'Privilege' dancing as the black swan

Nadia Yanowsky
Nadia Yanowsky
Royal New Zealand Ballet principal dancer Nadia Yanowsky performs as the black swan in Mario Radacovsky’s Black Swan, White Swan. It is a privilege to dance, she tells Rebecca Fox.

Nadia Yanowsky hesitates when asked to compare the classical Swan Lake with Mario Radacovsky's Black Swan, White Swan.

''It's very different to the classical version, but both at their hearts are a love story. It is much like life experience, whereas Swan Lake is more like a fairytale.''

Yanowsky is relishing the challenges her role at the Royal New Zealand Ballet is providing.

Spanish-born and raised by ballet dancer parents, Yanowsky first came to the RNZB on a break from the Dutch National Ballet to perform at the invitation of artistic director Patricia Barker as a guest soloist for 2017's In the Middle Somewhat Elevated by William Forsyth.

''This was my first offer and I always wanted to go to New Zealand. I thought I'd go for a few shows, see how it feels to be there. An adventure.''

She then returned in 2018 to play Ada in The Piano and other roles before she decided to accept an invitation to join the company.

''I decided to resign. I wanted to experience the feel of another company. I wanted a change and the last thing I will do in my career, to still feel good, be fulfilled.''

In Black Swan, White Swan, Yanowsky plays the black swan ''his wife''.

''It's a beautiful story for me to interpret because it is about his experience in life. It's a true story so it makes it very special to be able to translate to the audience what he wants to tell.

''I love it because it is very different from the first act to the second act.''

The turbulent relationship between Siegfried, whose grasp on reality is slipping, and his wife, as Von Rothbard manipulates the pair, creates challenges.

''It's quite an experience acting like everything is fine while he is acting weird to you and then in those moments you have to change your personality.''

Yanowsky said Black Swan, White Swan was a particularly difficult ballet as it required the dancers to use classical technique based on modern movements.

''It's very pretty; you are still able to use your technique and it's quite a challenge the way he [choreographer Mario Radacovsky] wants you to move with your body.''

She enjoyed working on a piece that was different to Swan Lake.

''It's a privilege to be involved in a way that is different to the classical version.''

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