at the London Coliseum, 28 July-7 August, before returning to the Royal Ballet in November to dance in Sylvia. She tells Lyndsey Winship which shows she’ll be catching this summer, rehearsals allowing…
I had my daughter Iona two and a half months ago and I’m already rehearsing for a show with Carlos Acosta at the London Coliseum. It’s full on. It’s the second time I’ve gone back to work after having a baby so it’s familiar but it is hard. Luckily the muscle memory is so huge after a long career you do fairly quickly start feeling like a dancer again.
I won’t have much time to go out but I have to say I’m looking forward to seeing Paco Peña’s Flamenco sin FronterasSadler’s Wells, 29 Jun – 3 July. I love flamenco but I don’t really know much about it, but my neighbour is a big fan and he knows everything, he got me hooked. If you saw me on the street or saw my name you would never think I’m Spanish but I am, and I lived there till I was 17. I definitely feel my roots vibrating [when I see flamenco].
The energy is very different to ballet. I love the beauty of the movement. As a classical dancer I am trained to see certain movements as beautiful and what I love about flamenco is that the movement is so different to what I do. It’s very guttural, it’s very grounded, it’s very poetic but not in any way soft. It’s a bit like the poems of Ted Hughes – you see the guts and the movements are rough, like the earth.
Nederlands Dans Theater Sadler’s Wells, 6 – 10 July is another one I’d choose to see. I’m a big softie for NDT and it seems like an amazing programme for the 50th anniversary. Joining both companies will be so interesting to see – the established dancers and the Bambis. NDT have such a beautiful style. They’re classically trained and yet they can move in so many different ways. It’s absolutely gorgeous to see. When I see NDT1 they’re like polished diamonds. Then you’ve got the rough diamonds NDT2 and the energy of the young dancers is so impressive – they just get hold of that horse and ride it.
Another thing that intrigues me is David Michalek’s Slow Dancing, Trafalgar Square, 6 – 9 July I want to go and see that. My understanding is that it’s a big screen installation of really slow moving images [of dancers] – a bit like Bill Viola did in his last piece. It will definitely show the detail of every movement. As a dancer I have to take care of the details but as an audience I miss out as much as anybody. It’s a bit like watching a slow motion video of a flower opening, you go ‘Oh my god, that’s so beautiful’, and yet we see it every day, but it’s not in our nature to look that at it that way.
Then there’s something Will Tuckett is producing, Pleasure’s Progress, based on Hogarth’s sketches. I thought it sounded fantastic, what a brilliant idea. I think Will is a wonderful producer; he’s just full of ideas. You come out of a meeting with him with your head burning because he’s just popping out ideas and ideas. I think he’s a great storyteller, and as a choreographer I think he’s tremendously musical. This is just one of those ideas where you think: Oh yes, I’d love to see that.
Paco Peña, Flamenco Sin Fronteras Sadler’s Wells, 29 Jun-3 July
NDT, Sadler’s Wells, 6-10 July
David Michalek’s Slow Dancing, Trafalgar Square, 6-9 July; Village Underground, 13-24 July
Pleasure’s Progress, Covent Garden Piazza, 9-10 July; Linbury Studio Theatre 23-26 Sept