|ONE MORE TALENT OF RUSSIAN BALLET
There are charming sounds of music - Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Beethoven. “One, two, three… One, two three”. It is the lesson of classic dance in Brighton ballet school(BBT).
The slender girls, age of 8-10 years old, are gracefully doing their dance exercises.
“ I need your smile. I have to see your eyes! Feelings! More feelings!” The teacher, talented artist of Russian ballet Edouard Koushnarev, is talking to his youthful pupils.
”All students of this class are extremely talented; they are making enormous progress,” he is saying, and you feel how he is totally drawn into what he is doing. The teaching was his happy choice, because “Edouard loves children very much”, says the school’s director, Irene Roizin.
Koushnarev has a lot to give to the children! He was dancing for fifteen years on the
stages of famous theatres of the world. This is “Theatre of Classic Ballet” of Vronsky in Ukraine, where he was especially successful in genre dancing. Then - Spain, where he
was dancing under contract during two years in Barcelona, simultaneously taking lessons in the brilliance and passion of Spanish dance. Also, he was toured in India, Switzerland, France. And wherever he was, upholding very high the honour of Russian ballet, Edouard Koushnarev was constantly continuing to learn , enriching his mastery. He arrived in America as a dance-soloist of Ukraine Jewish theatre. But then he was noticed by Irene Roizin, who immediately invited him to teach in her school as an in-
structor. Irene wasn’t mistaken! The gifted dancer, whom she found, was also a born teacher. Maybe he was helped by his difficult childhood, where Edouard was raised by a very ill mother. Perhaps he needs to give children something very special that only belongs to him.
I was impressed equally by youthful ballerinas and their teacher of dancing, who has all the qualities of a wonderful ballet dancer, thoughtful pedagogue and, as his director
says about him - real toiler. ”It is my children, and I want to bring them up!” Edouard Koushnarev is saying almost fatherly, and you understand that he is young, but a very experienced and highly gifted pedagogue. To give the lessons of dancing is not enough for him. Really not! He needs to give his students something more - the lessons of genuine dramatic art, because any ballet dancer should be an artist first of all. Koushna-
rev understands that. Also, he is paying a great deal of attention to the musical educa-
tion. His children can explain, for example, what Beethoven wanted to say in his sym-
phony #7, or what kinds of musical expressions in Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake, distinguish the black swan from the whites ones. He is not only illustrates the picture of the dance itself, but the moves of the soul and mindset.
There, he is throwing up his hands… and it is clearly to everybody – that this an opened and generous Russian character. Then, the energetic moving down by one hand demonstrates the hidden passion of the Spanish personality. ” Remarkable teacher!”
I want to exclaim, but no way – there is going to be the lesson of dancing.
Koushnarev is teaching children to work wholeheartedly, but he himself is doing that squarely. Painters are saying, that a human face usually is composed of at least a few different faces. It is obvious that one of his faces is a face of toiler. But when he is
sitting on the floor, scrupulously, millimeter after millimeter, carefully putting the feet of the youthful ballerinas in the right positions, then he is a sculptor who is modeling the flight of dance’s motion. Every time we watch classic ballet, with all of its weightless flying about like butterflies, its ballerinas being easy tossed up by their partners, we never think and even never take a little guess, the price paid by all is very hard - perspiring physical training every day during weeks, months, years and at last all life.
Edouard brings me up to the wall with the hanging pictures done by his children. And the deep psychological analysis from them is beginning.” Does any mother or father know her or his child as well as this teacher?” Unlawful thoughts suddenly swept in my mind. He is concerned about everything that has any connection with his girls. He is emphasizing that all of them are real Americans, because they were born here. That means for him that they never saw real Russian dancing and their ears are hearing every day any music, but not Russian. That’s why he is making special efforts to fill in this gap.
Edouard Koushnarev’s children are making significant progress. They have already
danced in Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet Nutcracker, they were dancing on the stage of new Russian Theatre “Glory”, participating in the performance of the legendary country singer Ludmila Zikina, then – Carnegie Hall, another famous Russian singer Natasha Koroleva and at last – the presentation of famous fashion company Christian Dior and appearing many other important events/celebrations. Now some of Koushnarev’s former students have already been accepted into the school of the New York City Ballet, in school of Mark Twain for gifted children with artistic inclinations. Of course, not everyone of this children will replace worldwide famous Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Plisetskaya or Makarova, but other students, who are not so talented in dancing, for whom choreography will be not their professional skill, are receiving spiritual, physical and general artistic education, which will play an important role in their daily life, helping them to shape their harmonic personalities. Most likely, many of them will be able to understand the beautiful, to be kind, responsive, delicate members of our society with elegant gait and human soul, and, most essential, children who will be saved from the streets and unwanted influence.
Russian proverb says: “Good teacher is a compass for children’s future!” Reading the history of past immigration, we proudly can tell that immigration from former USSR presented to America not a few gifted people. Here is one more remarkable talent among them – artist, pedagogue and choreograph of Russian ballet Edouard Koushnarev.
Published : “Dancer” June 1998, my book “ The Revelation of a Russian Psychotherapist on the American Land” February 2002