If your eyes smile you are beautiful!
Olga Esina, First Soloist of the Vienna State Ballet tells us about the Beauty in the life of a Primaballerina travelling between Russia and Austria, and takes us on a style walk through the charming city of Vienna.
Olga Esina was born in Saint Petersburg (Russia) where she was educated at the Vaganova Academy from 1996–2004. After two years as a member of the ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre she came to Vienna where she joined the Vienna State Ballet. Since 2010 she is its Principal.
Insider Vienna Trend Guide from Olga Esina
How is life in Vienna compared to St. Petersburg?
It´s completely different. Within the first three to four years it was quite difficult to adapt to the Viennese life. I was always trying to go home because I missed my family, the city, everything. I could not understand in my mind that I had to live a new life here. But after this time, I began to love it, to enjoy it very much and from that moment on Vienna feels like my second home.
And how do ballet audiences compare (are they more critical, more friendly)?
At the beginning the audience in Vienna was very conservative. There is a long history with ballet in Vienna, they know the classic ballets very good and if something new comes up they take it very difficult. But now as we are showing more and more new productions they are accepting it because they now us, they know the Vienna dancers and we get a lot of appreciation also for those new and more modern pieces.
In Russia they mostly dance classical pieces and with modern productions it is still very difficult in Russia. They started to bring modern pieces also to Mariinsky but the audience´s acceptance comes very, very slow. Although it is getting better now Europe is more modern and open to new productions than Russia.
You are also a guest principal at Mariinsky Theater, would you like to one day return there?
Yes, starting next season I also will be in Russia. I cannot imagine to leave Vienna but I will dance a lot at Mariinsky too. I feel that I can grow as a dancer when I both work in Vienna and in St. Petersburg where I meet my old colleagues and teachers.
You’ve reached the highest position in the Vienna State Ballet, what is the biggest challenge for you at the moment and what’s the next goal you’d like to achieve?
Yes that´s right, you cannot reach more than the position of first principal dancer but this does not mean that I have reached my highest point already. I always can dance more, dance better. So I always will keep going, keep studying, keep working if we talk about Vienna. A ballerina is at the Top when she is invited to dance different versions of different ballets in different cities all over the world. When you are know everywhere then you made it to the Top.
Which was the most important and demanding role you performed on stage? Is Odette/Odile in Swan Lake the ultimate challenge for a ballerina? And is it also your personal favourite?
Swan Lake is know as the most difficult ballet, because you need to show two faces, two different kind of techniques. I personally like the role of the Black Swan more, although everybody is telling me that I am looking more like the White Swan, probably because I am blond and tall, but if I dance the Black Swan I am just be there.
I cannot say that this is my favourite role as I don´t have one favourite role. If I start a new production and the rehearsals I instantly try to give my best and without thinking about it, I know that this is my favourite role now. So in fact I have many favourites, one after the other.
You perform in more and more contemporary works, do they matter as much as traditional pieces in the resume of a ballerina?
I like to switch between modern and classic. After dancing modern pieces I feel different when I start to dance traditional productions again, my whole body feels different. I think it is important for a ballerina to dance everything, all repertory, all styles.
As a Primaballerina you are by definition a symbol for elegance, what do you think makes a woman beautiful?
I think that there are different kinds of beauty but the real woman has it all. She can wear jeans or wear a dress regardless how much it costs, but with something that comes from inside she will be beautiful.
“If your eyes smile you are beautiful.”
Elegance or beauty – what is the most important asset/quality of a ballerina?
I don´t want to separate them. Elegance and beauty always go together, this is also true for a very good ballerina. If she has it both, then it´s WOW and the audience is screaming.
Are you interested in fashion in your personal life? Do you prefer a certain style or have a favourite designer?
I am not the person who always tries to be the first to follow a new trend. Even if all designers show the same style or color for the next season and I don´t like it, I won’t never wear it. I always try to be in harmony with myself. I mix my wardrobe, sometimes elegant, sometimes casual. But mostly I like to be elegant.
I met the young Designer Anelia Peschev some years ago when she gave me a dress for the Vienna Opera Ball and since this moment we are in a cooperation as I like her style and her works very much. We talked about acting as a Model on her catwalk or even making a photoshoot, but until now we did not find the time to do it.
What role does fashion play in your life, on stage and off stage?
There are times when I wake up and feel like the most beautiful woman and then I want to wear the best dresses. And there are days when I wake up and I cannot open my eyes, I put on my sportshoes, glasses, jeans and I don’t want that somebody recognizes me.
So If I am in the mood to be nice, I will be nice, if not, I don’t know what to wear, everything is bad in my closet. Maybe like it happens to every normal woman.
“With ballet it´s different, on stage we are making a show and you cannot be in a bad mood.”
What is the next project we will see you in?
“Meistersignaturen“, four different pieces by four different choreographers, will be the next premiere on May 27th. I will perform two times in George Balanchines´ „Allegro Brillante“, a 14min ballet based on the third Tschaikowski concert. And another two times in Rudi van Dantzigs „Four Last Songs“.
Finally Olga takes us on personal style walk through her beloved Vienna. If you are planning to visit this charming city we´ll recommend to read and follow her insider tipps in her Vienna Trend Guide.