Post-Don Q, Katherine Barkman off to Russia
After her exhilarating debut as Kitri in the full-length Don Quixote, Ballet Manila principal dancer Katherine Barkman is headed to Russia to participate in the Chelyabinsk Festival to be held March 9 to 11 at the Chelyabinsk Theater of Opera and Ballet.
Barkman will perform the Don Quixote Grand Pas de Deux with Kremlin Ballet principal dancer Mikhail Martynyuk at the "Gala Concert by Invitation of Tatiana Predeyina" on March 11, as the concert’s finale.
Martynyuk personally chose Barkman to be his partner at the concert being held in his hometown. They had danced together for Barkman’s second full-length Kitri just last February 25.
“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to perform at the gala in Chelyabinsk with Misha. I had a blast with him onstage,” shares Barkman. “I really learn and grow a lot by dancing with such an esteemed and experienced artist. He has so much knowledge so I feel lucky to consider him a partner but also a mentor who I look up to as a young ballerina.”
Barkman is particularly excited about her forthcoming trip as she was trained by a Russian coach, Nadia Pavlenko, for several years in the United States. Her decision to join Ballet Manila in 2015 was largely influenced by the fact that BM adheres to the Russian Vaganova method, which BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde learned in St. Petersburg.
“It’s always been my dream to dance in Russia and I can’t even believe it’s really happening!” enthuses Barkman who can also speak Russian.
For the Chelyabinsk Festival, Barkman will also dance Ernest Mandap’s La Femme qui Voulait Parler avec le Vent (The Woman Who Wants to Talk to the Wind). She first danced this piece which was created on her, in BM’s recent Ballet & Ballads presentation in Laguna.
“I love the story behind the character of this dance. I really enjoy being able to explore my range of motion and freedom to move in the modern choreography. It’s abandonment and creativity at its finest,” says Barkman.
“I was so humbled to be able to work with Ernest to create this piece and I look forward to bringing it to audiences internationally,” she adds.
Macuja-Elizalde is elated that BM will be represented in the Russian event. “It means that we are spreading our wings in international concerts, going global and being ‘out there,’ getting international recognition for our artists and our work.”
She points out that Barkman will dance in the same theater that BM performed in as part of the company’s Russian tour in 2001.
The Chelyabinsk Festival will also feature artists of the Ballet of Chelyabinsk Theater, and students of the Choreographic School and Chelyabinsk Theater of Contemporary Dance under the artistic directorship of Olga Pona.