Ever since Makhar Vaziev took the reigns of the Bolshoi Ballet in 2016, he's been pushing a new crop of promising young talent. Last summer, he chose Alena Kovaleva, then just 18, to dance the lead in "Diamonds" in New York City. This weekend North American audiences have an opportunity to catch another rising company dancer, corps de ballet member Margarita Shrainer, in movie theaters. On Sunday, March 4, Shrainer will star as the strong-willed Jeanne in Alexei Ratmansky's 2008 revival of The Flames of Paris, part of this season's Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series. Fathom Events and By Experience (BYE) will partner to broadcast the film, captured live from a Moscow performance earlier in the day, to more than 500 movie theaters in the U.S. and Canada.
The Flames of Paris, which is set in the French Revolution, is a high-octane ballet full of dazzling bravura. While Shrainer is no stranger to principal roles, dancing for millions of viewers will add another element of pressure to her performance on Sunday. We spoke to her over email to see how she handles it all.
Do you feel more nervous knowing that your performance will be broadcast to such a large audience?
Of course I get nervous, because it's exciting and you feel a massive responsibility. You understand that an enormous amount of people are watching you and you are representing the Bolshoi Theatre.
Do you prepare any differently for a performance when it is being filmed?
No, I don't, because I always make sure to prepare seriously and responsibly for each performance as they are all equally important.
As a member of the corps de ballet, how do you deal with the pressure of dancing principal roles?
Being a dancer in the corps de ballet, the pressure is much greater because every time I step out of the stage, I have to prove my privilege to be performing leading roles.
Can you tell me a little about the character you will be playing?
Jeanne is a brave, strong-spirited girl but at the same time, young, fragile and loving. She is confident in herself and her mission, a peasant who managed to lead the people to revolution.
The Flames of Paris is such a high-energy ballet. How do you keep your stamina up during performances?
You become so charged by the music, from the choreography, your partners, and all the artists onstage. You don't play the role, you really live it to the point that you don't even notice when the performance comes to an end.
The Flames of Paris, also starring Igor Tsvirko as Phillippe and Denis Savin as Jerome, will be broadcast Sunday, March 4, at 12:55 pm EST/PST, 11:55 am CST and 10:55 MST (click here to see where it's playing near you). For a sneak preview of their April 8 cinema screening of Giselle (starring Svetlana Zakharova and special guest Sergei Polunin) as well as insights into Vaziev's directorial style, check out the exclusive video below.