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Victor Caixeta: "People should watch my talent, not my passport"

Young Brazilian dancer Victor Caixeta joined the Mariinsky Ballet as a trainee in 2017 after the graduation from the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. During his time at the Mariinsky he has danced already some leading roles including Ali in “Le Corsaire” and The Nutcracker Prince. We have talked with Victor about his first days in Saint Petersburg, Russian winters, freedom, xenophobia and his plans for the future.

Can you share your memories about your first days in Russia? What surprised you most of all? Is it difficult to survive Russian cold winters and gloomy weather of Saint Petersburg?

I had a really good impression of Saint Petersburg when I first came to visit the company in July 2017. I was lucky to have the white nights and I was so impressed by how rich in art this city is, I’ve never seen something like that before! And yes, it was pretty hard to get used to winter, even nowadays, one and a half year later, I can say I don’t like it...

What was your first impression about the Mariinsky and its dancers?

I’ve always following the Mariinsky stars, and they’ve always been an inspiration for me, and when I arrived it was really exciting. I was lucky enough to stay between 2 amazing dancers in my first barre at the Mariinsky, they were Olesya Novikova and Xander Parish, and I will never forget that day!!!

Victor Caixeta in Le Corsaire, Photo by Natasha Razina © State Academic Mariinsky Theatre

What has changed in your opinion about Russia and the Mariinsky within the time? What are the bad and good traits of Russian people have you noticed?

I think everything was becoming more common, because when I got here, for a while it seemed like I was dreaming and I couldn’t believe I was dancing on the same stage as all my favorite dancers. Now it's already normal, and they respect me as I respect them. As for Russian people, before I came here, I heard many things saying that “Russians are cold” and all of this stuff but I’ve found a quite warm group of people in my circle of friends. I think the bad thing that I felt here is that some Russians can be very xenophobic, especially after I stepped into the spotlight, not only to me but to all of the foreigners. Sometimes I find forums of ballet fanatics in Russia, and some of them can be very aggressive and nonsense, but my family back in Brazil, even with all the financial issues, gave me the best education, so I don’t really take any of this critics to heart. I guess my hard work will speak for itself, and those who criticize me can be sure all the opportunities I’ve gotten so far, I worked to achieve them and deserved them.

Who is your couch at the theatre? What are the main advice he gives you? How does he describe characters you are supposed to dance? Does he have any peculiarities in teaching or daily life?

I have the honour to work with Gennady Naumovich Selyutsky! He gives me more than just advice, he cares about me as if I was his son. Our relationship is really funny, but still really respectful. He takes care about all the steps I do on stage, and also about acting, which for him is more important than any technique and tricks. He also takes care of what I eat and if I have a safe home to sleep! He calls me almost every night to see how I’m feeling after a long day of rehearsals and performances, and it repeats all days of the week (including my “day off”). I can never thank God enough for blessing me with such a pedagogue!

Is it true that dancers and teachers of the Mariinsky are really devoted to ballet to the point ballet became their life?

Yes, it’s true! Most dancers and teachers live just for the Theater. They don’t give much of their time to their family or friends, they spend all of their time working, but I guess with pleasure, like in my case!

Who are your favourite dancers of the Mariinsky? Why? Who is your favourite partner?

I have many dancers from Mariinsky that I love, but if I had to make a choice from those who are still dancing and haven’t retired, I would say Vladimir Shklyarov and Olesya Novikova, but if I could mention from other generations, my list could be infinite! Olesya and Vladimir, are the kind of dancers that put their personality into all the ballets they dance, they’re one in a million, that’s why they are my favorites. And if I can’t decide who my favorite partner is, as I di