‘Mmmm, it was electrifying !’ Natalia Osipova on procure her perfect marriage

As the explosively powerful dancer constitutes the leaping into movie, she talks about feeling murderous and bruised by her latest toil and how cherishing her pups assists her perform

Natalia Osipova was stand in a queue at Moscow airport recently, waiting for her flight back to London, when she overheard a woman mention her appoint.” She was talking about the show ,” says Osipova, who had just finished performing The Mother, a contemporary dance drama.” The dame said,’ She could have danced another classical ballet. Why is she spending her occasion on this ?'” Osipova exhales.” I felt fairly vulnerable. Why am I not understood ?”

Some of her devotees might not be ready to accompany the Russian ballerina on her odyssey into experimental dance, but Osipova is an artist who cartels her inclinations: from her 2001 decision to walk out of one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies, the Bolshoi, in favour of a second-tier institution, the Mikhailovsky Theatre, to launching a parallel vocation in contemporary dance while still one of the top classical ballerinas.

Now a principal with the Royal Ballet, and boasting a nonstop freelance planned on the side, Osipova is a potent dancer of explosive jumps and drastic ferocity. Her passion and self-belief give the title to Force of Nature Natalia, a brand-new film by director Gerry Fox that follows Osipova as she rehearses for three sees: La Bayadere at the Royal Ballet; The Mother, Arthur Pita’s dark retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story; and a brand-new duo created with dancer and Osipova’s fiance Jason Kittelberger, more of whom later.

Osipova
Osipova with Vadim Muntagirov in La Bayadere. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/ The Guardian

We meet at her flat in Little Venice, London- smart modern decor and the feel of someone who’s not home much- where we are joined by an interpreter and two over-excited bird-dogs. Osipova, 33, is very straightforward , not starry or effusive- unlike when she gets on stagecoach, when she’ll propel herself towards dramatic extremes. The Mother, a two-hander based on the stark fable of the status of women urgently trying to save her dying baby, often leaves Osipova blooded and bruised from its physical floorwork and emotionally tested to reach the heart of the character.

” I’m not a father myself yet ,” she says,” so I was anxious that it wouldn’t be a realistic portrait because I don’t know what it’s like .” It’s same to how you feel about your pups, I “re told”, but hours a hundred.” It’s funny you prepare that comparing ,” she chuckles,” because when we got them, they were just puppies, 2 month old-time. And in such a way, my feeling about them fed into the part .”

We talk about how uncommon it is in dance to illustrate something other than romantic passion.” Traditionally in ballet ,” she says,” you are expressing love for a man and there are very few exceptions. In my profession, I are simply think of Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia .”( Premiered in 1967, Anastasia is about a woman who claimed responsibility for the daughter of tsar Nicholas II .)” In contemporary ,” Osipova contributes,” it’s different. Sometimes we speak just about physiology, virility …” She pauses and laughs.” But the men are always there somewhere !”

Bleak
Bleak narration … Osipova in The Mother at Gorky Moscow Art theatre. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/ Tass

Of course, two parties, two mass connecting, is something dance can express well. But Osipova is as interested in demonstrate the realities of relationships as well as the fairytale standards. Last time, in her self-curated program Pure Dance, she and Kittelberger played Roy Assaf’s Six Years Later, a portrait of a tired and tetchy relationship, in which, the noted New York Times critic Siobhan Burke, Kittelberger developed as an equal to the charismatic Osipova on stage.

Dancing with Kittelberger was a revelation for Osipova.” It was so, so very different to dancing with a classical dancer ,” she says.” It was like a real person, certainly stroking me, and “its like”,’ Mmmm !'” Her shining gazes widen with mischief at the recollection.” It was electrifying. He really showed me a different way of knowledge dance .”

Gerry Fox, who filmed the couple dancing in the studio, was talking about their” sensual friction, two people leaving their all through their bodies and being so free with one another “. Osipova has danced with numerous remarkable marriages, including former boyfriends Ivan Vasiliev and Sergei Polunin, but this was different.” So different ,” she says. The cinema receives them “workin on” a new creation, I’m Fine, about the ups and downs of a relationship.” The designation comes from me personally, when I’m bothered or enraged- saying’ I’m fine !’ when it’s clear I’m not .” Kittelberger composed the steps (” That’s not my strong point “) and Osipova was dramaturg.” I’m more sensitive to the story ,” she says.” I’m strong on interpretation. That’s the knack I have .”

