The curtain is down, and the tutu is shed. Welcome to Post Curtain Chat! Let’s find out what these artists’ lives are like outside the theatre.
First up is Joshua Grant of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo. By day, he is a striking man with a flair for fashion and a taste for the occasional Stoli martini straight up with a twist. By night, however, he is known as “Katerina Bychkova,” a 6′ 4” ballerina who wows audiences around the globe with his precise pointe work and amazing extension. Let’s find out how this Trock likes to spend his downtime.
The Trocks are on the road roughly ten months out of the year. What personal items do you take with you to keep a sense of normalcy through it all?
I try to take as little as possible. Weight restrictions with flights are getting unbearable, and a lighter load is much easier to lug around. I find my life is much less stressful when I’m not trying to bring everything in my apartment. However, there is one thing I can’t leave on tour without. My MacBook is my life on the road. Email, Skype and Google Maps are my connections to home.
The company recently endured an extremely long bus ride from Bilbao, Spain to Budhapest, Hungary when “Eyjafjallajokull,” the Icelandic volcano, reared its ugly head. For long travel days, what do you do to keep yourself occupied?
My apartment… and not leave for at least 48 hours. Depending on the weather, I like to walk around the city. I do miss it when I’m gone. I’ve been to lots of places, but New York has a special vibe about it that can’t be found anywhere else.
You guys are wildly popular all over the world, but you especially have a huge following in Japan. I know you have a great appreciation for Japanese culture and food. How does the Japanese food in the states compare to that of Japan?
I’ve become a bit of a snob when it comes to Japanese food in the states. Once you’ve had sushi at the fish market in Tokyo, it’s hard to enjoy it as much anywhere else. In the states, I try to eat at Japanese restaurants that are run by Japanese, but I guess that’s a given for all nationalities of food. Also, the Japanese food in Japan is a little wilder. They eat a lot of things that we consider “weird” over here. For example, after a fish is eaten as sashimi, the rest of the fish (bones, scales, head, etc) is thrown in a pot and used to make a stock to be eaten with noodles after the meal. When served, the fish head is in the dish and there is usually a fight for who gets to eat the fish eyes. Yum!
Do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant in New York?
Totally. Shabu shabu is a style of Japanese food very similar to fondue, but with thinner meat cooked by water instead of oil. The vegetables cooked in the water create/flavour the broth. It’s very fresh and very healthy. There’s a restaurant called Shabu Shabu 70 on 70th between 1st and 2nd in the Upper East Side. It’s run by Osakans and always very tasty. It’s my little part of Japan in NYC.
Want to eat at Joshua’s favorite shabu-shabu restaurant? Click here
I had the opportunity to see your bi-annual performances at the Joyce Theatre, and I can’t wait to go back this winter. There was such great energy both onstage and in the audience. How does it feel, after so many performances on the road, to perform for New York audiences and sleep in your own bed once the performance is finished?
First of all, this is my home; this is where my friends are. It’s so wonderful to have people in the audience that you know who you can go grab a late dinner with in Chelsea. Also, the audiences in New York are full of fellow artists and balletomanes, and that’s always exciting. Knowing you’re performing for your peers adds a special energy. As far as returning to my own apartment, a hotel room is just as good a home to me as anything. I sometimes feel more at home walking through the hotel lobby knowing that I’ll return to a clean room and fresh sheets and towels.
Want to see Joshua and the rest of the Trocks perform at the Joyce from Dec 14 – Jan 2? Click here
Favorite place you’ve been in your world travels.
Tokyo, for sure. It’s the only city that has comparable energy to NYC. Other than there, I love going to Europe. Western Europe has an old world charm that is both romantic and beautiful. You feel so much history when walking down the streets. Bangkok felt incredibly different from anywhere I’ve been. I felt like I was in another world, like I was walking around in a bubble not understanding anything around me. It was interesting to see something so different. I love to travel and see the different cultures and people. It’s hard to pick one spot as my favourite, there are so many fascinating places out there.
It takes a lot of make up to transform Joshua Grant into “Katerina Bychkova.” How do you keep your face feeling fresh after performances?
Why yes it does. Layers, in fact.
I have an ancient Japanese secret that I use on my face. The geisha used to use it exclusively, and now in modern day it’s starting to become a bit more popular. It’s called uguisu no fun. Translated to nightingale droppings. Yep, bird poop. But don’t knock it…it’s amazing. It gently exfoliates, and the antioxidants are great for your skin. When used after washing with regular soap, my face feels toned and fresh.
Finally, we’ve heard a lot from Josh Grant. How does Katerina Bychkova spend her downtime?
She is a hard working ballerina and is in a constant ballet position. She cannot for a moment untie the ribbons of her pointe shoes nor can she step out of the tutu. Her downtime is spent watching ballet videos on YouTube of the old Russian ballerinas or studying the choreographic works of Petipa and Fokine.
She also loves ice cream.
Click here to see Katerina Bychkova and the Trocks in a special feature on Nightline.
Bio: Joshua Grant was born in Americus, Georgia. He received his training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and The Harid Conservatory. Prior to joining Ballet Trockadero in 2006, Joshua danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the National Ballet of Canada.
Katerina Bychkova is the author of Dance-Your-Way-to-Beauty Self-help Guide, The Bychkova Make Over. Her unforgettable portrayal was the title role in Godzilla in Tights-warmly remembered for the touching pas de deux with King Kong on top of the Empire State Building.
Bios from www.trockadero.org