LIZA MIRONOVA ON THE ART OF BEING A PROFESSIONAL BALLERINA AND ENTREPRENEUR
She danced on stages in the biggest theaters all over the world and recently launched her first independent project called "Ballet Body". In this interview, a professional ballerina, entrepreneur and just an inspiring woman Liza Mironova told us about her career path, vision, and things she loves.
What individual has had the greatest influence on you?
My biggest influencer is my mother (Victoria Mironova) She is my superhero. A ballerina, brilliant teacher, successful businesswoman, and loving mother. She sets the bar high for me, and her achievements motivate me. She came to Canada as an immigrant with two kids, with a dream to build a school for aspiring ballerinas, today she owns one of the largest and most successful schools in Toronto(VIBA). I, along with many other dancers, and students, owe much of my success to her, and it almost conditions me to do even greater things.
Also, many teachers I had the pleasure working with throughout my career. Their dedication to this art is inspiring.
What are some challenging aspects of having a career in ballet?
It is a very physically and emotionally demanding profession. You wouldn’t believe the work that goes into making something look completely effortless. Working in the theatre has many hardships, touring, the unbelievable hours in rehearsals, not enough downtime, injuries. But it is always worth it. Also, the constant need to be 100% on your form, you are always mindful of this, so many times artists of ballet work throughout their vacation time. Sometimes the lack of freedom ( when working for a company).
Do you have pre-performance rituals?
I always need to feel myself of stage before curtain call. I always space out my performance on stage, say a small prayer, deep breath and go!
Can you describe your experience when you first stepped out on the stage of a big theatre?
I’ve danced on some incredible platforms worldwide. My most prominent memory (so far) is dancing on the historical stage of Bolshoi Theatre. It was a huge responsibility and a great honor. I remember taking in that day entirely. It was a day before my 20th birthday, we were dancing Swan Lake. I knew I wouldn’t let my nerves get the best of me, as soon as I stepped on stage the energy was electric. I really lived it.
What is your philosophy towards work?
In work I tend to be a maximalist, I’ve gotta have it all, and now! Sometimes this works against me, as I’m not very patient, and preparing a new role takes time. But that's part of my character, this trait pushes me to my limits. I’m thankful for my fiancé (Kirill Lordski) , who is also my partner on stage, he is very centered, collected and optimistic. In work we are different, and it works.
How do you cope with such an intense schedule?
From experience, I’ve learned that there needs to be a healthy balance between work and play. An over exhausted artist cannot, and should not be expected to perform at his/her peak. In a company/theatre, this balance often doesn’t exist, which is why it’s important to know how to recollect yourself during a busy season. This is individual for each artist, some knit, others cook, some do pilates. Personally, getting fresh air, cooking a nice meal at the end of the day, cuddles with my dog, all that keeps me in check. Traveling is something my fiancé and I live for, so when work permits we hop on a plane!
Speaking of cooking, what do ballerinas eat? And really... Do they eat?
YES. Ballerinas eat VERY well (or should). Every dancer knows the importance of nutrition, it's our fuel. A dancer is NOT supposed to be stick thin, a ballerina is required to look aesthetically pleasing on stage, being strong is part of that!! “Diet" is not a word in my vocabulary, I rather use the term “lifestyle”. Just as a professional athlete, it's vital what goes into our nutritional choices. This is individual for every dancer out there, just like every person. Personally, I found that a mostly plant-based lifestyle works best for me. With the exception of fish, I stay away from animal-derived products. Again, this is something that I’ve found works best for me! Balance and an adequate mindset is the key to happiness and health.
Having a career in ballet is such an extravagant path one could take. When do you really become a pro? Is there a clear distinction between a professional and a “ballet enthusiast” so to say?
In my opinion yes, there are some very important factors that give you the right to call yourself a pro. As you can imagine, before you get to call yourself a professional artist of ballet you must finish the appropriate education process. It takes 8 years of learning, discipline, and hard work (beginning at a young age) for the chance to perform the art professionally. An incredible amount of commitment goes into finishing your education in ballet, and many don’t make it to this point. But it’s really when you sign your first contract with a theatre/company when all that you’ve acquired is put to the test, and you begin your journey as a professional. Establishing yourself in a theatre environment, countless performances on stage, working and learning alongside other professionals, all that is a crucial experience for the making of a true artist. Any worthy theatre or company will first ask you about where you finished your education? Where have you danced? Any worthy academy will ask where you have received your teaching diploma, before hiring you for a position.
You are in Toronto now, what are your plans?
Yes! I'm very glad to be here! I came home from Moscow to treat an injury, and stayed because I realized how much I needed some freedom! Moscow is an exceptional city, I absolutely love it! But, I never saw it as somewhere I’d stay forever. There are many things I want to do in my life, many revolved around ballet, and in Toronto, I feel the possibility of getting it done. We have just wrapped up our season at Victoria Ballet Company, a few days ago we received our contract for next season, and it’s looking to be the most exciting yet! Along with that, I have just launched my first independent project “Ballet Body”, a ballet-based fitness program. My goal is to bring ballet to the masses, I’d like fitness enthusiasts to explore and understand all that ballet has to offer for a desirable body and healthy mind. The programs my team and I have designed are based on our extensive experience and knowledge in the field, and there’s nobody more qualified to run this program.
How does it feel to be your own boss? Are you set for victory with this project?
I feel very comfortable as a leader, always have. I’m lucky to have an amazing team of people by my side. Creative, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. I do my best to make sure my team and clients feel appreciated and encouraged. I also have an incredible support system - my family. Of course, we are set for victory, I know we will go above and beyond. But this is just the beginning, we are very focused and determined. It’s a bit intimidating starting your own business, but I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge.
Finish the sentence. "Never stop…"
Exploring, learning, working on yourself