Freedom and nature
In October 1901, Vakhtangov met his future wife, Nadezhda Baytsurova, at a rehearsal for his high school’s benefi t performance. At rehearsals, Vakhtangov hardly gave her a glance. The young girl fell in love with Vakhtangov at fi rst sight and patiently waited to be noticed. Following the performance, Vakhtangov suddenly invited Nadezhda to a waltz at the benefi t ball. Years later, Mrs. Vakhtangov recalled this event as a not so happy experience:
I was hurt. At my fi nishing school, I spent seven years studying dance, and I considered myself a good dancer. While waltzing with Vakhtangov, however, I understood that my dancing was stupid. I danced diligently, in earnest, while Zhenya danced with full ease, as if he could do it in his sleep. He danced as though he wanted to demonstrate how one must dance-lightly, freely and joyfully. His dance was artistic and, even at that early date, it subconsciously contained an element of a directorial demonstration.