Currently Principal Dancer with Staatsballett Berlin, Ksenia Ovsynick has performed on renowned stages across the world, won various awards and had numerous roles created on her. We caught up with her to find out more about her career so far.
What was your time at English National Ballet School like?
Coming to English National Ballet School was a time of huge change and learning in my life. Coming to a new country, learning a new culture and language was already a lot to experience. But on top of that being surrounded by an incredible dance scene, seeing new ways of how dance can be perceived and how ballet technique and performance can be approached as well as being exposed and connected to the backstage work of English National Ballet was incredibly formative and educative.
What is your favourite memory of being at English National Ballet School?
I loved learning about Anatomy, Benesh notation, Pilates, contemporary dance and Jazz (all things I hadn’t been exposed to before); getting coached by incredible dancers and coaches such as Viviana Durante (now Artistic Director), Agnes Oaks & Thomas Edur, and Antony Dowson (who was Artistic Director of the school at the time) to name a few.
But most of all I cherish the performance opportunities we had, as it is something I always lived for, and I really enjoyed the repertoire we did. I also got to perform Odette in Swan Lake, for my graduation, which when I was starting ballet I was told I would never be able to do.
Tell us a bit about your career to date and any highlights.
I’m current principal ballerina at Staatsballett Berlin, I joined there in 2016 after working for 8 years with English National Ballet. I got to perform my first principal role - Giselle - during my second year with English National Ballet, making Giselle one of the most special ballets for me.
I have been blessed to work with a lot choreographers throughout my career, including creating roles like Firebird by George Williamson, that brought me the UK National Dance Award for Outstanding Classical Performance and a nomination for Benois de la Dans award in Moscow. I have also worked and created with Nacho Duato, Alexei Ratmansky, Itzik Galili, Alexander Ekman, Richard Sigal and Yabin Wang among others. As well as this I have also performed in ballets by Kenneth Macmillan, John Cranko, Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Serge Lifar and more.
I have apparently performed on over 100 stages around the world to date, including iconic stages such as Bolshoi Theatre, Opera National de Paris Palais Garnier and at the Olympic Stadium for closing ceremony of London Olympics 2012.
I would say a career high is getting standing ovation in a fully packed theatre (wherever it is) comprises everything I work for. Hopefully it is something that is still be experienced many more times.
What is your favourite ballet to either watch or perform?
Always a tough question, as with beautiful productions and wonderful casts I enjoy watching any ballet, from Sleeping Beauty to the latest creation in NDT for example. Ballets like Onegin, Giselle or anything of Balanchine are welcome any time. For that matter I would happily perform them any time as well!
But in general, I tend to fall in love with every role I work on, so whatever the current ballet I’m working on becomes my favourite.
What advice would you give for our current students?
Take every criticism as an opportunity to improve. Only you know your full potential and it is up to your hard work to achieve it. Every person who gives you corrections helps you by showing that they think you can do more than you have just done and it’s one of the biggest compliments you can get. So just use it and make it work for you.
Photo: Ksenia Ovsynick in La Bayadère © by Yan Revazov