The Artist's Life

Diana Vishneva brings passion and curiosity to mastering new movement and classic roles.
Published in the October/November 2009 issue.

Which do you enjoy more: performing or being in the studio?

Mostly the studio. But the work has to end up onstage, and you also have to love what you do there. What’s important is to create something people love and that affects them.


What new role have you danced recently, and what did it teach you?

A year ago, I spent some time in Wuppertal, Germany, working with [the late] Pina Bausch on  a section from Ten Chi. It was one of the most profound artistic experiences I ever had. Her movement is a different language. You have to be very sensitive; every step expresses who you are. It’s very much a woman’s vision of movement.

Do you suffer from stage fright?

Oh, yes. I get nervous. I want to create the maximum effect emotionally or dramatically, and there’s always something to worry about on the technical side.


Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

The day before a performance, I have a massage to prepare my body and clear my mind.


Is there anything about being a dancer that you particularly dislike?

It would be nice to be able to develop my artistry without such physical pressure. Being a dancer is hard work every day. You can never relax; you have a limited time in your profession. Each day counts.


What ballets would you still like to dance?

There are so many: pieces by Mats Ek, Angelin Preljocaj, Bausch, Maurice Béjart’s Boléro.


You dance with the Kirov and American Ballet Theatre. Do you notice differences between Russian and American dancers?

Yes, of course. The Russians have more understanding of  the classics because they absorb the history and tradition as part of their training. But Americans have other qualities—vigor, enthusiasm, speed—and when I am here, I try to learn what I don’t get at home.

What do you think you’ll be doing in 20 years?

I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in two years, let alone 20! I’m definitely not going to be a cook or housewife. I’m a very creative person and I think I will always express that in some way.

What is your favorite dish?

Dessert—tiramisu or anything with chocolate.