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In this issue | Short summary


N 1 [121] January-February 2003


The Ballet Theme

The Georgian Ballet's Talent of Life

The Ballet Theme column presents an article by Nelly Shurgaia, The Georgian Ballet's Talent of Life, which relates of what has been going on in the Georgian choreography scene during the last decade. Neither war nor death, nether cold nor hunger, nor yet the bloodcurdling fear of the future have been able to interrupt the process of artistic creation. In late 80s, the Mariinsky Ballet toured Georgia with O. Vinogradov's staging of A Knight in a Tiger's Hide to the music by Machavriani and The Battleship Potemkin to the music by A. Tchaikovsky, as well as a concert program.

The 1990-91 season can be rightly called a touring one: Tbilisi saw the Alvin Ailey's American Dance Theater, a Monte-Carlo ballet troupe with some of Balanchine's masterpieces, and the Du Gardin theater from Paris. During those gloomy times, any artistic visit was rightly perceived as an act of support for the Georgian people. Performing in Tbilisi were the crowd puller Nina Ananiashvili, Alexey Fadeechev, Alla Mikhalchenko, the Grand Opera star Manuel Legri, Olga Suvorova, Michael Shennon, and Altynai Asymuratova. Celebrating Peter I. Chaikovsky's 150th anniversary, Georgian dancers, alongside their guests from Moscow, performed Swan Lake.

The author goes on to recall some premiere performances that reflected the aesthetic ideals of fathers and sons Vakhtang Chabukiani's restaging of his own ballet Gorda and Georgii Alexidze's Night of One-Act Ballets to the music of Schnitke, Sibelius, Nasidze, and Kancheli. In spite of the time of hardships, the Theater solemnly celebrated the 80th anniversary of the great Vakhtang Chabukiani. 1991 was crowned with the premiere of Bournonville's La Sylphide staged in Tbilisi by Nikita Dolgushin, with the charming Ketino Mukhashavria in the principal role.

In spite of hardships of wartime of horrible nights with no heat or electricity, of endless bread lines, of a constant accompaniment of submachine-gun stutters, the art of dance was surviving. The new performances kept enriching the playbill of the Georgian National Ballet, founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili, and of the song and dance ensembles Rustavi and Erisioni. Classes have never been interrupted in numerous studio theaters even during the hardest of times. The Academic Theater had surprised everyone with its unusual ballet production premieres Sheherazade and From Columbus to Broadway.

The next three years, from 1994 through 1997, might be compared to a heroic epic. Performances were temporarily suspended, but classes and rehearsals continued every day in the unheated theater. When performances resumed, even though only twice a week, each one proved to be a parade of debuts - new parts had been prepared by experienced and young dancers alike.

Thanks to the heroic selflessness on the part of all who worked then in the theater, the 90s playbill kept extending. New productions had appeared The Symphonic Dances and The Dramatic Ballets; concert nights were held in honor of Vera Tsignadze and Zurab Kikaleishvili; the tradition of gala-concerts was upheld where stars from Russia and other countries danced alongside their Georgian counterparts. The Theater's performance at the Edinburgh Festival was a great success. The Times dubbed The Symphonic Dances the best spectacular in the dance program. Having returned from the tour, Alexidze extended the one-act ballet cycle and also prepared A George Balanchine Night.

1999 saw the premiere of The Nutcracker staged by Yu. Grigorovich with scenography by S. Virsaladze. The charming Natalia Arkhipova and the amazing Nika Tsiskaridze performed the principal parts. Unbelievable though it may sound, but during the last decade of the passed century the Theater had more than once toured abroad in Italy, Russia, Greece, China, and Spain. What is sad, however, is that up until now we haven't been able to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our own theater for lack of funds.



A Name in Ballet

Bulat Ayukhanov

The column A Name in Ballet contains a Lilia Gazizova's article about creative work of Bulat Ayukhanov, who has gained a world renown with his over 100 miniature ballets, some of which are Bolero to the music of Ravel, Hamlet by Isakova, Mankurt by Zakirova, and Caravan by Kazhgaliev. Bulat Ayukhanov is art director of the Young Ballet of Almaty, a dance ensemble that in the fall of 2002 celebrated its 35th anniversary. An educator who has raised several generations of classical ballet artists, a master who is teaching a choreography class at the T. Zhurgenov National Academy of Arts of Kazakhstan, Bulat Ayukhanov is also a Platinum Tarlan award winner and the author of a number of articles and books.

