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An Intimate Interview With Paris Opera Ballet Dancer, Sarah Kora Dayanova

French romanticism took centre stage at the Singapore Esplanade’s Theatres on the Bay when it hosted the renowned Paris Opera Ballet recently. Between June 21- 23, the performing arts center (dubbed “The Durian” by locals) welcomed the 300 year old repertory company in its halls to perform one of its most celebrated works. For the occasion, So Chic met and interviewed Sarah Kora Dayanova, a French ballerina who is touring the region with the company this June.

Have you always wondered about the backstage stories of the famous Parisian ballet, or what is the daily life of a dancer at the Paris Opera? Learn more in this exclusive interview :

Hello Sarah! Please introduce yourself to our So Chic readers.

I was born in Geneva into a family of artists, I was lucky enough to have a multidisciplinary background from a very young age: Dance, Drama, Piano, Music Analysis…

At the age of 14, I moved to Paris to go to the Paris Opera Dance School, it was an incredible meeting with Elvire Braunschweig, founder of the famous Prix de Lausanne, that allowed me to realize this dream.

My career path was then a little different from the other students, after two years at the dance school, I resigned and preferred to fly on my own, supported by Noëlla Pontois, Atillio Labis, Monique Loudieres and Dominique Kalfouni.

During the following year, they prepared me for the Concours Internationaux de Danse where I won several medals.

This season will end with my tenure at the Corps de Ballet of the Paris Opera, with whom I have been since 2001. I was promoted to Choryphée at the age of 20 and then Sujet at the age of 22.

I was born in Geneva into a family of artists.
Sarah Kora Dayanova

What are the personal challenges you have had to face to perform in such a renowned company?

The challenges are daily and numerous, both physical and psychological. The constant questioning, doubts, hopes or disappointments have allowed me to surpass myself as I have approached a dance that allows me to express myself fully with my soul.

What drives you to constantly improve?

I think it is my quest for perfection, free movement and beauty of the gesture. I have the desire to go beyond my limits, to shape my body so that it fits perfectly into the choreography and to feel the freedom that is achieved on stage.

How is the preparation of a ballet organized?

It depends on what we have. If it is a classical or contemporary ballet from the Répertoire of the Paris Opera, the preparation time is a little shorter than a Creation where everything has to be composed so it takes more time.

Do you have a behind-the-scenes anecdote to tell us?

When I was 8, during a trip to Paris, I was walking in front of the Palais Garnier and I told my mother, “Mom, one day I will dance there!’’ Sometimes I think of that little girl who gave everything to make it happen.

Mom, one day I will dance at the Palais Garnier!

Do you have a special diet or days of strict diet?

I was on a daily diet for a long time to restrict myself but today I eat everything and in a balanced way. I am vegan, so my diet is in accordance with a way of life that is close to my heart: ethics, protection of animals and the planet. I believe it is important to quickly realize that our planet is suffering and that everyone can contribute to try and preserve it.

Do you have any advice for young dancers?

Take care of your bodies!

What do you want to see during your stay in Singapore?

I hope to have time to visit the Botanic Gardens

How do you approach the Asian audience?

Normally and true to myself! I go back on stage after 2 years without dancing, it’s a challenge!

What are your plans for the future?

I had a serious accident that resulted in three major operations. I have now a total hip replacement that has challenged my whole life.

Today, I do everything to find a level that is acceptable for me because I am very demanding and perfectionist but I have also learned to listen to my body!

I have learned to listen to my body
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