How I started to dance
I chose to dance at a very young age. It all started when my mom took me and my younger sister to see Giselle in Bucharest. I was eight. Giselle was wearing a blue dress. It was like seeing an angel. I had no clue about the story or who the ballerina was. What I knew is I wanted to do that. My parents decided we should study arts at school. I first studied piano, then started dancing ballet. My ballet class was my favourite moment in the week. It was my passion. I collected all articles I could find about ballet and created a file. I was also very impatient to wear pointe shoes. I used to have dreams at night of these pointe shoes, what they looked like. I even dreamt I was making pointe shoes out of normal shoes. Then, as the studio closed, I stopped dancing for a while. After a year, on a Sunday in a park where we went roller skating, we were given flyers about a new dance studio. I chased my mother until she called to register me. A teacher there convinced my parents I should go to a professional ballet school. I of course didn’t have all the knowledge the other students had at that age. I was twelve already. However, because of my passion, it never felt like a struggle. It was what I wanted. I had to do some extra hours, we all had to wake up very early. My first engagement was with the National Opera of Bucharest. When I was a student, I already danced in the corps de ballet. I was part of the company for 7 years. I left my country in 2016 due to a change of artistic director (when Johan Kobborg left) that triggered a drastic change of artistic vision. My position with the company at that point was First Soloist.
Stage performances memories
When I dance a piece it is very important for me to understand what lies behind the steps. With a simple hand gesture, you already say something and this meaning is important for me to grasp. A dear stage memory is when I danced in Frederick Ashton’s “Marguerite and Armand”. It is on a Liszt piano sonata. It is a tragic piece involving strong passions like love and jealousy and picturing death as the main female character dies of consumption at the end of the piece. I fell in love with the music first. When the opportunity came to perform the piece, I did not have a partner to dance it with. The artistic director therefore offered for me to dance with a first soloist from the Mariinsky Theatre, Xander Parish. I was extremely intimidated at first but the performance ended up being one of the most beautiful since I had started my career. I remember very clearly even now one of the pas-de-deux, which is a happy and carefree moment for both characters (“the White pas-de-deux”). When my partner lifted me up in the air, I felt an intense joy that made my whole body shiver. For this role, I was nominated for the best performance by the magazine Dance Europe. I loved Marguerite as a character and for what she embodies. She understands that love is what matters.
Another role I feel close to is the Sylph in “La Sylphide”. A few years back when I was still in Romania, I once dreamt I was dancing this role. A few months later, my name came up to learn the part. It is a role that one must explore from various angles. It is a both tricky and beautiful. The Sylph also is very connected with nature. She is spiritually higher than her lover, James. She is an ideal to him that he would never get to feel or touch. She says she has been watching and loving him since he was small and guarding his steps. In my eyes, she surely understands another level of love. She is wiser than him. She understands what love is, and that in the end that is all that matters. He is attracted to her ethereal way of being, her unreal beauty and also to the impossibility to hold her. This desire will make him lose her forever.
How I want my public to feel
I never saw dancing merely as an ambition. Of course, you have to be ambitious and disciplined but it is not only about that. Of course, technique is key. On the artistic side, dancing is a language of the soul. I am always trying to connect a role to my feelings and emotions. My accomplishment is when I feel the audience understand what I wanted to say. The measurement if I hit the right button is if I have these waves of shivers, goosebumps. Recently, as I danced a piece for the first time, Jiri Kylian’s “Symphony of psalms”, I ended up in tears. Getting into a piece of music and connect with a spiritual side can overwhelm me with emotions.
As a form of art, dancing should trigger emotions. The audience should be taken away from the “real life”, onto a journey to another dimension. Dancing should help find new paths towards beauty, sensitivity, humanity. We have achieved our best when people leave and say they really want to come again – when it gave joy to them and they feel motivated again. Touching the soul. When I dance, I want to express my soul language. I would like the soul of people who come to watch a performance to be changed. I wish they feel not fully the same when they leave the theater.
We as artists should never stop to look for more. Put on stage what we experienced in life adds magic powder to our dancing. Art should be more and more genuine and inspired from life. I get inspiration from so many things. I get inspiration from the smallest and simplest things! I love nature. For instance I can use the emotions I experience in nature when preparing for a role. Then, love in all its shapes is my biggest source of inspiration.
Marina Minoiu dances with the Royal Danish Ballet