“No Make-up!”…Maria Kousoni

Dancer Maria Kousouni is among the performers of the ballet Omaggio a Ravel, a new production by Fondazione Arena di Verona based on Maurice Ravel’s music, choreographer Renato Zanella, at Teatro Filarmonico from 18th to 23th February 2012.
Maria was born in Athens and started to dance when shw was sixnasce ad Atene e comincia a danzare all’età di sei anni. She studied at the Despina Grigoriadou Dance Academy and got her diploma as teacher of the Vaganova method in 1998. Her career started in 1999 when, during the finale of the International Dance Competition in Paris, she was noticed by Renato Zanella, Ballet Director at Wiener Staatsoper Ballett, who immediately hires her for the dance company, of which she became soloist and in which she remained until 2004. In 2001 she won the special prize at the Luxembourg International Ballet Competition. After the success in the role of  Audrey in As You like it by Neumeier, she became soloist of the Hamburg Ballett. In those years she performs choreographies by Neumeier, symphonic ballets dedicated to Mahler’s work and other choreographers’ creations such as La Fille mal-gardée by Ashton, La Bayadère by Natalia Makarova, Polyphonia by Wheeldon, Unerreichbareorte by Jiří Bubenicek. In 2007 she prima ballerina of the Greek National Ballet and dances the roles of Anna 2 created for her in Seven Deadly Sins by Kim Brandstrup, Marina in Zorba il greco by Massine, Paquita by Galina Samsova, Myrta in Giselle and Tatiana in Onegin by Irek Mukhamedov, Four last songs by Rudy Van Dansig, Medora in Il Corsaro by Petipa, Did you say Baroque? by Lommel, La Regina delle nevi by Ray Barra, Alles Walzer by Zanella. In 2011 Renato Zanella creates for her the choreographies for the tableau L’Oiseau de feu taken from the Omaggio a Stravinsky at Teatro Filarmonico in Verona and Medea’s choice from the opera by Mikis Theodorakis for the Festival of the Aegean in Syros.
Which is the main feature of your personality?

I insist until I succeed.
Your worst flaw?
I am too honest!I say and I show exactly how I feel and I hide nothing!Sometimes is hard for people to accept my honesty…but that’s me…because I LOVE the truth!
Which is your star sign?
Are you superstitious?
No, why should I?It’s not necessary…isn’t it?
Are you a spiritual person?
I am and I am happy that I am.
Have you ever envied someone?
That’s a feeling I never had cause I don’t find a reason to do so.I think it must be the worst you can feel cause I see people suffering from it…
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?
Guess what!! I made my dream come true …
Did your family influence your choices?
Yes, family is everything…
Which is your most cherished memory?
 The moment you felt the proudest?
The moment I felt the proudest was when after a competition  I was offered my First contract with the Vienna State Opera Ballet from the main choreographer and Director R.Zanella without needing to give an audition.
The greatest disappointment?
Greatest?Never had….but small and non so important …yes….but small enough not to remember!
What’s missing in your life today?
More hours a day, more dance, more art, more time with people I love….in general …. I wish I could have more of the things that make me happy!
What are you afraid of the most?
Being without the people I love and love me.
How important is money to you?
Important as far you can have a comfortable life.I think other things are more valuable than money.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
Hahaha!The telephone bill!!!
Do you collect anything?
Old items from the family.It can be anything…anything that’s old and has history.
Which are your favorite readings?
Which is your favorite perfume?
The one I wear… “elixir”.
Favorite city?
New York.
Favorite color?
Favorite flower?
White roses.
Who is your favorite coreographer?
There are three … that I loved to work with them and they bring magic to their creations, to the dancers and to their public. John Neumeier, Renato Zanella and Jiri Killian.
Have you got a partner you remember in particular?
I’ve danced with many partners in my career.Good chemistry is something that is natural between two people and everything works perfectly and pleasant.You can develop artistically and reach the highest results easily and having fun in the procedure. That moments came very often but is also something that is combined with the ballet you are dancing.I had favorite partners in each company I was and I have a favorite one now in the Greek National too!   
Your favourite musical genre(s)?

My favorite type of music is Jazz.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
“The smurfs”!…ahahaha. 
Your favorite season and why?

I like all of them, I cannot say…they are all so special.
How is your relationship with technology and which is the electronic gadget you can’t do without?
For sure my handy!
How’s your attitude towards TV ?
No time for TV…Sorry! 
Do you have causes that are very important for you?

Everything that has to do with the children.
Day or night?
Day and night.
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
For sure when everything is perfect you can relax by doing anything!But the one for sure I enjoy the most is a nice bath and a nice dinner at home under the candle light.If it’s winter in front of the fireplace if it’s summer out in the garden.
Tell us your ideal day.
Sunday! Day off!
Which is your hideaway?
My hideaway is my home!
What’s the soundtrack to your everyday life?
“Take five” in any version!
What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?
If I am away from home it means I am away cause of my work (which I love) or for holidays. So I miss nothing cause I enjoy the new experiences and cause I know I will be back!!!!   The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
I’d love to go back to Ravello which I conceder the most beautiful place to be and to New York for once more.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?
Rude people with no sense of art.
How would you define your relation with food ?
Love affair.
Mediterranean diet, mocrobiotics or fast food?
Mediterranean absolutely.
Your favourite dish?
Anything that comes from the sea with vegetables.
Red or white wine?
Red and dry.
Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?
I don’t know yet and I hope I won’t!
Was dance a vocation? Or was it a discovery?
I always felt dance was inside of me and as much as I can remember myself I always wanted to be a dancer.For me it’s part of who I am.    What would you want someone who doesn’t know you to watch?
Let them choose!
The career of a dancer is one of the most fragile and the shortest ones: how do you follow the evolution of yours?
I am happy of the things I did and they are my little treasure.I know is gonna end in  a while but I am grateful of everything I did and with the people I worked with.
If you were granted the chance to chose a role to dance, which one would it be? Or which role would you like to be created for you?
Of course there are things I would love to dance but important for a dancer is to have creations on him. I trust the big choreographers for it cause they always knew what I could do the best cause they have the charisma for it.They see for you before you!!!But also cause always until now that was the greatest surprise for me and the greatest challenge…to dance something I didn’t imagine but something that has to make me work very hard and discover parts of my self and develop them under the wise, inspiring and creative instructions of the one who knows!The choreographer.That’s the greatest pleasure of all…
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
Putting on make up, getting ready and concentrating for the performance.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?
Chocolate and water.
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
Here I am!
Your mood at the moment?
Romantic and always in love.
What’s your motto?
Live what you love.