What did you do?
I entered with a management group that did not believe that just because
things used to be done like this, that this was how we should do it. So there
was a different energy and approach: How do we sell ballets? How do we
get people involved? How do we raise money? The people in charge don’t
want it the old way.
Also, I don’t have to work with a board of directors. I don’t have to ask
anybody else’s opinion. I’ve entered this room where I don’t need to polish
what’s already made. I almost consider it a blank canvas. It’s an extreme
freedom. The only limits I have are financial.
What are the challenges of limited resources?
It is a huge issue. Just a few months after I took over, the building went into
refurbishment. It’s still being refurbished. Things take time. [Laughs] For the
first almost-half year, the entire company would be changing in one room
with a piece of cloth separating girls and boys. There were no studios; there
was one room that had no sprung floor. And really, honestly, you don’t make
much money in Romania from being a dancer. People would be shocked.
Shocked. I can’t offer dancers much; what I can offer them is good rep. I
Did you have sprung floors installed?
opportunities. This is not a place where you have to sit and hold a spear
for years and years. I don’t believe in waiting until you’re certain someone’s
ready. Then it’s too late.
Yes. When I was staging La Sylphide, I was taking class daily, and I couldn’t
dance on those floors. It wasn’t just not strong, there were big holes. Now
we have Harlequin floors in all the studios. We have a masseuse now. What
we don’t have is a physio department. Alina has donated what I would call
the beginning of a gym. Some weights. At first, we didn’t even have an ice
machine. We had nothing. But then again, sometimes if you have everything,
then you don’t appreciate it.
Did you think about how you didn’t want to treat dancers?
Yeah. [Smiles] And this is where it’s tricky. Sometimes it’s not possible to
make things happen the way you would really like them to no matter how
hard you try. I think I knew more about how I would not want to do things.
The ballet department consists of me and two people; it doesn’t matter Tayl
“I almost consider it a blank
canvas. The only limits I have
are financial.”—JOHAN KOBBORG
A gala to raise awareness of the company this winter
included both Romanian dancers and stars from
around the world, such as Daniel Ulbricht, at left.