28 February 2013, 17:48

Mariinsky's ballet option

Mariinsky's ballet option

The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg has temporarily stopped opera performances. The 13th International Mariinsky Ballet Festival opens there on the 28th of February, so for the next 11 days the stage will belong to ballet dancers only. All tickets for the opening night, which is Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliette, have been sold out because the main part will be performed by Mariinsky prima ballerina Diana Vishneva and the conductor will be Valery Gergiev.

This year the audience and the participants in the Mariinsky Theatre’s ballet festival are looking forward to the arrival of outstanding American choreographer William Forsythe and his company. The reason for this visit is that the festival programme contains new versions of Forsythe’s ballets The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitudeand In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. These ballets were staged at the Mariinsky Theatre nine years ago and now they will be resumed with the participation of foreign teachers and Forsythe himself who is to add finishing touches before the first night.

The festival will also show another new performance of the theatre’s ballet company, the ballet The Midsummer Night’s Dream. Its author is legendary 20th century choreographer George Balanchine, a graduate of the St. Petersburg ballet school who became the key figure in the development of classical ballet in the US. Sandra Jennings, once a soloist in Balanchine’s company and now a ballet teacher, prepared this performance with the Mariinsky dancers.

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Uliana Lopatkina, the famous prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theatre nick-named Divine Goddess, will be taking part in The Midsummer Night’s Dream for the first time.

Which event claims to become the highlight of the Mariinsky festival programme? Ballet critic Olga Rosanova answered this question in her interview with The Voice of Russia.

“The festival is traditional in many ways. It has already taken shape and usually involves the best ballets of the repertoire with the participation of interesting soloists, both Russian, including young ones, and foreign dancers. As for the main event, it is an attempt to organize young choreographers’ creative workshop. Hard to say what this will boil down to but it is a very unexpected and promising initiative.”

Indeed, the Mariinsky ballet festival dedicates a special programme to young choreographers for the first time. Chances are that connoisseurs’ sharp eyes would see a budding Forsythe or Balanchine among them.

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