“Mariinsky Next Generation”: Victor Caixeta

Voci dell'Opera and me, Yulia Sumzina, are starting a new series of articles and interviews dedicated to the next generation of dancers of the Mariinsky theatre. We hope it will be a big project, interesting for the international audience. As an author of the idea, I can say that the main goal of “Mariinsky Next Generation” is to let ballet lovers discover something new about dancers and look at them not only from a professional point of view but also from a little bit more personal perspective.

The first person who has agreed to take part in this adventure is the soloist of the Mariinsky ballet, young Brazilian dancer Victor Caixeta. Despite being very busy while working hard on new roles, Victor found some time to meet me in a place near the Mariinsky theatre to talk about his career and life with a glass of lemonade. So, we have an exclusive interview for the “Mariinsky Next Generation” project.

Victor was born in Uberlandia, Brazil, and started his ballet studies at the age of 12. He participated and won prizes in such ballet competitions as The Youth America Grand Prix (New York, 2015, 2014, finalist), European Ballet Grand Prix (Vienna, 2017, first prize and jury award), the International Competition Tanzolymp (Berlin, 2017, 1st prize in the Classical Dance nomination), the XIII International Ballet Dancers and Choreographers’ Competition in Moscow (3rd prize, 2017). After the competition in Moscow, he was invited to the Mariinsky ballet company and since his second season in Saint-Petersburg, Victor has danced many of the leading roles, including the Nutcracker Prince (in two versions), Don Basilio (in "Don Quixote"), James (in "La Sylphide"), Romeo (in "Romeo and Juliet"), Prince Desire (in "Sleeping Beauty").

The first question is about your first steps in ballet. Was it your idea to start doing ballet?

It was not really planned. I was in school when the director from a ballet school came there to hold an audition. I didn't want to do it but everyone had to try. There was something like some stretching, etc., and I was actually the only one she picked. I didn't really understand what ballet was at that time... She asked my mom's telephone, called her, and mom went there to talk to her. Then my mom came home and said, "You will do ballet!" At first, I wanted to go just to see girls in ballet clothes, and when I started, it was not really serious, it was just some physical activity to me.

How old were you?

I was 12, quite late for it.

When you were a child, a teenager, who were your role models in ballet and who inspires you nowadays?

For sure, it was my first teacher Guiomar Boaventura because she changed my mind for everything, not just ballet, but for life. Ballet in Brazil is a kind of art... It's not just a hobby or something, it saves lives. For example, there were many really poor people in my school. They had no money for eating and she put them to ballet and then they got scholarships and went away. Now they help their families in Brazil. Or somebody was doing drugs and she helped these people. My family was never rich but I had a really good base, we were poor but educated and united, were always together. I had no problems with drugs or with anything like this. So... my first teacher always was my biggest inspiration and I always wanted to be someone – not just a good dancer but a good person like her. And nowadays, I think it's also my teachers. I don't have a dancer who inspires me because I think everyone is different, each dancer has their specialties, so I am myself, the other dancers are themselves. But I would say my teachers Gennady Selutsky and Viktor Baranov gave me everything that they had and I'm really grateful to this because I'm learning from the bests.

You were born very far from Russia, in Brazilian town Uberlandia... What does the word “home” mean to you now?

I actually had this conversation with my mom in summer... I don't feel home anywhere right now. I can say I'm a person of the world. I've never been to any place for a long time. I know that I won't be here forever and I will never go back to Brazil and live there, the world is big. Home for me is the place where love is, where my family is. The stage is also home.