The body cannot lie. You cannot be somebody else onstage, no matter how good of an actor or dancer or singer you are. When you open your arms, move your finger, the audience knows who you are, you know.
I was very restless. I really wanted to be a part of a kind of a progressive society. I was fed up with these Communist doctrines and you were hassled all the time with members of the Party committee who were KGB, what you have to do, where in the West you can go or not to go.
I found that dance, music, and literature is how I made sense of the world... it pushed me to think of things bigger than life's daily routines... to think beyond what is immediate or convenient.
No matter what I try to do or explore, my Kirov training, my expertise, and my background call me to return to dancing after all, because that's my real vocation, and I have to serve it.
You open a section of 'The New York Times,' and there's a review or a story on a choreographer or a dancer, and there's an informative, clear image of a dancer. This is, in my view, not an interesting photograph.
I like to go to anybody else's birthday, and if I'm invited I'm a good guest. But I never celebrate my birthdays. I really don't care.
To achieve some depth in your field requires a lot of sacrifices. Want to or not, you're thinking about what you're doing in life-in my case, dancing.
We lived, until I was 12 or so, in communal apartment with five different families and the same kitchen, in two little - my brother and me and my parents. It was hell, but it was a common thing. My father was not general or admiral, but he was colonel. He was teaching in military academy military topography.
I remember vividly seeing 'Tarzan' and Fred Astaire, the Chaplin films, Fred Astaire musicals, MGM, because of my mother. She was just interested in everything and she took me to opera and ballet, and then ballet got me hooked.
Soviet regime in a way deprived me from my childhood in my homeland, because my father was in military, and after the Yalta agreement he was sent to teach in military academy in Riga, and I was born then.
I fell in love with New York. It was like every human being, like any relationship. When I was a young New Yorker, it was one city. When I was a grown man, it was another city. I worked with many dance organizations and many wonderful people.
I've always said, 'I am a selector, I am not defector' - the first few phrases in English I learned. I said I hate 'defector'; something defective about the people. It's a bad word.
I think I got disappointed over the years about New York, about the States. You know, sometimes you go and visit Europe and see good old socialism in its good part! You see public concern about art, and young people's participation and young faces in the audience.
A country like Belgium, or socialist countries in central Europe spend more money on art education than the United States, which is a really puzzling thought.
My father was a Party member and he was a pretty high rank military officer under the colonel, junior colonel, I don't know the term. He was a total Stalinist. A bit with a streak of anti-Semitism and very shrewd man, a very kind of nervous man.
I cannot draw to save my life, and I'm not a big art scholar, but I worked with many designers throughout my career - in theater, in dance, costume designers, set designers, and I have a lot of artist friends and I do photography, and I think it's kind of in my life.
In opera tradition, when opera die-hard fans, there is a replacement of singer or singer wasn't at his or hers vocal best, doing something, they boo. Especially now that they pay hundreds of dollars for the ticket.
Everything I do, it's a bit painterly. I like being surrounded by objects, mostly on paper. I like the images. I like the painting. I like good photography. It's something that makes me an emotional connection, and I feel comfortable around it.
Film, theater and television always kind of scared me. I don't ever seriously think of myself as an actor at all, and I don't plan any film career or television career.