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The Cools’ “Find Your Cool” series asks “passionate individuals what they’re all about.” Most recently, they met with Maria Kochetkova, a Moscow-born principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. Below is an excerpt of the interview, where Kochetkova talks about her personal style, which designer she would love to see design a costumes for her, and the most moving performance she’s seen on stage. To read the full article go HERE.
Text by Sofia Cavallo
Photos by Derrick Leung
Name: Maria “Masha” Kochetkova
Your Cool: Ballet dancing
Why is ballet dancing cool to you? People are their happiest when they find the right to express themselves. For me, it’s ballet. It’s just something I love to do.
What is a typical workday like for you? It depends on whether I have a performance at night or not. If I do, I have a morning class with the company and an easy rehearsal afterwards. Then, I’ll take some time to rest and concentrate for the evening show. If it’s not a performance day, I just work all day, sometimes without any break, from 10 o’clock in the morning to 6:30 in the evening. I can rehearse up to seven different ballets a day in very different styles.
Who are your favorite dancers or choreographers? In terms of dancers, I love Natalia Makarova and Sylvie Guillem. I also love Diaghilev and what he did with the Ballets Russes. He was known for collaborating with artists and designers; he asked Picasso to do his sets and Coco Chanel to design his costumes. As for choreographers, I love how Wayne McGregor takes risks and encourages you to try something different. It’s easy to do something that’s already proven to be successful. Nothing inspires me like seeing something new and unusual.
What’s the most moving performance you’ve ever seen? Seeing Onegin at the Royal Ballet in London completely changed my vision of dance. I was 18 or 19, and I remember sitting there and thinking, this is how I want people to feel when I dance. Another one was Sylvie Guillem’s contemporary program in London. It made me realize how powerful dance can be when it’s done the right way.
Your wardrobe is amazing. What do you like to wear when you’re not onstage? I like unusual patterns, bright colors, and mixing things that I probably shouldn’t. Because I have to wear tight clothes when I dance, I’ll never wear anything too tight, too short, or too girly outside of work. Enough of being princess or a fairy onstage!
Were you interested in clothing growing up? Growing up in Moscow, we didn’t have many fashion choices, so it was very hard to find anything interesting. My mum would make most of my clothes. She’d get very upset when I’d refuse to wear the dresses she made for me. I was just too shy to wear them.
If any designer could create a ballet costume for you, who would it be? I think Vivienne Westwood would do a great job––she has done tutus for her runway shows before. Or Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo.
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