A short talk with Denys Cherevychko - Principal, Vienna State Ballet: Creative processes - Jun 12th, 2017
May 18th, 2017
A short Talk with Denys Cherevychko: creative processes.
A warm, late afternoon in May. Spring is in the air.
I arrive a bit early to an appointment with Denys Cherevychko, just order some water and begin to write down some questions for our interview, which I had not had the time to put down on paper before. One question, that I had longed to make for quite a long time, kept returning to my mind… but how to do it? Not an easy question – a question that could lead to some misunderstanding.
I did not wish to cast any shadow of doubt on my interest to make this interview as pleasant as possible. It is always good to be as sensitive as possible. At least I alwaystry and, on top of it, Mr. Cherevychko, a brilliant “Etoíle” from the Vienna State Opera, with an acknowledged international reputation had also been extremely kind to me in letting me use a picture of his to launch this homepage/Blog. Just after 10 minutes he, the Ukrainian Premier Danseur that, not long ago gave life to Nijisnky in Neumeier’s “Pavillon D’Armide” arrives with the precision of an English gentleman. And the friendliness and easy-going way of someone who just feels at home everywhere in the world.
After chatting calmly and updating schedules, plans, future performances and projects for nearly a quarter of an hour and having “warmed-up” during our conversation (in the pure sense of a warming-up like in a Ballet-class), we started.
The question that was on the tip of my tongue just “dropped out of my mouth”:
“Denys, since years I have been wanting to ask you this. In fact ever since the première of “Stage Fever” (Balázs Delbó’s picture that unfortunately has never been released) I have been wanting to ask you this: when asked about the moment in which, just before going on stage, one feels “butterflies in the stomach” – or like many would just say “get the Willies” – there were many different answers from different dancers… But you just said “I go out there”. I could never understand that… not from you, a dancer with such insight and interior life… why?”
Denys looked at me and gave me that irresistible smile that tells you exactly how he feels about what you are saying and said “Perhaps I did not express myself correctly or you misunderstood me, Ricardo. What I wanted to say is that during those few minutes, those seconds – and what is less than seconds? Those instants... Yes, those precious instants before one goes on stage, I deeply concentrate on my part, I put all my power into the performance I am about to give. My mind is blank and I feel just like I am “serving Art”. And then “I go out there!”. That is what I meant!”
A stone fell from my heart. You see, this is something very “intimate” to ask a performer whom you much admire and respect. But he was at ease with the situation. And from this moment on we fell into a sort of intimacy that made us sure that we were speaking the same language.
Asking about his creative process while creating a role his answers were sharp (I am talking of exactitude), nearly pin-pointed but framed with a smile that “betrayed” lots of dreams, insights and “inner life”: “I get all the information I can put my hands on for the character. All details that might help me create my own vision of this person’s life.
Small details – the “unimportant things” about someone”, he said, making me immediately think of Robert & Clara Schumann, “So important!”
But he suddenly thought further, with shining eyes and said emphatically: “But every time it is different… Sometimes I like to wonder what does “he” like to eat, drink, read? Whom does “he” like to be with? Which flowers does “he” like to smell?”
“Some roles ask for lots of “technicality” but that never bothers me on the first place” he continued “Everyone has a strong technique nowadays” (to this comment I mentioned a video I had just recently seen with Lucia Lacarra, in which she mentioned just that) “but the secrete of it all is to have YOUR personality and connect it, every time you go on stage with beauty and your own experience“.
I’ll leave you with these thoughts today.
Somehow Mr. Cherevychko made me think of Stanislawski, Lee Strasberg, Actor’s Studio and the so-called “Method”.
Yes… I’ll leave you with these thoughts today.
Thank you, Mr. Cherevychko