The Man Who Conquers The World With Ballet – Interview with Leo Mujic

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, I happened to find myself sitting in the office of Győri Ballet waiting for one of the most acknowledged ballet dancers and choreographers of our days. He is Leo Mujic, who started his international career from Belgrade and now he is currently working with the team of Győri Ballet.

When did you decide that you want to be a professional ballet dancer?

Well, you do not decide to become a professional ballet dancer. This is a chance which is given to the people who are able to do this job. I wanted to dance. I started with folk dance, but it was not challenging enough, so I tried classical ballet, which I found ‘super-difficult’ and at the same time interesting. What kept me inside are the beauty and the curse of this job: it is always possible to become better and to do it better. So here I am, still doing it.

What was your family’s reaction to your choice?

My family is more interested in the scientific world. It’s a very different field, but when I said that I wanted to dance not only as a hobby, but also as my job, I wasn’t offended at all. What’s more, I think I was extremely lucky with my parents. I believe that the two most important factors of good education are separation potential which means that you give your child the potential to move out, to go, to separate, and the green light that you give to your kid, in a sense that you allow your kid to do what she/he chooses to do.

Have you seen the Black Swan? (ed. movie about a ballet dancer, starring with Natalie Portman)

Unfortunately, yes. You know, the fact is that there is no actor who can dance as good as a dancer can act. It’s pathetic that the ballet needed Hollywood to become famous.

Does it depict a stereotypical picture?

About anorexic girl? Yes, a little bit. It’s over the top. We are not so crazy, for God’s sake.

What do you think about the general stereotypes around becoming and being a ballet dancer? You know that it is painful…

It IS painful. But it’s some kind of reality that you accept when you are little. And what’s also part of the reality is that you accept that it won’t last in your whole life.

Have you ever thought about giving it up?

No. Absolutely not. It’s my choice, and I stand behind my choices.

Do you believe in perfection?

Absolutely, that’s why I’m in this business.

Have you ever felt perfection on stage?

Yes, two times.

What was it like?

It was amazing.

I do believe working on the stage. I like to work on the stage. I do not take it as art, I take it as crafting. I don’t think ballet changes the world; it just makes the world more beautiful. We should stop thinking that art and dance is there, because people need them. People don’t need ballet; people need doctors and pilots, so we had better find the way to do very good our job to prove our existence.

I have read that you performed works of many renowned choreographers and you also worked with some of them, whom would you like to mention?

I really appreciate the work of Mr. William Forshyte, Mr. Jiri Kylian, Mr. Matz Ek, Mr. Nacho Duato.

I know that you travel a lot, where do you feel home?

They used to teach us that you feel good at home. Where I feel good, I feel home. I think I feel good everywhere, because I don’t belong to anywhere. I try to be present in million percent where I am at the moment. I shouldn’t think about Tokyo where I’m going to work next, I should think about Győr now. We all have to know that the present is the only moment that we are controlling. Neither the past can be controlled because it’s over nor the future because you don’t know it. So if you do not live your present. You do not live at all. Nem? (smiling)

De. So you know some words in Hungarian, don’t you.

Igen, of course I do. I have to; otherwise I can sleep under the bridge and eat nothing. I learnt a couple of words, and there are others which are inherited and changed a bit from Slavic and German.

How many languages do you speak?

Eight. But 8 equal 0 inHungary. You know, I came from a country where 4million people live. Realizing that you don’t come from the most interesting part of the world is very helpful for open-mindedness. I come from a very beautiful place, but that world wasn’t big enough for me. I wanted to be able to work in Paris, NY, Germany, and for that I need languages. Leo Mujic

Do you like here, in Hungary?

Yes, I love it.

Do you like working with the team of Győri Ballet?

Absolutely. They have such values which are not part of the reality of our days. It’s very hard what I demand for them. They have to be ‘super-snappy’, ‘super-fast’, sexy and they’re doing their best.

The piece that you are working on at the moment entitled Glasshouse. What is it about?

It’s an abstract piece about a close society. There is a person living enclosed in his glasshouse. Sometimes this enclosed state has its advantages, but we couldn’t go out of it. And when finally this person breaks her glasshouse, her safe golden cage, she finds out that outside could be a cold place as well. The piece is very much based on the dance, the movements themselves. I do respect the abstraction, and the classicism of it.

How do you imagine yourself ten years later?

I’m definitely going to do the same job. If everything goes well, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing. I’ll live exactly the life what I’m living now. There is no ten-year plan, just keep on doing it. I hope I’ll be able to do it in good health, and I hope that people will want me enough to be able to do this job.

More information:

By: Nóra Takács


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