if it’s handing out pointe shoes, locking doors at night or making weekly
schedules. So communication is very important. My door’s always open.
I’ve seen too many people who have been stuck in a place and slowly the
passion in them dies. Day by day by day. I’m really trying to make that not
happen the best I can. I’m not your usual director, I can tell you that.
I don’t look like a typical director. I don’t necessarily speak with people as
one. I believe respect is not some attitude you put on and then get. It comes
from honesty, openness. I don’t like to play games. I don’t hold a grudge. It’s
very important for me to hear what people think. Then, I’ll go, “Am I doing
something wrong?” And this is happening in a place where there was no
communication. It was run on fear and intimidation. So I’ve lost a few people
who can’t function without power. When I’m in charge, I can’t have people
What are your future plans for the company?
I’m in talks with people coming and creating on us. We have to have classics
and newer pieces and not go into one extreme. What I would really like is
that, when or if one day I am no longer in Romania, the place doesn’t go
back to what it was. I’m not saying my way is the right way. But I hope that
I will manage to leave a structure behind. I also hope that whoever comes
after me would realize that you should not let people say, “It is not possible
because this is Romania.” It might not be the easy way, but anything is
possible. What’s important is that you can make a difference. I’m certain that
if I’m asked to stay longer in Romania, I would. I love the city.
It’s a little bit like Cuba. You walk around and go, Wow, with a bit of paint—
and sometimes more than paint, unfortunately—this city could be one of the
most beautiful cities. The architecture is stunning.
Where do you live?
I’m renting a flat in central Bucharest. I’ve got a cockerel outside my window.
I’m bang in the middle of quite a big city, and there’s a cockerel outside my
window. It is fantastic. ■
Gia Kourlas writes on dance for The New York Times and other publications.