Gantsooj Otgonbyamba, principle dancer of the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, HWC, is one of the most talented and well trained ballet dancers representing Mongolian Ballet on world stage audiences. For his 10th anniversary with the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet as principal dancer, he stages inspirational revised version of Adolpho Adam’s Giselle.
In his performance he invited his school mate Lauretta Summerscales, First Soloist at the English Naitonal Ballet. Lauretta landed in Mongolia just few days ago and directly went to rehearsals of the ballet with Mongolian dancers.
We had a pleasure to meeting with her during her busy schedule of rehearsals at the Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet for her upcoming performance as Giselle to be staged on June 12.
Lauretta has been dancing since the age of 3 and joined the English National Ballet in 2009 and became First Soloist in 2013. Her career highlights were being invited to join English National Ballet and dancing the leading role of Myrtha, Queen of the Willis in Giselle at the London Coliseum in January 2010. Below is the brief interview.
Your impressions of coming in Mongolia?
- Yesterday was a bit hard as I was jetlagged. But today is being good as things are being non-stop.
How did you meet Gantsooj?
- We both went to English National Ballet School together. He came in my second year and he was the year above me. I don’t remember him being there for long. I think it might have been six months. We did The Sleeping Beauty together for school. That is where I met him first. And it has been six years since we last saw each other.
Have you been in touch with him throughout these years or he just approached you recently?
- He just approached me recently. We are on Facebook so I see what he is doing. He was the one who contacted me through Facebook saying can you come to Mongolia. I thought he just wanted me to come see Mongolia I didn’t realized he meant to dance. I said I cannot, I am working and I just cannot come to Mongolia. Then he explained more about what he wanted and I needed to ask my director if I could come.
I was really shocked, I thought my director would say ‘no’, because I will be away for whole week and she has said no to quite few things recently. I think just the timing was good and I was really shocked when she said ‘yes’. I was really excited, because I had prepared for ‘no’ and I was in China when I found out about Giselle. It was like present.
You started rehearsals just after you landed in Mongolia. How do you evaluate skills and techniques of Mongolian dancers?
- In class is the best. You can see different styles and different techniques. It is very similar to England. We have same ballet steps. It is just there is no room for big jumps the studio rooms are quite small.
How do you feel about dancing with Mongolian dancers and performing for the Mongolian audience?
- I feel excited, but I am nervous as well. I don’t know the audience will react. The dancers are lovely and they are very good to me. I feel a lot support which is really nice, because this is the first time so far being away from home doing another ballet. Today is the first time when I can feel it through, as yesterday I was bit tired after long flight. Today is like the adrenaline is going and you have the butterflies. But at the same time I want to do a good show.
What are your expectations from this performance of Giselle?
- I want to explore something I haven’t explored before. Experience the different emotions and I just hope I can be free on stage and I hope that Mongolian audience enjoys it and I don’t disappoint them.
You said that your favourite role was Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. Are you playing as Giselle for the first time?
- I had a chance to play in Giselle, but because I had just joined the company I did Mirtha, queen on the Wilis. That was five years ago and since then at the company we never did Giselle again. This is the first time for me to play as Giselle. I am very excited, because this is my first and I am exploring it, as here there is different repertoire. Although the solo is same the acting is different, we have different mime.
Have you had time to do research on Mongolia?
- I really like art, so I wanted to know what were the traditional clothes, what were the traditions many years ago. I looked more into those kinds of things and I actually do not know about today’s society.
Do you see this trip as good one?
- Definitely yes. I think this brilliant as I get to see another country and also see other ways how people dance and how they work. Also to explore myself as well without the pressure of my own staff, I can do what I want.
Few words about Gantsooj and do you feel confident to be dancing with him on Mongolian stage?
- Very funny guy. He has improved so much since I last saw him at school. He loves what he is doing here, he loves the country. He is doing much better now than before, his jumps, his elevation. I feel confident to be dancing with him. He is brilliant.
Thank you and wishing you good luck.
-Thank you .
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