GETTING TO KNOW YOU - A SELF INTERVIEW: DARIA KLIMENTOVA BY DARIA KLIMENTOVA
14 July 2020
Foreword: Althea-Marie Edwards-Pennant
Daria Klimentova is a former lead principal dancer at English National Ballet, originally from Prague, Czech Republic; she trained as a gymnast before switching to ballet.
Daria is the founder of International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague, which invites international stars to teach students. After her retirement from dancing she joined the teaching staff at the Royal Ballet Upper School
© Daria Klimentova
DB: WHAT IS IN YOUR DANCE BAG?
DK: Teaching shoes from Bloch, black running trainers, flat shoes for my class, I still do ballet class when no one is watching I put pointe shoes on for fun, I would hide them in my bag :) A little calendar with my reminders, bigger Royal Ballet School calendar with all my teaching notes, headphones, iPad and lately computer and speakers. And of course teaching clothes.
DB: NAME THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT TEACH WITHOUT?
DK: I think my iPad. When I'm preparing my class I do it myself and film it on my iPad. I like to think if I forget the exercises I can always open the iPad and it will be there. But I don't remember if I've ever used it, it's there as my security.
© Amber Hunt
It is very important to do a good barre it prepares you for the rest of the class.
DB: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF BALLET CLASS?
DK: Barre! It's good to do it with pointe shoes on sometimes, it gives you extra strength for the centre. It's very important to do a good barre it prepares you for the rest of the class.
DB: WHAT IS IT LIKE TEACHING ONLINE?
DK: Very very difficult, you have to be in a studio to have the personal contact, not everybody understands what you mean when you just say the correction, you have to demonstrate, you have to maybe place the dancer into the correct position...
It's also slower online, someone loses connection and you have to wait for them to reconnect or they canot hear you or see you, in every class there is some issue. What is very good is that it takes me 3 seconds to go to my studio, from the kitchen to the living room :)). Normally I commute for 45 minutes to the Royal Ballet School
DB: YOUR FAVOURITE DANCE IDOL?
DK: I love Russian ballerinas, I love their port de bras. Natasha Osipova is very unpredictable and that is exciting to watch, it's never the same. Every show is different, she just goes for it.
DB: FAVOURITE ROLE THAT YOU DANCED PROFESSIONALLY?
DK: I loved Manon but for me it was always important who I danced with and that I got on with my partner. I think it does show on stage if you are enjoying dancing together,
DB: WHICH ROLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE DANCED?
DK: Sheherezad or Carmen, mainly because of the music.
DB: WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
DK: Dance every show like it is your last one and forget about what others think of your dancing. It's your life no one else's, a dancer's life is too short, go for it!
DB: FAVOURITE DANCE MOVIE?
DK: I don't have one, I like documentaries about dancers, real life stories.
DB: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE YOU GO ON STAGE?
DK: I always tapped on my teeth for good luck
© SIan Trenberth
© Daria Klimentov
© Pat Bromilow-Downing
DB: OUTSIDE OF DANCE. WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
DK: I'm interested in photography I love taking photos of dancer, I have had many exhibitions and am currently working on a photographic book. I started to learn the piano, I'm absolutely useless but I enjoy :)
Lately during the lockdown I have started to learn how to sew using a sewing machine.
DB: LASTLY, TELL US A ABOUT INTERNATIONAL BALLET MASTERCLASSES?
DK: I started Masterclasses 18 years ago. I wanted to bring international students and ballet stars to Prague. In those days nothing was happening there. I wanted to open up the ballet world for Czech dancers. I wanted all students to be inspired byt the dancing stars who come to coach them every year.
DB: ADAGE OR ALLEGRO?
DB: SKIRT OR SHORTS?
DB: TIGHTS OR LEGGINGS?
DB: MARK WITH YOU FEET OR HANDS?
LEGWARMERS OR TRACKPANTS?
© Daria Klimentova