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“Ballet Magazine”
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In this issue | Short summary
№  4 [140] July - August 2006 

This issue opens with a pictorial covering the grand presentation of the Benois de la dance ballet prize and a gala concert by its nominees and winners.
In anticipation of its 25th anniversary, the Ballet Magazine continues to present various articles under the heading of We Are A Quarter Century Old. The material prepared by Anna Chernetsova and Christina Handlos presents a retrospective of articles on the history of choreography - large scale research articles, various documents, diary entries by great masters of ballet, and excerpts from their epistolary heritage. A special subheading, Pages from the Calendar, was once created to cover various anniversaries whose articles varied in form and structure. In this issue, the writers relate of the most interesting articles under that subheading published during 1980's. "Later Pages from the Calendar was transformed into the column Ballet Time. Its content, however, remains the same: it is a chronicle of events in the world of dance."
The traditional BALLET THEME column features an interview by Gabriela Komleva, the renowned prima ballerina of the Kirov Ballet. Now choreography coach with the Mariinsky
Theater, she open-heartedly answers here the questions put forth by Larissa Abyzova. The main subject is the ballet of today: what it has gained and what lost; what its style has become like; how the artists' attitudes toward creative activities have changed; what exactly "duty to the audience" is; what kind of qualities make an artist great; what those dancers have been like whom everybody, audiences and colleagues alike, have adored. "Today's young people physically look more able than the generations past, but they seem to lack creative ginger. What triumphs is pragmatism - the ability to find the shortest and easiest path to success." Such is Gabriela Komleva's notveryencouragingconciusion. She believes that the fate of ballet "largely depends on the theater leaders, on sobriety of their positions. We often talk of the classical heritage as of some kind of abstraction, whereas in fact it is first and foremost the very focus of our spiritual values."
The article In Folio under the BALLET-PARADE column covers the guest performances of Yevgeny Panfilov's Ballet in Moscow. "It is the first time that all three troupes of the Panfilovites - the main troupe, the Ballet of the Fat ('Balet tolstykh' and the Martial Art Club ('Boytsovskiy klub') - visit Moscow. For almost a week they had performed on stage of the Maly Theater. Nothing of the kind had ever happened during the lifetime of the choreographer himself, to whose fiftieth birthday this powerful invasion from the city of Perm' was occasioned." The performances proved that even with its founder and artistic leader gone, the Theater carries on its  artistic life in full scale. The arguments the Theater presented to support such a claim -Panfilov's ballets of various years and the two ones staged during the post-Panfilov period -proved rather convincing." The production that the writer Alia Mikhalyova deals with in detail is A Cage for Parrots, which is a winner of the 2006 Golden Mask Award.
The second article under the BALLET-PARADE column deals with the Opera and Ballet Theater of Voronezh, which "seems to be estranged from the new-fashioned huddle of PR: now it hides in a shadow, now suddenly appears under the sun. Once upon a time a successful festival of classical ballet was held in 

Voronezh; once happened, it disappeared for as long as eleven years. This past spring, however, within the framework of The Year of Voronezh Region Culture' a national ballet festival, The Classics and the Contemporary, was held. The playbill featured three new contemporary productions: The Juno and the Avos; The Angels of Death, a youth-targeted show concerning drug abuse; and an extravaganza ballet Yesenin and Duncan occasioned to the centennial of poet Sergey Yesenin. The old-world ballet was presented by Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Giselle. The writer Natalia Sadovskaya relates of the star performers of the Voronezh festival and of the audiences' responses. She thinks that interludes between the future Vroonezh festivals are not going to be long. "While you create, you live", so believes the main character of Mikhail Lavrovsky's short story. Such must be a motto of the author himself, whose entire life seems to prove the point. Under the column dubbed BESIDES BALLET the editorial board introduces to the readers some works of literary and graphic arts, courtesy of the private archive of Mikhail Lavrosky, winner of the honorary title of The People's Artist of the USSR and of several Lenin and State Prizes, and the author of the said works. Presented here are the 1983 short story On the Mountains and the general sketch for a script to a one-act ballet Joan of Arc after Jean Anouilh's play The Lark.
One of the articles under the WORLD OF BALLET column is dedicated to the premiere performance of the ballet Chaikovsky on stage of the Berlin Opera. Choreographer Boris Eifman has recreated his own production staged earlier at his theater in St. Petersburg. It was not merely a "republication" of the existing. Rather, both the choreographer and scene-designer Viacheslav Okunev virtually created a new production for the Staatsopera. Conductive to it was the musical rendering by conductor Alexander Sotnikov, which was marked by sublime and dramatic sounding of the orchestra. 