But it is not awards or titles, nor position or status that are most important with Bulat Ayukhanov, but his perpetual mobility, his ability to see perspective of creative work, especially, most and foremost, the outlooks of his own ensemble. Gazizova's article is an attempt to analyze and comprehend the depth and scope of Ayukhanov's talent, his creative willpower, and his teaching methods.

The ensemble has of late presented to the public several premieres, including ballets staged by the master himself Genghis Khan to the music of Irhanova and The Rhapsody to a Paganini Theme to the music of Rakhmaninoff as well as by his disciples.

The ensemble founded by Ayukhanov is a kind of reserve zone of the living and growing classical traditions in Asia. We live in order to fulfill our potentials, and therefore we are happy to use any opportunity to communicate with choreographers as well as with artists in the choreography world. Gone is the time of isolation from contemporary choreographic lexicon. Still, such criteria as richness of content, good taste, musicality and mastery of performance are as unshakeable for us as ever, these words of Bulat Ayukhanov conclude the narrative of to-day's life of the State Academic Classical Dance Ensemble of the Kazakhstan Republic.



This issue presents the Ballet Magazine's laureates:

Yevgeny PANFILOV

Larysa Barykina's article Take Me the Way I Am relates of the last year in the choreographer's life. As if foreboding that his time was drawing to an end, he made haste, trying to tell what he hadn't had time to before. His fantastic productivity increased unbelievably during his last season, that of 2001-02, he completed the astounding eight premieres. At a closer look, however, what is astounding in those works is not so much their number as their diversity and contrasts imbedded in them, the clashes of diametrically opposed states of mind, emotions, thoughts and feelings, writes Barykina. The productions she refers to are as follows:

The Capitulation, an uncanny foreboding of all-conquering pettiness and vulgarity and of an imminent catastrophe; Appalachians Spring, a ballet staged specially for a tour by Perm' Choreography School students; Life is beautiful, a grand project in Germany with an international troupe; Take Me the Way I Am, a program for his new dance-company, Boytsovsky Club (The Fighting Club); a special treat for his beloved Perm' a 4-day festival of Yevgeny Panfilov's theaters, featuring seven performances, of which four were premieres A Jail, Lessons in Tenderness, The Siege and a remake of the German project. The climax of the festivities was the last show in the master's lifetime, a premiere of Show-Transit Perm' Beijing Rio de Janeiro, or, a Brazilian Night in China for Permian Travelers.

One of Panfilov's favorite expressions was Let's give'em a high day! Indeed, he knew how to hold festival. At the same time, he produced works in which he made people see into themselves and rigidly analyze their inner being, or else he offered his own, quite sober and rigid insight of what is happening to us in this world. His last premieres proved to be filled with amazing metaphors, forebodings and prophecies

Nina ANANIASHVILI

The remarkable ballerina Nina ANANIASHVILI offers her reflections on herself, on Fate, on classical ballet.

I've been very lucky. I got to know highest-class professionals who have become my mentors and teachers. I am not saying this simply to do my duty by them, but out of undying gratitude and with the understanding that without my teachers I would've never been able to become a ballerina. Nina recalls her school classes under Natalia Zolotova, her rehearsals at the Bolshoy with Raisa Struchkova. Here again, at the Bolshoy, I got to know the choreography of Leonid Lavrovsky and Yuri Grigorovich.

But Fate had other gifts in stock for me, too the vast as Cosmos itself choreographic world of George Balanchine, who seemed to be destroying the classically internalized canons and creating new, his own dance, not quite perfectly classical, but 'of pure sound'. In order to better comprehend it, I started taking classes at the Stanley Wiliams School, where I had eventually grasped the methodical prerequisites of the Balanchine style freedom of arm motions; sense of dynamics and rhythm and character of unexpectedly fast tempos; intensity and changeability of the emotional tracery of your motions

A world of classical dance, rich and infinite, was revealing itself to me in the legacy of Auguste Bournonville The styles of Petipa, Balanchine and Bournonville, the classics of the English ballet the choreography of MacMillan, which I encountered at Covent Garden, have all jointly shaped that specific figurative horizon that has opened for me the world which is called classical dance

I know not how much longer I am destined to dance, I only feel myself in the middle of an extremely exciting period. I now possess knowledge, experience communicating with various schools and styles, and freedom of choice.

Natalia LEDOVSKAYA

Natalia LEDOVSKAYA, the star of the K. S. Stanislavsky and Vl. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow, is one of the most brilliant ballerinas of her generation. She is now at that happy stage, the golden section of her career, when the acquired mastery and artistry afford her roles brilliance and thoroughness, while her youthfulness preserves in them lightness and volitation.

