Elena Glurjidze is training young dancers in London and plans to open the new bouquet of dreams…
PHOTO: BESO UZNADZE TEXT BY: ANA SALDADZE / DAVID GIGAURI
Elena Glurjidze was born in Tbilisi, where she started training at the local School of Ballet. At the age of 10, she joined the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, following in the footsteps of the world’s most prominent ballerinas. In 2002, she joined the English National Ballet as the lead principal. She has performed lead roles in Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle and Manon, to name a few, and was voted "Best Female Dancer" in 2007 and in 2008. Currently, she is training at the Royal Ballet School to be a teacher and would like to coach other dancers. She is also looking forward to making international guest appearances and is keen to diversify from her existing repertoire and learn more modern ballets.
Afternoon. The city of London. Elena spends the whole day giving advice to young aspiring ballerinas on how to improve their technique. “Everything comes from skill,” she says. “In England and generally in the West, ballet schools teach children the wrong skills and it is very difficult to correct these later. Like every other field, it is important to give the proper base to a child. If base and skills are good, then anything is possible.”
In London and abroad, Elena Glurjidze is one of the best ambassadors of Georgia. “We are quite a small country, but one of talented people,” she says, adding that: “I wish the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre would open soon and young people could refine their skills and show off their talent.”
Before becoming the prima ballerina of the National Ballet of England, Elena Glurjidze studied in the Tbilisi Academy of Dance and Ballet, later graduating the St. Petersburg Ballet Academy named after Agrippina Vaganova. Vaganova’s method is world-famous as it helps to develop and refine a dancer’s physical and mental abilities. Discipline, purposefulness and ability to work are the basis for Vaganova’s methods. But they say that Agrippina Vaganova mostly praised the personality of a dancer, which could transform every demerit into a merit. Elene reckons that the Russian Ballet school in the best and considers herself lucky to have had classes with such distinguished teachers as those of the St. Petersburg Academy.
From the beginning of 2015 Elena is not the prima ballerina of the National Ballet of England and she made this decision, as she decided to pass her experience to young ballerinas and establish a Ballet and Art School in London; offering a place where children will be able not only to study dancing, but to become acquainted with art in general and broaden creativity, horizons, and deepen their personality. “To my mind, nowadays ballet lacks that creativity which is born after the reunion of different art forms,” Elena says.
Elena is very curious and shows interest in different themes. She is fond of arts and literature, and perhaps this explains why she performed the dying swan in the famous Lagerfeld dress in 2009 – a majestic dress of thousands of feathers made by the creative director of Chanel fashion house Karl Lagerfeld. “After this performance feathers became fashionable,” Elena laughs. From his side, Lagerfeld noted that Elena added a very modern vibe to the choreography of Mikhail Fokin.
Like the legendary impresario Diaghilev, Elena is also motivated to stage a modern ballet about the history of Coco Chanel and invite the best modern choreographers, composers and artists… But the real details have yet to be revealed!