"I spend Christmas on stage. That's completely normal for me," says Zhanna Gubanova. The dancer has spent the past nine years working in Moscow. Winter fairytale ballets such as The Nutcracker are a tradition there, Zhanna says: "We try to create a Christmas atmosphere for the audience." While preparing for the performances, the dancers always watch Christmas films in make-up, Zhanna recalls.
The last Christmas performance on 7 January was followed by a few days off. "I was always able to spend Christmas with my family," says Zhanna, who, as a Orthodox Christian, celebrates Christmas on 7 January. "It's a cosy, contemplative celebration with the family without presents." Instead, there are presents on 31 December. New Year's Eve is a big celebration in Zhanna's home country - with presents and a big dinner.
This year, Zhanna is spending the holidays in Munich for the first time without her family and in a different culture. On both "her" Christmas and New Year's Day, she will be on stage in Cinderella. A new, exciting situation, she says. How will she spend Christmas this year? "I'll adapt and celebrate on 24 December, too. We'll cook a cosy meal together." On 25 December, Zhanna will make her debut at the Munich Nationaltheater and dance the Cinderella spring solo.
Soloist Carollina Bastos spent her first Christmas away from home in Brazil back in 2014. Her mother visited her in Munich to spend the festive season with her and Bianca Teixeira. Smiling, Carollina tells that they cooked Brazilian food together - and there was snow over the Christmas period. "It was a dream come true." She used to know white Christmas only from Christmas movies. "In Brazil, on the other hand, temperatures sometimes reach 40 degrees." She celebrated Christmas there with her family until 2013. Christmas dinner on 24 December was followed by gift-giving. Incidentally, the presents in Brazil are brought by Santa Claus, who Carollina's uncle had impersonated in the most authentic way for many years, the dancer explains with a laugh. A Christmas dinner with the whole family was also on the agenda on 25 December.
Since living in Germany, Carollina has celebrated Christmas with her family a total of five times - four times in Munich and once in Brazil. She is now used to working at Christmas: "It's also nice to pass on the Christmas spirit to the audience." She spends the festive season with her husband, soloist Ariel Merkuri, and dancers from the company. In keeping with their tradition, the Brazilian members of the ensemble are also celebrating together this year with Brazilian food, Carollina reveals.
One of her personal Advent highlights is the Christmas market. Carollina only knows it from Germany. "I love getting a mulled wine and chocolate fruit here and enjoying the Christmas atmosphere."