The Inelligencer/ The Record
Tuesday, December 13, 1994
By Adrienne Redd

Teaching in the United States has given Dmitri Nechayev a perspective on the differences between the Russian and American schools of ballet.
In 1991, the 28-year-old dancer came to the United States with the Donetsk State Ballet Company, which dissolved after its arrival, leaving a handful of expatriates to patch together livelihoods by teaching and dancing throughout the Northeast.
Nechayev became a roving dance instructor, working six-and seven-day weeks, giving lessons at the Pennsylvania Dance Academy in Eastern, Dance Elite in Doylestown, and schools in Lansdale, Philadelphia and Scranton — plus performing as a guest dancer in regional theater.
His dance bill includes "The Nutcracker" at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside this weekend and the lead role of the wolf in a new ballet called "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" in May, also at the Keswick.

Delana Blore, director of Dance Elite which is staging the snow and teaches classic ballet, says that Nechayev's presence brings new vigor to the beloved 102-year old "Nutcracker" ballet.
This year's Keswick offering will feature all new choreography, sets and costumes, Blore adds. "The Nutcracker appeals to all ages," she said. "Children are fascinated with the initial party scene and everyone loves the grand pas do deu with the Sugar Plum and cavalier. It also adds to everyone's enjoyment that Tchaikovsky's music is so familiar."
Trained in St. Petersburg at the Vaganova Choreographic School, which is the academy for the Kirov Ballet, Nechayev was steeped in the rigorous style that produced great dancers such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, and Anna Pavlova and choreographers such as George Balanchine.
Ballet instruction is very different in Russia, says Nechayev.
There are less than 10 schools in all of Russia, but all are very large and very difficult.
Only the truly gifted are admitted.
In the United States, Nechayev points outs that anyone who can afford lessons can study dance. Another difference, he says, is the juxtaposition between discipline and expression in Russian and American ballet.
Dolly Haltzman, artistic director of the Repertory Dance Theatre Allentown for whose productions Nechayev has danced, explains that the Vaganova style of ballet is extremely structured. Each movement is deliberate, the effect being a rather taut, athletic performance.
Although trained at the vaganova, Balanchine departed from it to become the driving influence behind the fluidity and experimentation of American ballet.
In a very heavy Russian accent, Nechayev discusses his views on ballet during a break from teaching 11 and 12 year olds at the Pennsylvania Ballet School in Easton. "American legs and feet are influenced by sports and gymnastics," he says, "but American arms and hands are softer and more expressive (than typical Russian ballet dancers)."
Russian ballet, he says, is characterized by muscularity and precision of movement, and the exuberance of Russian folk dance that initially attracted him to . dance.
"It has a great deal of stomping and slapping," says the wiry dancer, with a grin. To demonstrate, he leaps effortlessly into the air, kicking out his legs and touching his extended feet, as they hover, six feet above the floor.
For Nechayev, teaching children and teen-agers has been a rewarding experience and a chance to blend his own background with the "exciting freedom" he has found here.
"I like the children and they make me happy when they understand me," says Nechayev of his broken English.
Several dance school directors with whom he has worked say that Nechayev is always trying to improve, trying to understand • how other professionals see dance.
Most interesting is Nechayev's own integration of Russian rigor and American feeling.

Dance career tips
Q: What advice would you offer to young people who want to pursue professional dance?
A: Work harder than you think you can.
Q: At what age should children begin to study?
A: It is not necessary to begin studying dance at the age of 3. In Russia, we start at 8 or 9. In America, some start at 3. They call it ballet, but it is not ballet when children are 3 years old. They are not ready for that.
Q: When is it too late to begin studying dance?
A: It depends on how talented you are. If you are older, it is harder to turn your bones and joints out, harder to get the same form, such as perfect second position. Some professional dancers have started as late as 15 or 16. If you want to dance for fun, it is never too late to start.
Q: How compatible are sports with studing dance?
A: Sports are more physical. Ballet is more like theater. You have to put feeling into your movements."
Q: What cultural background should a prefessional dancers have?
A: They should know classical music and I think they should know the history of ballet and of the theater."
Q: What does it take to become a prefessional dancer?
A: You have to have talent, but what is more important is that you need intelligence and motivation.
Q: How would you help a person decide whether to become a professional dancer?
A: It's a very hard job and if you become a professional dancer, you have to do the same thing every day. You have to stay inspired by it and not become bored by working so hard.

Where to catch ‘The Nutcracker' this season
Doylestown's Dance Elite will cast a holiday glow on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., at the Keswick Theatre, Eastern Road and Keswick Avenue, Glenside. Tickets are $15; $11 for children 12 and under. 572-7650.
Other performances of the seasonal favorite are: Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania will presents its 13th annual production of "The Nutcracker" ballet, Friday through Sunday, at Bucks County Community College in Newtown.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sundays in the library auditorium. On Saturday showtimes are 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from $12 to $18. As of Monday, all shows are sold out except Friday's 7:30 p.m. performance. Tickets/information: 348-7175.
The internationally acclaimed Donetsk Ballet from the Republic of the Ukraine will perform with a cast of more than 60, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the North Penn High School auditorium, Valley Forge Road, Lansdale.
The performance, co-sponsored by the Marlyn Abramson School of Dance in Lansdale, will feature Russian ballet stars Natali Tchekovskaya and Vasili Polushin. Tickets are $25; $17 for students. 1-800-931-9898.