Natalia Ledovskaya's dance is full of powerful passions, grace and beauty. She is at home with the feeling of impetuosity that sweeps away her Juliet, carries away Giselle in a deadly dance, and makes her Esmeralda lose herself in dance in front of the Notre-Dame de Paris.

From a charming lyrical heroine of ten years ago the ballerina has turned into a powerful dramatic actress. As it turns out, she can master not only characters of classic but also such diverse personages as Marguerite Gautier in The Lady of the Camellisas and Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew. Both of these contemporary productions have shown how boundless, in terms of both artistry and technique, the ballerina's talent actually is.

Stll, writes Natalia Kolesova in the article dedicated to her, Natalia Ledovskaya is a ballerina of a poetic soul. Perhaps that's why she is so successful in exquisite plotless miniatures like The Evening Dances to the music of Schubert, choreographed by Tom Schilling, and the duet in The Huanted Ballroom to the music of Chopin, choreographed by Dmitri Bryantsev. In her austere yet noble dance, in the composed gesture of her hands, so beautiful and amazingly lissome, in her airily, as if melting away, motion, a dream of unattainable love is manifest.

Natalia SADOVSKAYA

Natalia SADOVSKAYA represents a ballet branch of the renowned theatrical family. For almost quarter of a century she had danced on stage of the Bolshoy, after which she went back to school and graduated from the A. Lunacharsky State Institute (now the Russian Academy) of Theatrical Arts. Now, she thought, it was high time for her to commit herself to ballet criticism. And indeed it was for a while. But traveling all over the country and getting acquainted with many a ballet troupe gradually invoked in Natalia Mikhailovna the desire to make the riches of her homeland's arts available to the widest range of audience possible reaching out far beyond one city, one region, one republic. That's how she got possessed with the idea to start bringing together ballet personalities from all over the country, popularizing their art, showing their achievements. And so in 1979, the first opera and ballet festival initiated by Sadovskaya was held in Minsk.

Years and decades have passed. Today the scope of Natalia Sadovskaya's activities has reached a national scale indeed she has organized ten Autumn in Boldino festivals in Nizhni Novgrod; sixteen Rudolf Nureev festivals in Kazan'; five in Yakutia three by the name of Aurora Polaris and two, Sterkh; and three in Syktyvkar, The Golden Swallow. Also presented in Sadovskaya's festival activities are ballet programs in Perm', Ulan-Ude, Krasnoyarsk, Voronezh, etc. Not only does she organize concerts and performances, but also various events that accompany them discussions, round tables, artiste's meetings with their audiences, TV shows, and so on. Natalia Sadovskaya is very careful designing the festivals' playbills, always being guided by her most important objective to present something new, unknown or forgotten

Lyudmila SAKHAROVA

Lyudmila SAKHAROVA. It's she, the great ballet teacher, who once uttered the words, A teacher must possess many qualities firmness and softness, patience and perseverance and sturdiness But above all is love for children, desire to train them up, all of them, both week and strong. And, creativity in one's approach to one's task is also above all

Lyudmila Pavlovna Sakharova's rating as art director of the Perm' Ballet School is invariably high and stable. Wherever one might look one is likely to find her female students of several generations all over Russia and abroad and overseas. All of them are well-placed, all acclaimed ballerinas, all brilliantly trained.

Who knows how may minutes, hours, years she had spent at the feet of her pupils so that, as a result, there had been revealed to the world Nadezhda Pavlova's famous high extension, when the greatest stage in the country had come to be measured as three Pavlova's jetes, airy and clear-cut?

What meter can measure the mental, physical, spiritual energy that the Teacher has given to her disciples? There is no such meter

Some say that Sakharova is an authoritative person and that any attempt to stand against her willpower is as vain as to stand against a hurricane. But perhaps it is in this willpower of the Teacher that one of the aspects of creative work is contained that in which I take a rock and remove all that is extraneous.

Ninel YULTYEVA

Ninel YULTYEVA has been deservedly dubbed a legend of the Tartar ballet scene. Ninel Dautovna's artistic career started off in Kazan' when she successfully danced the title role in Zugra, a ballet by Zhiganov. Since then she performed many leading roles on stage of the Musa Jalil Tartar Opera and Ballet House, including Nikiya, Giselle, Kitri, Odette-Odilie, Aurora, Laurencia, Esmeralda, Maria (The Fountain of Bakhchisarai), Katerina (The Stone Flower), Sari (The Path of Thunder), Raymonda and Suimbike (Shurale). As a choreographer Ninel Yultyeva moved to Kazan' and revived in the local theater such masterpieces as Swan Lake, Chopiniana (Les Sylphides), Scheherazade, La Bayadere, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Fountain of Bakhchisarai; she also stages many concert compositions.

