What’s On chats to Moscow City Ballet dancers Yulia Zhuravleva and Lilia Orechova ahead of their shows at Emirates Palace on Nov 23 to 25.

The Moscow City Ballet will bring high drama to the capital with its productions of two cherished classics this week. One of Russia’s largest touring ballet companies, the troupe will tell tales of love and loss with its enchanting productions of Giselle on November 23 and Sleeping Beauty on November 24 and 25 at Emirates Palace.

Yulia Zhuravleva, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty

Yulia Zhuravleva in Romeo and Juliet 3

My path to ballet started with rhythmic gymnastics when I was four years old. When I was ten I started at the Choreographic Institute (in Moscow), where I started to train professionally in classical dance.

I’ve travelled to many countries and visited many cities. Sometimes you find something beautiful, sometimes unexpected, and while it’s not easy choosing a favourite, I always love going back to Paris.

My favourite ballet is Romeo And Juliet. I love everything about it, the emotive music of Segey Prokofiev, unique choreography of Victor Smirnov-Golovanov and the timeless tragic story of two young lovers.

This will be the first time that I play Princess Aurora in the UAE. I’ve been rehearsing and preparing for a long time.

Every ballet is based on some story of love and betrayal, good and evil, life and death, conflict and reconciliation. All these themes are timeless and close to our hearts, so ballet will always be relevant.

Lilia Orechova, Giselle in Giselle

Lilia Orechova in Swan Lake2

I love travelling in the UK. I’m particularly fond of Richmond, Norwich and Nottingham because they still retain an old English atmosphere. I also like Italy; I wish we could go there more often.

Initially it was hard being away from home when touring. I try to look after myself health-wise and at the first opportunity I go out sightseeing. The applause and love of the spectators is the biggest reward of all.

I try to live my roles on stage, to become the person I’m depicting. I try to merge harmony with technical skill and touch the hearts of the audience.

My favourite part in Giselle is the madness scene. You need to live through the pain that this girl endured, it’s what makes this scene so powerful.

Classical ballet as an art form will live forever. I never get tired of watching ballet – each version, each performance is unique.

November 23 to 25
Emirates Palace, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, timings vary, Dhs150 to Dhs500. Tel: (04)3042340. Taxi: Emirates Palace. ticketmaster.ae