Frequently asked questions
How did you come up with this choreography?
As a kid, I really loved spiders and I used to observe them a lot. They had this particular way of moving and were still very gracious creatures, although a bit weird. When I studied ballet professionally, I once tried to imitate the movements of a spider in the living room — which made my mother laugh a lot. She said: “Hey, why don’t you make that into a dance?”
And that’s how “The Spider” was born. I performed it for the first time about two months later.
Where did you perform it?
I started to compete in international ballet competitions at the age of 13. During these competitions, you usually had to dance several short contemporary solos. I danced “The Spider” at ballet competitions in Moscow, Kiev, Reus (Spain), Lausanne and London.
After my education at the Royal Ballet School in London, I’ve joined the Dutch National Ballet and have danced many choreographies around the globe — but not “The Spider”.
Is it difficult to dance “The Spider”?
Yes. Not necessarily because it requires advanced technical skills, but the spider pose requires a certain flexibility in your hips and lower back that even most professional dancers do not possess.
Especially the first pose and the walk that follows are very demanding.
Have other dancers ever performed it?
I have recently coached a talented young Dutch dancer that performed it on a ballet competition in France — and she ended up winning 2nd prize. She also danced it on Japanese television programme ‘ItteQ! Let’s challenge the world’ (april 2018) which was watched by 20 million people.
During the past years, I have also noticed or have been notified that hundreds of people around the globe have performed it without my prior permission, which is not allowed. For this reason, I unfortunately can’t provide more detailed information on where it has been performed.
What are the most common mistakes when trying to dance “The Spider”?
If the opening pose isn’t done properly, you’re more likely to look like a frog than a spider. Your knees need to be aligned with the hips and they should be higher than the back. This takes both flexibility and exercise.
Also, the coordination of some moves is very different to what it seems. This is often the case with choreographies, which is why most choreographers travel to ballet companies to rehearse their work, or send a team on their behalf.
I like the choreography. Am I allowed to perform it?
For public performances, always ask permission. In many cases — for example when it’s a charity performance or a small non-commercial performance for children — I will allow you to perform it for free. For (semi-)professional performances and competitions, a modest and reasonable fee will apply.
Do I need to be a professional dancer?
It is not a requirement to dance “The Spider” but it surely helps. Besides the first pose, there are many elements that will look much better if you are a trained dancer.
How long does it take to rehearse this choreography?
It depends on the individual but a a rule of thumb, in order to be able to dance it well, I would say about two months.
Help! My child wants to dance “The Spider”.
Great! Try to be nice, because he or she will have lots of muscle ache in the beginning, especially in the hips and thighs. 😉
On a more serious note: it’s a great choreography to explore what your body is capable of — and what it is not. Always listen to your body. And remember that prior permission is required for performances.
You were very young when you created “The Spider”. When did you start as a dancer?
I started my first lessons at the age of three. At the age of four, I danced a duet in a concert that was broadcasted on national Ukrainian television. Four years later, I joined a professional ballet school where I was training six days a week. Between the age of 13 and 16, I participated in many ballet competitions across Europe. I was 15 years old when I joined the Upper Royal Ballet School in London.
Can we invite you to dance “The Spider” at our show/tv programme/gala?
I’m not performing this choreography myself anymore, but please contact me to see if I can send someone else or help rehearse it.