In addition, Yultyeva brought to Kazan' school and culture of the Leningrad ballet. It was there, first at the legendary Vaganova School, and then at the Choreography Department of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, that she had studied, under remarkable masters, the secrets of her art.

Since 1950s and up till now the artiste is actively involved in teaching. In 1972 she became chairperson of the Choreography Department at the Kazan' Institute of Culture (now Academy of Culture and Arts). She has brought up hundreds of students who now teach at various schools of all levels, work in theaters, and head all kinds of artistic institutions. Since 1998 Ninel Yultyeva is art director of the Kazan' Choreography School.

In the choreography horizon of the republic, the name of Ninel Yultyeva shines as a star of the first magnitude. Her long and indeed sacerdotal service to Terpsichore, the Muse of dance, has assured that her name is encrypted in golden letters in history of the Tartar arts, writes her biographer Vladimir Gorshkov. Not only Tartar, one is tempted to add, but of all Russia



The World of Ballet

The Pavane of Lyons

The World of Ballet column presents information about three events of global scale. Victor Ignatov in his article The Pavane of Lyons relates of the 10th International Dance Biennial in Lyons dedicated to arts of the Latin America. Guy Darme, festival's founder and director, has invited 34 troupes (600 artistes) from 12 countries. During three weeks 120 performances had been held in 19 concert halls of Lyons, including ten world and European premieres. The most crowded were a pageant that attracted 45,000 people, and three dance balls Cuban, Argentinean and Brazilian.

Represented on the festival's rich playbill were all forms of Latin American dance from fancy-dress carnival to ethnical ball to folksy fiesta to classical ballet to contemporary spectaulars to avant-garde experimentations. In contrasting forms and colors there was embodied the image of Latin America, the land of fire and blood, the continent of joy and sorrow for millions of people.

The most impressive were the fadeless productions by Jose Limon, a Mexican dancer and choreographer, one of the most prominent figures in the American modern dance. The Lorraine Ballet from Nancy had prepared The Moor's Pavane to the music by Purcell and Missa Brevis in Tempore Belli by Kodaly.

A special feature of the festival was the Mexican troupe Zebra under Jose Rivera. The troupe, the only all-gay one in the world, had brought along to Lyon its program named An Anthology, a collection of miniatures staged over the years to the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Agustin Lara, Arvo Part and many others, as well as to the Columbian folk music. The biannual also featured a world premiere of You Can't Eat Applause by Maguy Marin, who is best known for her original ballets Cinderella, Coppelia, Grossland and May B. The choreographer had studied at different times under Nina Vyroubova and M. Bejart. As she herself explains, the essence of this new show is that The Latin American countries, despite great differences, have a shared wealth of culture and human relations. In this work, I thought it necessary to inquiry into relations of power that dominate people's lives, to analyze dead-lock situations in power strategy Eight dancers enter into a tense relationship in order to express this idea.

Even more impressive was the world premiere of A Holiday, a show staged by Gaetano Battezzato and Marina Blandini, who co-head Teatri del Vento in Montelimar. This paradoxical performance unfolds amidst a stage set that resembles a house and also a village square (a deliberate mixture of the exterior and the interior). A universe that is simultaneously delirious and poetic, both intangible and carnal is pulsating on the darkened stage behind a translucent screen upon which colorful scenes of Brazilian, Argentinean and Mexican festivities are projected.

The audience raved over the performance by the Cuban National Ensemble of Folk Dance whose 30 artists brilliantly delivered a 15-number program.

The Eleventh Biennial of 2004 will be dedicated to the European art of dance.

The Canadian Renaissance

Another article by Victor Ignatov, The Canadian Renaissance, presents the news from the dance scene of Montreal. Half a century ago, a Russian ballerina Ludmila Chiriaeff founded, and until 1975 had headed, a ballet troupe in Montreal, for which she staged a number of original ballets. Since 1957 the troupe is called Le Grand Ballet Canadien (GBC). Since 1999 its leader is Gradimir Pankov, an ethnical Macedonian, who has dedicated 40 years of his life to dance, having performed and staged at the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT 2), Finnish National Ballet, Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm and the Grand Theatre of Geneva.

