OCA PEOPLE: GULNARA KAPANOVA

Gulnara is a stage movement researcher, professional ballerina – leading soloist of the Kazakhstan Opera House, master of arts (choreography), certified specialist in functional anatomy. Author of documentaries about classical ballet, founder of the “Gift” award for graduates of the Almaty Choreographic School named after Seleznev. Author of a number of scientific articles from the book “Modern Competencies of a Ballet Dancer”.

OCA: Tell us about yourself and your activity / work
GK: Up until recently, I was a leading solo ballet dancer at the State Opera House and now teach at the choreographic school and train dancers at the Academy of Arts. My professional life in the theatre and as a teacher coupled with personal experience, led to a desire to write a book on the mastery of ballet. Being on stage and working behind the scenes gave me a unique opportunity to capture in photographs and video, a professional ballet environment, and as commented by my journalist husband, produce an independent creative genre. Love for ballet is the basis of my creative life. And of course, the “Giving” award, which I have been presenting for ten years, to the most gifted graduates in our school, has a very special place in my heart. In my view, any means of increasing self-esteem and self-confidence is as valuable as any material support.

OCA: What is “Eurasianism” for you?
GK: For me, ‘Eurasianism’ is not only a geopolitical, but also a philosophical issue and from my perspective as someone associated with choreography, offers a sense of belonging to two great civilizations: settled and nomadic, western and eastern … It is something that finds expression across the board; from material things to appearance and mentality, and of course, dance. The intersections, collisions of these powerful cultural streams help us to rise upwards and by looking at the world beyond, identify commonalities whilst emphasizing something special in oneself and others. In a truly choreographic art, there are no countries and continents, nationalities and languages, where people understand each other without the use of words.

OCA: What are your favourite artists?
GK: Everyone has their guiding stars. For me, these are Olzhas Suleimenov with his famous aphorism “to elevate the steppe without lowering the mountains”, and Chingiz Aitmatov with his extremely “naked” prose. I so greatly admire the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. I consider Sylvia Guillem the greatest ballerina of our time for her astonishing ability to demonstrate the true spirit of dance, and cite my mentor Lyudmila Rudakova, as a role model of how to teach and communicate with students.

OCA: Have you taken part in the events of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London)?
GK: I participate in events organised by the Eurasian Creative Guild (London) whenever time allows. As one of the very few representatives of my profession, communicating with creative people is always an incentive for development and offers me an opportunity to expand my interests, knowledge and horizons. My husband and son are also members of the Guild, so together, we are a fully-fledged ‘Eurasian’ creative family!

OCA: What does the Eurasian Creative Guild mean to you, and how did it affect your
creativity / activity?
GK: As for me, the Eurasian Creative Guild, is primarily a means through which I can develop and expose my work on a completely new and different level. It enabled me to first publish my book as part of the Guild’s ‘academic’ series and then present it in London and Cambridge; something I never imagined would happen! It is just one example of how the organisation can offer creative people, especially those living so far away in Eurasia, the chance to realise their dreams. In ballet and opera, the audience expresses their appreciation of performers’ skills and dedication with exclamations of “bravo!” and following suit and with sincere thanks, I say: “Bravo, Eurasian Creative Guild!”

OCA: Do you have any personal project that you would like to talk about?
GK: My projects are related to choreography. Together with my husband and like-minded people, I have been nurturing the idea of creating an international choreographic portal: ‘Ballet Eurasia’. It is an ambitious project for which we have been collecting material for several years. I also have many plans related to photography and video projects that reveal the identity of the dancers in unexpected ways, and am considering the creation of special ballet gymnastics and distance- learning in a number of disciplines. I shall continue writing articles and books which I would love to translate into English and this year, with the help of the Guild, hope to publish the English translation of my book “Professional Competence of a Ballet Dancer”. In addition, I would love to participate in the festival of documentaries and photo exhibitions as part of the annual meetings of the Eurasian Creative Guild.

OCA: What would you advise the members of the Guild, who’re just starting their career?
GK: The Eurasian Creative Guild is a magical place where ABILITIES CONNECT WITH OPPORTUNITIES!

I would therefore advise creative newcomers not to spend their time in vain and instead, follow the road paved by Marat Akhmetzhanov – a great enthusiast and tireless traveller This path will lead to new horizons and help you find yourself. Just like the Ballet, the Guild can provide you with a magnificent stage on an international level, and what you show on it depends on you! Don’t miss your chance!