Last week, we joined dancer and actor Oleg Ivenko’s for a ballet masterclass celebrating tomorrow’s release of The White Crow directed by Ralph Fiennes. Oleg, who plays a Russian top ballet dancer who is forced to seek asylum in France, introduced us to some basic steps and answered our burning questions in a Q&A afterwards. Here are five things we took away…
1. You can learn the basics in 45 minutes
Like any sport, ballet is built on its own rules. Perfecting them takes years of dedicated practise, but we discovered that you can actually learn the basics in less than 45 minutes. During our masterclass, Oleg showed us how to do the five key ballet positions, as well as pliés, tendus, élevés and ronds de jambe. Misty Copeland better watch out!
2. It’s not always as classical as you think
If you think the only music you can dance ballet to is a Tchaikovsky playlist, think again. In fact, Oleg likes dancing to Justin Timberlake’s most recent album!
3. Don’t limit yourself
Believe it or not: before being cast in the movie, Oleg didn’t speak any English and had never acted before. If that doesn’t show that anything is possible if you work hard for it, then what is?
4. Training for the movie was intense
Training for The White Crow took a whole year, during which Oleg was was still performing at his theatre in Kazan. He had to take both acting and English lessons and he confessed there were times when he felt overwhelmed by the intensity of it all and even stopped believing in himself. Luckily it didn’t last long and he pulled through.
5. We can expect big things from Oleg Ivenko
Following tomorrow’s release of The White Crow, Oleg wants to move to London and do some more acting in the coming years. So expect to be seeing him more and more on your screens…
The White Crow, by Ralph Fiennes. In cinemas in the UK on the 22nd of March, 2019