“Swan Lake was both my first and last performance”
28 August, 2015
“Swan Lake was both my first and last performance”
Several months ago, at London Coliseum, a farewell ceremony and a performance were held by English National Ballet for (and featuring) a famous Georgian ballerina Elene Glurjidze, who has decided to quit. It was precisely on that memorable evening that Georgian Journal contacted Elene to find out more about the radical step she has made, as well as its reasons and her future creative goals.

“As a professional dancer, I always wanted to leave when I was at my creative
peak. Such a step is hard for many to make, but I’ve longed for it.”

– I was a prima ballerina for 23 seasons. Out of these, I was a lead dancer for English National Ballet (ENB) for 14 years, performing main roles in almost the full repertoire of classic (and not only) ballet – Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Coppelia, Manon, Scheherazade, you name it. 23 years full of hard labor and immense physical and mental strain is a long enough period, I think.

As a professional dancer, I always wanted to leave when I was at my creative peak. Such a step is hard for many to make, but I’ve longed for it. However, leaving without treating your audience and especially your fans to a performance to remember you by is no way to do it.
It’s quite symbolic that Swan Lake was both my first and last performance in the ENB. In the ominous quiet of the audience, in the air itself there hung a great tension, a mute warning that one tiny spark would be enough for everything to explode. And explode it did: The audience gave me a storm of ovation once the performance was over, which lasted for 15 minutes. The stage was showered with flowers. I was gifted with a very emotional and beautiful moment.

“The audience gave me a storm of ovation once the performance was over, which lasted for 15 minutes. The stage was showered with flowers. I was gifted with a very emotional and beautiful moment.”

– Your departure from ENB has probably hurt a lot of your fans.

– I have met with my fans many times, and every time they asked me the same question: “You’re not planning to quit dancing, are you?” They promised to come and watch me perform anywhere, regardless of where the stage was. So I am not going to quit dancing, naturally, but it will not continue uninterrupted from now on and I will be in the capacity of a free performer. It is not at all necessary to be firmly affiliated with one concrete group.

“My plans for the near future are connected to Georgia - I plan to give open master classes in Tbilisi that will live up to the international standard”

– Could you shed some light on your future plans, then?

– I have many things planned in many fields of activity. I was offered to work as an instructor, which I like and am pretty good at. I have a diploma of a ballet mistress from the Royal Ballet School, after all. My plans for the near future are connected to Georgia, though. I plan to give open master classes in Tbilisi that will live up to the international standard. All Georgian artists and performers living abroad have a desire to put some important project into action in Georgia. We want to assist our country and our people in making their culture and history more known to the world. We have so many men of art in Georgia, and they did not just start emerging randomly over the last ten or twenty years – they are the fruit borne by a millennia-old culture!

– You are spending this year’s vacation in Georgia, as far as we know.

– Yes. I left Georgia when I was 12, and never managed to stay for a long time whenever I returned. Thanks to my Georgian husband, I have managed to preserve both my skill in Georgian and the tight connection to my homeland.

This summer, our entire family – me, my husband and our son visited Kazbegi. This was my first visit there, and I enjoyed it greatly. Amazing nature, clean air, nice hotels – it was paradise, plain and simple. We walked around Dariali Gorge as well as the nearby forests, and visited the Gergeti Cathedral. Beauty such as the one we saw there captivates everyone, regardless of where they’re from.

Performing in Marguerite and Armand
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