Up close with a ballerina from the Louisville Ballet
Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- Saturday night the curtain went up on the Louisville Ballet's rendition of Romeo and Juliet.
WDRB's Lindsay Allen sat down with the star of the show who tells us what convinced her to move from Siberia to the Bluegrass -- and how she balances her two most important roles: principal dancer and mom.
There are people in life who just seem to be born to do certain things. Watch her for one combination at the barre and you can see that Natalia Ashikhmina was born to be a ballerina.
Today the word ballerina is bounced around meaning anybody that's a dancer, well that's actually not true, there are maybe 10 ballerinas in the world today. Its the highest accolade we can give to a dancer and Natalia Ashikhmina is certainly a ballerina and certainly exceptional.
She auditioned for the Louisville Ballet in 2006 when she was eight months pregnant.
"There was this 8 months pregnant lady standing at the barre trying to be a dancer and she did the first 16 bars of the very first movement and I up and left the auditorium because I knew she was incredible," said Bruce Simpson, Louisville Ballet Artistic Director.
But her journey to the Bluegrass state, started in Siberia, Russia. As a young child she took ballet class in her village, and her raw talent could not be ignored.
"My teacher said to my mom you need to bring her to the professional level and go audition for the professional school," said Ashikhmina.
At 10-years-old, she went to train and live at the Novosibirsk Ballet Academy leaving her single mother and sister behind.For the next eight years breathed nothing but classical ballet.
"After I graduated I was invited to Moscow, Russian State Ballet and I started there as a principal dancer," said Ashikhmina.
After a 5 year tour with the Russian State Ballet Ashikmina wanted change and left Russia for Ballet International in Indianapolis.
She spoke no English.
"Maybe only thank you, hello," said Ashikhmina.
3 years later she auditioned in Louisville.
"Its a beautiful place to raise children and be able to balance my personal life, my family and my career. Louisville is the perfect place for me to hold it all," said Ashikhmina.
Today Natalia, her husband and her two children call Louisville home.
She says she uses inspiration from her 6 year old daughter when she plays Juliet.
"I often observe my daughter how she behave, she has that stage shyness," said Ashikhmina.
She says when she performs on stage she doesn't think about the steps, she focuses on becoming her character
"The most important thing is be a Juliet. Be it," said Ashikhmina.
When playing Juliet she hopes the audience will leave remembering what's its like to be hopelessly in love.
As she does what she loves.
"I am so happy and so lucky that I do for life what I love to do," said Ashikhmina.