I decided that Vladimir Derevianko was the ideal dancer for the role of Egon Schiele when I saw him...in a photograph! Strange as it may seem, a photo can say a lot about a dancer: one can sense what his personality is from a photograph, even smell the fragrance of his interpretation.
Derevianko had the perfect phsyique for Egon Schiele. He didn't actually look like him, but that didn't matter. He had something inside, a sort of inner malaise, which made him resemble the Viennese painter.
When I started working with Vladimir, I was initially a bit scared. I knew that he was a star of the Bolshoy and that he had a brilliant technique, so I was afraid that he was going to take on this role with a dose of self-importance. Instead, I realised that Vladimir is an artist who is continually challenging himself. He faces his roles with humility, he modulates his technique according to what the role requires, he avoids doing what instead a lot of his colleagues do, that is to "bend" the role to suit their own techniques.
You would think that Vladimir had studied with Stanislavsky who used to say that it is the interpreter who "creates" the role. In "Egonie" Vladimir really was Egon. He opened himself completely and gave the part everything he had. I can say that he brought Egon Schiele to life, that he gave the role its vital sap, he gave himself entirely to it, without qualms, without holding anything back. He enriched the part and he too was enriched by it. The more you give the character that you interpret, the more it gives you in return.
Vladimir believes fully in what he does and that is why he is always so convincing. In "Egonie" he succeeded in conveying the conflict that characterised Schiele's life, for the simple reason that Derevianko himself is a dancer in whom strong contrasts co-exist. He brought his own inner conflicts to Egon Schiele's and that is why he was able to give such a memorable rendering of this character.