Kittelberger provisions Osipova with essential support off theatre as well as on.” If I’m in an intense projection, I become more needy ,” she says.” I need more consolation, and if I don’t get it I become angry. I need a lot of attention, especially from souls- perhaps because my father had such a comforting, astonishing power. Jason truly gets it and gives me everything I need.

‘It
‘ It was like a real person, actually stroking me’ … Natalia Osipova and Jason Kittelberger in Six Years Later. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/ The Guardian

” He does picture a bit of the child in me, in a good way. I’m well aware of my own influence. Physically and emotionally, I’m a really strong being, in arts and in life. But there are times when you want to totally render it away and be helpless, and he’s somebody who can allow me to do that .”

As well as exploring her adventures in contemporary dance, Fox’s documentary discusses one of Osipova’s most feted classical characters: Giselle, the beautiful young boor girl who falls for a deceitful nobleman. “Giselle,” Osipova tells the camera at one point, “it’s me.” What did she make?” It’s the most natural percentage for me ,” she says.” The second deed is so close to me, as if I have it somewhere in my DNA .”

Osipova is not the ghostly feel of a wronged lady, as Giselle becomes in act two, but her entire physicality adjusts as she personifies the capacity- a more evocative, chilling and unhuman Giselle than any I’ve seen.” When I started dancing it, I was 19 or 20, and I was doing it in a exceedingly non-traditional way. My teachers would be telling me off, but I had such an inner certainty that it was impossible to knock it out of me .” Where does that confidence come from?” From my late connection to the part- and my quiet certainty that this is how it should be .”

When Osipova began her job at the Bolshoi, the director was Alexei Ratmansky,” who afforded quite a lot of impunity “. But when he was supplanted by Sergei Filin, Osipova located herself unhappy in Moscow, her possibilities curtailed. She’s content now at the Royal Ballet, a company with a healthier culture than most she has experienced.” The first time I came I was surprised there was no intrigue or conflict, and parties were nice to each other ,” she says.” It’s my fifth season now and I’ve had not a single conflict. Sometimes people say I only don’t get enough of the language to know !” She laughs.” But in other business, you can sense it, when people are spiteful, or don’t want you to be there, or they’re talking behind your back. I can’t work like that .”

Does something about the nature of ballet fellowships engender a dysfunctional flavor? Filin was the victim of an acid criticize orchestrated by a disgruntled dancer, and New York City Ballet has been rocked by accusations of harassment and corruption.” It all depends on who is leading, and what they be promoted what they cut off ,” says Osipova.” I can think of two situations when[ Royal Ballet director] Kevin O’Hare said,’ This is not happening ‘, otherwise something nasty might have started .”

Watch the trailer for Force of Nature Natalia on Vimeo

The pressure, the egoes, the intensity of a dancer’s life have certainly been blamed for more than one artistic outburst. Osipova’s ex, Polunin, is an example of this, with his recentmacho and fat-shaming tirades online. The contentious dancer had this to say about male dancers:” Girls now trying to take on the man role because you don’t f— them and because you are an embarrassment .” He likewise wrote:” Let’s slap fatty beings .”

Osipova has gone on record saying Polunin is a good guy who should be judged simply on his dancing. Why does she think he is so frequently self-destructive?” No one but him can answer your question ,” she says.” He’s clearly gifted, and I really wish that he encourages it rather than erodes it .”

Osipova seems able to harness all the drama and drive for her dancing and thinks she has another five years of performing at her crest.” At the moment, I feel very mature and capable, emotionally and physically ,” she says.” Contemporary dance is obligating my form feel and move differently. It’s a really good time for me now .”

* The Mother is at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 20 -2 2 June. Force of Nature Natalia is out now and will be broadcast on Sky Arts on 18 June.

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