On May 15, the National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv celebrates the grand anniversary of the 150th season since its opening way back in 1901. The big date is marked with timeless performance — The Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky. Destinations have talked with the Honored Artist of Ukraine and Prima ballerina Nataliia Matsak who will soon grace the stage as Odette.
Nataliia Matsak had started her career as a dancer at the age of four when she first attended dance classes. The hard work at the Kyiv State Ballet School allowed the young Nataliia to pave a way to the big ballet — her first performance on the stage of the National Opera of Ukraine took place during her senior year. The professional debut has happened soon after the 2001 graduation — a pas de trois in the Kingdom of the Shades in La Bayadère. The same year Nataliia has gained a status of the principal dancer of the National Opera House of Ukraine.
Thus, a line of successful performances in Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda and many others began. Hard work and dedication led to receiving a status of the Honored Artist of Ukraine in 2008. Ever since, Nataliia continues astonishing the audience in France, Italy, Japan, the USA and many other countries.
How and when did you realize that ballet was your calling?
Probably when the effort I'd taken in the rehearsal hall became highly appreciated by the audience and critics. This means that plastique and interpretation of the dance influence the audience in a right way, which is incredibly important for an artist. It’s a kind of feedback that inspires me to work further.
You have come a long way from a rookie ballerina to an Honored Artist of Ukraine. Which roles were the most challenging throughout your career?
The first difficult performance for me was The Swan Lake. You know, it’s a kind of an exam for every ballerina if she wants to gain the status of Prima. Up to date, I’ve danced my part in The Swan Lake in all possible versions with various directors. The beauty of my profession is that every role and every performance is a new challenge that makes you discover the new aspects of yourself. It often happens that the more difficult the process is, the more interesting is the outcome.
Is there a role you dream of playing on stage?
Tatyana from Onegin by John Cranko and, of course, Manon in the same-named performance by Kenneth MacMillan.
For The Swan Lake in Kyiv Opera House, you were partnered up with Matthew Golding. Did you enjoy being a part of such a duo?
Photo: Matthew Golding
I think that every good professional dancer is like a new book. If the actors find balance and mutual understanding in dance, you have to cherish this link. It’s incredibly rare.
You have performed on the best stages of France, Italy, America, China, and India. Which country impressed you the most? Where would you like to perform once more?
Well, I certainly wouldn’t limit myself. Having performed in one country, you still want to move forward. Although there are certainly many stages where I’ve experienced unforgettable emotions — that’s the beauty of my profession.
Let's take a sneak peek at your future performances - where can we see you on stage soon?
Photo: Nataliia on a rehearsal
The scheduled performances for the nearest future will take place all over Europe. I really love Ukrainian audience, that’s why we will surprise you with something new and interesting as well. At the moment, together with my friend and often partner Matthew Golding we are preparing to perform in The Swan Lake that will take place on May 15 at the National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv. Matthew is a member of the London Royal Opera House, so the performance will have a unique vibe of the English ballet school. We want to bring new emotions to the main dance parts and the most striking elements that are recognizable from various international versions of The Swan Lake. We hope that Ukrainian audience will appreciate our work.
Interviewed by Kate Pryliuk.
Photos provided by Kvartal Concert.