I started drawing from the cradle and devoted all my time to this exciting activity. When I turned five, my mother sewed a black leotard, a gauze skirt, and a broad white belt for me. She then took me to the balletstudio. It was a new experience, and I remember being excited and happy. It wasthe early seventies, and all ballet schools in the USSR were strictly for children who had the potential to become professional ballet dancers. Children had to pass specific physical criteria to attend a ballet studio. After several classes, a teacher said - 'The girl has weak legs.' I don't remember whether I was upset or not about my expulsion because a beautiful gift was waiting for meat home. My mother made a handmade "ballet album" for me. There were many gorgeous cut-out photographs of beautiful ballerinas and scenes from famous productions. But, most of all, I remember the portrait of the Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, her thin profile and bewitching pose in Swan Lake. Without a doubt, I immediately began drawing ballet, and this theme has remained with me forever.
Later, when I studied at the art school, we studied theatrical art, and one of the tasks was to create sketches of costumes for anopera production. I was working on The Snow Maiden opera by Rimsky-Korsakov. I studied the material on the history of theatrical costume, and since opera and ballet go side by side, my attention shifted to my favorite ballet. This theme fully immersed me. I would read and draw costumes all day. And at night, I would dream of enchanting performances, handsome men and beauties of Russian ballet, Mikhail and Vera Fokina in the costumes of Leon Bakst, and Diaghilev in a top hat and with a cane watching the performance from the auditorium.
A series of three paintings, Russian Seasons of Diaghilev*, was painted by me in 2009, on the 100th anniversary of the "Russian Seasons." The paintings are monochrome. White symbolizes purity, simplicity, and holiness, black is the great secret of art, and the combination of these two colors and concepts forms shades of gray, like a melody of harmony. In these works, I expressed my love for ballet and gratitude to those who let me get in touch with this beautiful miracle.
*Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev is one of the founders of the World of Art group, organizer of the Russian Seasons in Paris, and the Diaghilev Russian Ballet troupe and entrepreneur. He played one of the decisiveroles in popularizing Russian art in Europe and the world at the turn of the19th-20th century and "discovered" many talented ballet dancers, composers, and artists.