What also contributed to making it an event was, no doubt, the principal part performed by Vladimir Malakhov, whose participation was what actually moved Boris Eifman and colleagues to reevaluate the old production. Says Boris Eifman, "Malakhov's Chaikovsky is a celestial since his first appearance on stage." Mlakhov's distinctive and original individuality dramatically changed both atmosphere and artistic setup of the ballet. Dramatic events, heartbreaking passions and struggle of emotions that befall the hero all his life give way to creative work and a quest for the sublime and the ideal. The writer Valeria Uralskaya not only analyses the production but also relates of the responses by the audience, who express their most positive emotions by whistle and stomp and later, after the show, side by side with the performers and authors, celebrate the success in the theater's cafeteria - and why not express the common joy that way? A detailed interview by the remarkable ballet coach and amazing story-teller Mikhail Messerer under the title borrowed from Oscar Wilde's catch-phrase, The Proper Basis for a Marriage Is Mutual Misunderstanding, covers several subjects. Memoirs by the famous ballerina and outstanding ballet coach Shulamith Messerer, who died in 2004, where recently published, and her son here recalls how they were being written, what Shulamith Mikhailovna had been doing and interested in during her last years, and why the hazy London had attracted her heart. Mikhail Messerer, a keeper of family traditions, reflects upon the Russian school of classical dance and coexistence of different choreographic styles, recalls the classes given by his mother and his uncle Asaf Messerer, the legendary star-coach of the Bolshoy Theater, and also shares his opinion concerning the current conditions of the Bolshoy and the Mariinsky theaters.
The column A SEASON IN BALLET - NEWS FROM THE THEATERS presents a lot of interesting information.
 A. Maksov deals in detail with new performers brought into the existing Bolshoy Theater productions.   Andrei   Yevdokimov   danced James   in   Les      Sylphides,   while   Anna
Tikhomirova made a successful debut as Effie. Giselle also found new performers - Nina Kaptsova and Denis Matvienko. 
The part of Mirte was perfectly fit for Natalia Vyskubenko, while the gracious Chinara Ali-zadeh prepared the peasant's pas de deux. New parts were added to repertoire of such dancers as Galina Stepanenko, Vitaly Baktimirov, Yuri Klevtsov, and Timofei Lavreniuk.
 Natalia  Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliov have for almost thirty years led the State Theater of Classical Ballet and created their
own inimitable style. Yelena Presniakova chatted with the Theater leaders about the ending season.  "The main event has been a radical renewal of Terpsichore's Pranks, which is now
called Strauss-gala, a burlesque ballet in which the ballet competitions with their  atmosphere of anxiety, intrigue, and even jurors' fist fights are parodied." Natalia Kasatkina talked about a new generation of young and talented dancers and also about those who have already acquired devotees among the ballet goers, such as Yekaterina Berezina, Vladimir Muravliov, Marina Rzhannikova etal.
 The Kremlin Ballet spent its sixteenth season in a non-stop mode. A premiere of A Sleeping Beauty in Andrei Petrov's rendering was followed by new stage productions within the framework of Andris  Liepa's  project Russian Seasons, 21st Century. "The duo of Nicholai Tsiskaridze and  Use Liepa, both unique performers, was an unquestionable success, as was a debut of the talented Kremlin Ballet principal dancer Christina Kretova as the Firebird." The theater celebrated an anniversary of the legendary Yuri Grigorovich production of Ivan the Terrible. The troupe has much and successfully traveled all over the world. In late spring in Mexico, they presented a cut-down version of The Corsair, whose full production is expected to be staged by Yuri Grigorovich next season. - Viacheslav Gordeev came to lead the Yekaterinburg ballet three years ago and straight away charged the troupe with high creative standards. The theater's playbill has acquired a new version of Swan Lake and premieres of The Nutcracker, Scheherazade, The Vision of a Rose, and Chopiniana. The big-city stars have often taken part in those performances. "A special mood had accompanied the troupe's work and audiences' anticipations during the rehearsal period for the Night of Contemporary Ballet. ...The divertimento allowed space for creative individualities to manifest themselves. Some of the artists, e.g. Alexei Nasadovich and Robert Gabdullin tried their hands at choreography." A premiere of the ballet suite Grand Waltz choreographed by Tamaz Vashakidze became the high point of the night. The work is under way on an original version of Don Quixote by Gordeev; a tour abroad is coming soon, too. At the same time, the Theater's Director Yuri Orlov cherishes grand plans for a festival called Ballet Olympus of Yekaterinburg.
