Elena Lobsanova – Dancing On Air
For the past 18 years, The National Ballet of Canada has entertained audiences both young and old with the dreamy and poignant version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Christmas tale, The Nutcracker. Playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is ballerina Elena Lobsanova, who applauds the production’s diverse approach to the holidays. “It references Christmas through multiple traditions and cultures, and that’s why I think it comes back every year.”
City Life had the chance to speak to the ballerina on her day off to get a glimpse into the life of a professional dancer. While she admits that she doesn’t have much time away from her demanding schedule, when she does, she loves hitting some of the city’s coffee shops, including her favourite spot, Artisano Café, and spending time in the kitchen. She also loves to read, so much so that she just created a reading nook in her house. “I’m really interested in interior design and architecture books. I find that they actually relate to what I do in ballet, which is structure. Those things feed my creative energies,” she says.
Although a career in ballet was not something Lobsanova chose instinctively, ballet did draw her attention from a young age. “It moved me very much, but I always questioned how I could be moved by something so simple,” she confesses. And yet, these feelings inspired her to pursue the career. Born in Moscow, Russia, Lobsanova moved to Canada at the age of four. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, where she excelled but also faced some challenges that ultimately taught her how to survive the industry. “I felt like I had to adapt a lot, and that actually developed another skill for me, which was adapting to different types of techniques and styles.” In 2004 she joined The National Ballet of Canada and was promoted to First Soloist in 2011. Since then, her repertoire has included both title and leading roles in a variety of productions.
If there is one thing the art of ballet has taught Lobsanova about life, it is trust and the amount of depth it has to offer. Ballet’s timelessness also attracts her. “Ballet is something you can take with you anywhere you go.” For those who haven’t yet experienced the moving nature of a ballet from an audience’s perspective, Lobsanova encourages them to do so. “It’s so contrasting to everyday scenes of life. You’re not used to seeing someone move to music, so it is quite jarring at first, but if you see something done well [it’s going to appeal to you]. The morals of the stories we play also translate to anybody,” she says.
Lobsanova hopes to continue working with The National Ballet of Canada and also tour abroad. As for future aspirations, she would like to teach. “I love coaching. It’s a great feeling and you also learn from other people. I’d like to choreograph as well, but it’s kind of a sacred thing for me, so I’m waiting for the right moment.”