Photo by Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet

Dutch National Ballet’s Sasha Mukhamedov, the Daughter of Irek and Masha Mukhamedov, Is Making Her Own Mark

To whom would you attribute your success?
My mom, because I trained privately with her. She pushed me to become what I am now, and she's one of the best teachers out there. She doesn't just go by her Bolshoi schooling: She's really good at finding what's right for you.

Was it a hindrance or a help to have famous parents in the ballet world?
It's 50/50. Sometimes it's great because they can pass on everything they know to me, but there are also moments when people recognize my name, and it's instant pressure. Some will look at me differently and wonder if I'm actually good enough. I had to prove myself through my work.

What's the least glamorous part of being a dancer?
Taking care of all your blisters and sore toenails. A Russian trick is to do a vodka compress overnight: You soak a bandage in vodka and wrap it around the toes that are hurting. You sleep with it, and it looks great in the morning, nice and wrinkly. It smells of vodka, but it really works!

Mukhamedov in Balanchine's Symphony in C. Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet


Are you superstitious?
Unfortunately, yes. A common Russian superstition is the safety pin. You attach it somewhere or have it with you at all times to keep you safe. I always pin one on my costume.

Of which accomplishment are you the most proud?
Becoming a principal at 26. I've always wanted it, but I never really thought it would happen so soon. My director announced it onstage after my debut in his Coppélia, on Christmas Eve. It was a really special Christmas present.

Who is your toughest critic?
My mom! But in a good way. It's a big deal to me if she thinks something is good. I won't believe what people are saying until I hear from her.

What skill would you most like to have?
I don't have a driver's license. It would be handy. It's not really needed in Amsterdam, but I've always wanted to get a scooter.

How would you like to be remembered?
How my dad is remembered, perhaps: for my strong personality onstage.

If you weren't a dancer, what would you be?
Lately I've been really into interior design, because I'm renovating my apartment in Amsterdam. I really enjoy the process of picking what goes together, bathroom tiles, the kitchen...Maybe I'll flip apartments when I stop dancing!

Mukhamedov as Nikiya in La Bayadere

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi Everyone,

These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

As you adjust to taking virtual ballet class from your living rooms, we here at Pointe are adjusting to working remotely from our living rooms. We've had to get a little creative, especially as we put our Summer Issue together, but like you we're taking full advantage of modern technology. Sure, it's a little inconvenient sometimes, but we're finding our groove.

And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

Best wishes,

Amy

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