As head of the Montreal troupe Pankov aspires to bring it up to a high international level: he develops it repertoire, focusing on new contemporary productions, and engages talented young artistes. During the first three years of his leadership, three premieres have been brought out Carmen (2000), The Queen of Spades (2001) and Les Noces (2002), staged by Didi Weldman, Kim Brandstrup and Stigne Selis, respectively. The GBC leader doesn't hesitate to invite for staging those dancers who are just making their first steps in choreography.

The GBC appears to be experiencing a genuine renaissance. Fittingly, its 45th season was opened with Les Noces, which, in L. Chiriaeff's choreography, was an ornament of the troupe's first season in 1975. The new version was presented to the audience in the same program as the fadeless Gloria, a Kenneth McMillan's ballet to the music of Francis Poulenc.

The Selis's Les Noces has preserved the living spirit of Stravinsky; it shows itself akin to the genius of V. Nijinsky and M. Fokine; evident in it are certain ideas of dancing and staging that have been borrowed from The Rite of Spring and Petrushka. In the choreographer's opinion, the Stravinsky's music expresses the essence of our sexuality I have aspired to show that wedding as a social ritual is an act of violence imposed on us by the society. Les Noces was performed superbly. The dancers demonstrated their mastery of both classical and contemporary dancing techniques.

A Ballet Night at the Esterhazy Estate

A Ballet Night at the Esterhazy Estate is an Igor Zapravdin's article dealing with the festival dedicated to the great Franz Joseph Haydn which is held yearly at a picturesque Austrian town of Eisenstadt, attracting musicians from all over the world. This year its bright musical palette has been enriched by yet another color dance.

The gala-concert was called The Ballet Night. The idea was originated by Ronald Malzer, a young Austrian dancer, a pupil of Piotr Pestov. The tutor was Bella Rachevskaya, once a teacher at the Vaganova Dance Academy, now a choreographer at the Vienna Opera. The writer was musical director of the program.

Participated in the Haydn-gala were diverse and talented performers from the Vienna Opera, the Mariinsky, the Leipzig Ballet, the National Theater of Amsterdam, the Conols Theater of Buenos Aires, as well as dancers from the USA, all of whom, according to the Austrian media, have demonstrated high artistic class.



The INFORM-BALLET column presents:

- Chief choreographer of the K. S. Stanislavsky and Vl. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow, Dmitry Bryantsev, reveals the company's plans. I hope that by the time this issue is out we will have shown a premiere of the ballet Circus Has Arrived! This will be the last premiere in our theater until its renovation is completed. More remote prospects include the ballets Carmen-Suite, The Miraculous Mandarin, and The Prodigal Son, as well as productions for children Bambi and The Snow Queen. Now we are in the process of composing playbills for our tours. In 2003, for our British tour we will revive the Cinderella in A. Chichinadze's version. Back in Moscow, however, we will be performing on various stages while the renovation is in progress, so certain productions will have to be temporarily 'stored in the closet'.

These days one can't help thinking that theater and its functionaries are in dire need of properly functioning criticism, of professional evaluation of their work by the critics. It's very proper that the Ballet Magazine has also turned to this problem. Another disquieting matter is educating new generations of choreographers. I am willing to take part both in discussion of the problem and in finding real and practical solutions for it.

- Robert Urazghildeev analyzes in detail the outcome of the 5th International festival Shabyt (Inspiration) held in the capital of Kazakhstan in early November of 2002. Participants competed in eight nominations classical music, journalism, literature, classical dance, stand-up comedy, visual arts, folk music, and pop.

- Tamara Purtova acquaints the readers with a wonderful festivity of dance that is held on the ancient land of Viatka the contest for the Vladimir Zakharov prize. Zakharov is art director of the Gzhel Academic Dance Theater of Moscow.

- Eugenia Koptelova, a judge at the 5th Open Competition-Festival among Choreography Schools, shares her impressions of this exciting contest, which has already acquired certain traditions.

- Another article by Tamara Purtova relates of the All-Russian Festival A Soar Full of Soul [a quotation from Pushkin's Eugene Onegin translator's note] which was held in Saint-Petersburg and which united two events a contest among classical dance companies of the European part of Russia, and a gala-concert of the winners of all regional competitions ensembles from Barnaul, Cheliabnsk, Berezniaki, Viatka, and Novosibirsk.



