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Daria Klimentová on Juliet

Posted on June 11, 2014

006 dt june 2014

006 dt june-2014Daria Klimentová gives her farewell performances in English National Ballet’s run of Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Albert Hall, which opens on June 11. She speaks to Zoe Anderson about Juliet and about her partnership with Vadim Muntagirov.

Juliet is one of Klimentová’s favourite roles. She’s clearly drawn to dramatic ballets – Manon is another favourite. Earlier in her career, she danced Anna Karenina and Tatiana in Onegin. “But unfortunately I wasn’t ready for it! You know, you’re 21, you’re dancing Onegin… you have to grow into those roles. Even Juliet. It’s not true that if you are a 16-year-old dancer, you’re going to be the best Juliet. Exactly the opposite! Actually the older you get, the more you understand the story, the more you understand how Juliet felt. The more you can project it, for the people to believe you, that you are Juliet. For yourself as well.” She laughs. “So I think actually a forty-year-old Juliet is perfect! I wouldn’t go lower!”

At the Royal Albert Hall, Klimentová will be partnered by Vadim Muntagirov, who is returning from The Royal Ballet to dance at her farewell. In the past four years, they’ve established a radiant partnership, but Klimentová had doubts when she was first asked to dance with Muntagirov, 19 years her junior. “The first rehearsal was stressful,” Klimentová remembers. “I remember, we were on tour in Liverpool, in a little studio with [coach and former ballerina] Maina Gielgud. If you ask Vadim, he will say it was stressful. Even Maina was stressed, which normally she does not get!

“He was there on his own, playing with computer games – as usual! As he still does, for hours! There was this silence, I didn’t know what to say, he was really shy. But I just thought, ‘I have to do something, to relax him.’ So I went to him, I started talking, I said, ‘I’m Daria.’ Making it a joke, a little bit.

“I was trying to make him feel comfortable. Then we found out that we have absolutely the same sense of humour, the same schooling, the same movement. Eventually we found we wanted to achieve the same thing, without even discussing it. And that we can make the movements look the same without rehearsing or discussing it. Incredible. He became an unbelievable partner. I would ask for a few things here and there, he learned immediately, faster than you even said it.”

Young male dancers often take a while to develop their partnering skills. As Klimentová says, Muntagirov learned incredibly fast. Did they work on that together? “Yes, of course,” she says, “but it is the way you tell your partner. You have to make your partner feel good, then he’s going to give to you. I’ve been there for many years, I’ve discovered so much already, so we could skip all that, you know. That’s why it was so fast. He’s naturally a very good partner.

“I’m really experienced, I’ve done so many things with so many partners, so I kind of knew how I wanted to look. As the girl, you have to work in the pas de deux as well: you don’t just stand there. You have to go up and put yourself on the leg, not just passively hanging down, waiting for him to do it. He could feel that straight away – I don’t think he felt that with the young girls in school. He learned, he followed. He would tell me what he needs, too, later on. It’s good to communicate, and not to get upset – it’s the way you say it to each other.”

For more from this interview with Daria Klimentová, see our June issue.

Daria Klimentová is scheduled to dance Juliet on June 14, 19 and 22


Picture: June issue of Dancing Times. Photograph: Arnaud Stephenson



Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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