Romani Gypsy web-journal
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I played a lot of roles in “Romen”, but comic characters are my favorite — much space for improvisation. The latest is Ortenzia in “The Cantiniere” and the first love is of course cunning Chanara in “The Mystery of the Blue Stone”.
Lera as a maiden Proshka in the performance “Dancer, a daughter of Gypsy tents”
Lera as a drunk matchmaker in the spectacle “Four fiancés”.
Lera as an old marquise in the spectacle “Gypsy Countess”. With Anatoly Titov.
I came to the theatre after graduating from The Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (my head teacher was Georgiy Zhemchuzhny). My parents say I showed artistic talent for the first time in childhood simulating illnesses when I wanted to be carried in arms, then to miss classes or pioneer meetings. Speaking seriously, I liked studying at the university and got diploma with honors.
I’m a native Muscovite. Unlike most members of the band I wasn’t born in a family of artistes, but we have been connected with Gypsy stage for a long time. My mother made concert dresses for many artistes and now she helps our new band.
I started my way in Romani art in children ensemble “Gilori”. It’s a pleasure to think that I was taught dancing by brilliant Ganga Batalova. People say if you see her once you will never forget her. Her plastique is amazing!
Naturally I participated in international festivals and toured abroad — but it’s not out of common now. Speaking about experience others don’t have I would put communication with Gypsies from compact settlements and camps on the first place. In Russia all Gypsies have roof over their head nowadays and nomadic life seems to be in the past. Nevertheless in 1990-ies Moscow was surrounded by camps — Gypsies from Moldova, Zakarpatye (Transcarpathia) and Tajikistan came here to work. I happened to make acquaintance with those families.
My colleagues from the theatre know nomadic life only from their grandmothers’ tales, but I saw it with my own eyes and it gave me a lot! Talking to people who cook on fire and live in polyethylene tents, listening to their songs and seeing folk dances makes you get a new angle on our tabor past.
In some way it influenced my first steps in literature. In 2008 I published a book of poems titled “Adadyves y Atasya” (“Today and Yesterday”). It includes poems in several Romani dialects and starts with pictures of nomadic life.
“Svenko” project is close to me because it gives an opportunity to revive real folklore traditions. I enjoy dancing barefoot like women in tabors did years ago (and like I saw myself they did in forests near Moscow). I want to bring back the art that fascinated Russian people for centuries. I designed tabor dresses that we wear during the first part of our concert (you can see them on the pages of this brochure) myself (according to archive photos). Management and advertising are my responsibilities too. I like working on videos and the site.