The Ballet Time

The Ballet Time column presents an Elena Solominskaya's article dedicated to different versions of the Igor Stravinsky ballet The Rite of Spring. She considers its history as a mythological phenomenon. Its destiny caused its creators' anxiety even before it had been completed: the musicians refused to play the score, Stravinsky himself couldn't understand Nijinsky's choreography, whereas Nijinsky in turn caused an outcry on the part of the dancers. Having gone through as many as 120 rehearsals, The Rite of Spring was then only performed six times. But under the influence of its sacred magic, representatives of various schools and currents have been turning to it time and again. A foundation for their fantasies the artists find not so much in the plot as in the form, power and diversity of the Stravinsky's score. The Rite of Spring is a demolition, transformation and dynamic shaping of styles and forms, interpretations and compositions.

Another version of The Rite belonged to Leonid Massine (1920). As opposed to the Nijinsky's version, whose choreography had allowed the dancer's body to reveal its own abilities in new motions, the Massine's widely open compositions were oriented at spatial concepts of the dance. Stravinsky himself compared the ordonnance of Massine's ballet to his own musical concept. Massine felt free to change the plot according to the music, having made a first step towards development of a ballet of the new era the symphonic one.

The Roman version by the choreographer Aurel Milloss (1941) hadn't been much of a success. The next staging belongs to Mary Wigman (Germany, 1957). She had raised the plane of the stage, having created a kind of podium on which girls in long black frocks danced around in ranks, forming various geometrical figures. Their postures of worshiping the Earth were to gain a second wind in 1959 in the famous Rite by Maurice Bejart. The difference would be that the latter was to represent a masculine prayer of savage men living in the woods, who know neither remorse nor mercy Bejart would also avoid focusing on the plot, as if foreseeing, by his choreography, contemporary, as opposed to archaic, motives of the presented events.

Yet another choreographer who ventured into The Rite of Spring was the 90-year-old Martha Graham, one of the former performers (1930) of The Chosen One in the Massine's version. For her it was important to realize the power of rite, so she didn't follow any particular scenario.

In 1970's two Rite's lighted upon Europe: the Hamburg one, by John Neumeier (Le Sacre), and the Wuppertahl one, by Pina Bausch. And if the music of Stravinsky was referred to as signals in the dark, then perhaps no one has ever expressed the finitude of those signals more clearly than Bausch had. The naked form of the motions bore characteristics of some deadly rapture in the human essence.

In the 1980's, a Swedesh choreographer Mats Ek, who had seen the flourishing Rite of Bejart's and appreciated its femininity in Graham's one, once again turned to the sacral music of Stravinsky. Working with the Kullberg Ballet troupe, he aspired to combine the idea of a radically new music (of the beginning of the century) with that of a radically new cinema (of the 60's). Stravinsky's music and Kurosawa's films, a synthesis of Western choreography and Oriental dance have become a benchmark of Ek's philosophy of ballet.

The version by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer with the Joffrey-Ballet troupe (1987), in whose making eyewitness accounts and memoirs, as well as archival materials, had been used, is considered the closest one to the original choreography by Wazlaw Nijinsky and the scenography by Nicholas Roerich.

On the Russian stage, The Rite of Spring first saw the spotlight in 1965 at the Bolshoy, choreographed by Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasilev. In 1969, it reached the banks of the Neva and was staged again by the same choreographers at the Malyi Opera and Ballet Theater of Leningrad. Later yet, they again staged The Rite of Spring at their own Classical Ballet Theater in Moscow.

The Russians on the other side haven't abstained from The Rite of Spring either. Baryshnikov has performed the part of the Youth in a Glenn Tetley production at the American Ballet Theater, while Valeri Panov had done the same at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and later again in Antwerp with the troupe of The Royal Ballet of Flanders.

The contemporary European versions of The Rite of Spring have little to do with the pagan ritual of the ancient Rus'. They are almost completely devoid of any Russian motifs. The text of the dance becomes capacious and multicultural, more and more intensive and polyphonic. In the latest versions that I have seen in Germany and Switzerland one by Richard Verlock in Basel, one by Antonio Gomez at the Mannheim Theater, and one by Ouri Vamos precedence over the contents and meaning of the action.

Whether in The Rite of Spring of the 21st century the toughness and aggression will prevail, such as have been so fashionable in the ballet constructions of the second half of the 20th century, time alone can prove. One might only suggest that the sacredness in that ritual sense which was originally assumed in the Stravinsky-Roerich libretto, given all tragic realities of the passed century, will assume more and more abstract and philosophical character, drifting away from the specific historical form of human sacrifice per se.





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