 The Opera and Ballet Theater of Samara is 75. In November, the traditional Alia Shelest Festival of Classical Ballet was held there featuring productions dubbed "The Pearls of Choreodrama". Participating in it were artists from S. Petersburg's theaters. In January, the Samara ballet visited S. Petersburg to participate in the Nutcracker Christmas Festival of Ballet. Closing the season was a premiere of the rock-ballet Beatles forever!, an exclusive stage version of the life and work of the legendary group. Nadezhda Malygina, acting as scriptwriter, stage director, and choreographer, has provoked the troupe to experiment, thus having created a rock-ballet on an academic stage.
 Yoshkar-Ola, the capital city of the Republic of Mariy-El, is more and more often referred to as one of the theatrical centers of Russian Federation. Since 1994, a festival, Yoshkar-Ola the Theatrical, is held here annually. It is a forum for new productions alone. The ballet Romeo and Juliet staged by Constantine Ivanov, art director of the E. Sapaev Theater of Mariy-El, won this year's prize for best choreography. In spring the Theater held a festival in honor of Galina Ulanova. The plans for the nearest future include a staging of the ballet Spartac'lis: A Triumph of Rome. K. Ivanov says, "I understand that it is going to be hard after Yuri Grigorovich's production, but I lack no courage. I intend to change some plotlines. I only partly depend on the source book (the novel by Giovanioli) and look at Spartacus and the Roman Empire from somewhat different point of view. I will attempt to show what that man tried to lay hands on, what he wanted to achieve, and what came of it all." 
 Some on the past season's noteworthy activities of the Mordovia ballet were shows by the local theater and school honoring the Ballet Magazine on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Among the performances was Swan Lake in the choreographic version by Valeri Miklin with young artists Yelena Bekshaeva and Alexei Chumakov as principal characters. This season saw the 25 anniversary also of the Republik's Choreography School for Children celebrated with its own production of The Nutcracker. A Night of One-Act Ballets produced by the School will be included in the playbill of the Musical Theater of Mordovia.
 The Opera and Ballet Theater of Bashkiria last September opened its season with a new ballet, Arkhaim, staged by Moscow choreographer Andrei Petrov. That same fall the troupe visited Portugal showing Swan Lake (choreography by Yuri Grigorovich). Early this summer the troupe is to go to Thailand to participate in the famous festival of Bangkok with 
Swan Lake and Cinderella. Leader of the Bashkir troupe Shamil Teregulov staged in Turkey an original two-act ballet Queen Abah to the music of Ferkhard Huseinov, an Azerbaijani composer living in Turkey. The traditional Nureyev Festival closed the season. - Late in March, on stage of the Opera and Ballet Theater of Donetsk a premiere was shown of Eine Kleine Nachtmusic to the music of Mazart staged by the famous choreographer Constantine Uralsky. The new ballet was staged specially for Vadim Pisarev's School of Choreographic Craft. "The idea was that dancing on stage would be the children of today performing a ballet from the 17th century. It is a mock, merry, charming, and humorous ballet. It is a game full of earnest passions where love, female craftiness, grievance, and jealousy all rhyme in the last analysis with boyishness and innocent worldviews of coquettish girls. It is like in a real ball - a social debut!"
 An all-Russia festival of classical ballet, Sterkh, is held in Yakutsk every other year. Participating in this year's one were principal dancers and other artists from the local the
ater, students of the local ballet school led by the legendary Natalia Poselskaya, and various guest performers. The Muscovites Natalia Balakhnicheva   and   Sergei   Vasiuchenko
danced in Romeo and Juliet. Another Festival's performance, The Wedding of Aurora after The Sleeping    Beauty    of    Chaikovsky-Petipa, arguably the best digest of the classical ballet in the world, was led by Natalia Yershova and
Vitaly Polovnikov, both from Novosibirsk. Next to it in the playbill is Giselle with the faultless Natalia Ledovskaya and Georgi Smilevsky from the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow.
Yekaterina       Shipulina       and       Dmitry Belogolovtsev from the Bolshoy Theater with their   performing  excellence  turned   Don Quixote into a virtual whirlwind. Art director of the Festival, Natalia Sadovskaya, demonstrated good taste and sophistication in assembling the program of a gala-concert (performed twice) which impressively and in detail presented a panorama of history of classical dance.
 The IN MEMORIAM page bears the sad news of the death of Gamer Almaszadeh, winner of the honorary title of the People's Artist of the USSR and of the State Prize of the USSR.