The prima ballerina is celebrating 25 years on stage in Giselle
“I am feeling in me great inner energy, strong desire to dance, to communicate with the audience with the language of ballet!”
These are words of the prima ballerina of Sofia Opera and Ballet Vesa Tonova, whose jubilee – 25 years on stage will be celebrated on 23 March with the ballet Giselle.
- Since a little child I was dreaming to become a prima ballerina, to play Giselle and I played it still in the beginning of my creative career. That is why I would like to say to everybody: “Believe in your dreams!”
- Who directed you to ballet?
- My family is a family of musicians. My uncle Vasil Ivanov was deputy chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers. He observed me how I danced as a child and was convinced that I was going to become a ballerina. This was my wish too. I applied for the Ballet school, and at that time there was a great surge for it. Over 700 girls took part in the competition, and only 20 were chosen. I was among them. That was the first victory in my life.
- Do you remember your teachers at the Ballet school?
- My first teachers were Maria Tilinska, and after that up to 8 class – Natalia Tsoneva. I was taught also by Emilia Dragostinova and Rumen Rashev. With him I was working for some competitions.
- Later, at the Opera, who were the people who introduced you on the stage?
- Still as a student I was familiar to the artists of the ballet at the Opera. The first year at the theatre I was rehearsing under the vigilant eye of Pavlina Geleva, and after that also with Evgenia Krysteva. I played immediately solos in Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and The Nutcracker. I danced also in the ensemble and small parties. I was dancing everything. The choreographers understood that I had a quick thought and I was entering in the roles at once. Then Biser Deyanov said about me that with my great emotional intensity and agile thought I distinguished myself from all my coevals. This pushed me forwards to the big roles! I am thankful also to the pedagogues Evgenia Krysteva, Krasimira Koldamova, Luba Fominich who were all primas in our theatre. I was dancing long time with Yasen Valchanov, I am dancing also with Trifon Mitev, with whom we are friends and a harmonic pair.
- You mentioned that you love Giselle since a child. What attracts you to this ballet? And the other central roles which you perform?
- What I was dreaming of in my imagination of a child did happen! The role of Giselle contains much lyricism, depth, dramatic effect. I myself am Giselle. This is the role which my whole life has taught me to be a human, a personality, to be able to forgive even to people who hindered me on my way.
My other roles – in each of them there are features of mine, of my character, of my soul. That is why the spectators receive them with love. When you give from your heart, the feelings are reciprocal. For example the role of Kitri in Don Quixote is marvellous and relieving, but there is no drama in it. Kitri is as the wind, and I highly value the deep feelings, the lyrical and dramatic expressions.
I am always living my roles even in my personal life. Each spectacle is characteristic for a certain period of my existence.
- Does ballet take a part of your personal life?
- It takes not a part, but my whole time. When my son was little, and I couldn’t stay by him, I was taking him to the Opera. He was watching the rehearsals and knew, because I was telling him in his year, what each movement means. He understood the language of dance, of the entire Swan Lake. Now my child has an attitude towards the art of ballet. Children must be brought up since very little in love and respect to each kind of art. The parents must try to explain art to them. Otherwise will follow a total collapse of the culture of the coming generation and thence also of the state. This collapse is more terrible than the loss of the body defence. Bulgaria has been and is a state of the spirit and it must remain such for the young generation.
- When a ballerina must leave the stage and is this tragedy for her?
- Yes, there is a leaving of the stage. Nobody can be eternal in one theatre. Young generations are coming, with their own views on ballet and preferences for roles. But all of them must know about the artists who were before them. Not to start from scratch, because this speaks of low intellect and lack of culture. One theatre must have memory and it must be respected, to stand on a pedestal.
As for me, leaving the stage is still far and it is not a tragedy. I have strength, desire and resources to play more. Ballet for me is a philosophy and a way of thinking. I am dreaming to pass my experience to those who would seek for it.
I am thankful to destiny that it granted me great luck. I chanced on the golden period of ballet, when at the Opera were coming choreographers of genius from Bolshoi Theatre and from St. Petersburg. This tradition continues up to the present.