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In this issue | Short summary
  5 [141] September - October 2006 

The BALLET THEME column invites the readers to participate in a conversation between reporter Stanislava Shchukova and conductor Alexander Sotnikov. The main idea of the interview is presented in its very title: A Ballet Conductor Has Two Scores One Musical and one Choreographic. Indeed, the profession of ballet conductor is very peculiar and absolutely unique. This is not a new problem, and it has more than once been addressed in magazines publications. Today, we are offered an insight of what conductors themselves think of it. Do they believe a specialization in the business of conducting is necessary? Alexander Sotnikov, one of the sought-after Russian musicians, who has worked with troupes of different styles all over Russia and in many other countries, shares his reflections upon the specific character of ballet conducting, upon qualities a maestro should possess, and upon the current situation in the world of dance. Incidentally, quite recently he cooperated with Boris Eifman at the staging of the ballet Tchaikovsky on stage of the Staatsoper of Berlin. 

 The BALLET-PARADE column contains several articles.
Yelena Presniakova reports of the First National Festival of Choreographic Art of Russian Towns and Medium-Sized Cities titled Ballet My Dream held within the framework of the open forum, The Arts of the Russian Provinces. The festival was held at the town of Pokhvistnevo, Samara Oblast. The forum has concluded that the culture of classical dance in the Russian provinces is reviving. Such is the opinion of Sergey Filatov, Chairman of the Festivals jury and Chairman of Choreography at the Russian Academy of Theatrical Arts, who shared his impressions of the festival, of the ways the festivals program had been composed, and how the judging criteria had been developed. 

The Dance Open Festival in St. Petersburg enjoys a high reputation for having a broad democratic soul. Ballet critic Natalia Zozulina seconds the opinion, writing, The Dance Open is mainly held in ballet classes, and its cornerstone is mentorship in the profession, which all those who are willing might get in touch with. There are scores of such people coming from all over Russia and abroad. The Festival the writer reports on was held recently for the fifth time. The Mariinsky Theater ballet repetiteurs Lubov Kunakova and Sergei Berezhnoy held master classes first, followed by foreign masters. Young artistes had had a chance to take classes under instructors from the Mariinsky as well as from the A. Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, such as Irina Chistiakova, Elvira Tarasova and Gennadi Seliutsky. Choreographer Vassili Medvedev reviews the festival in an interview presented here by Elena Popova.

A little part of me will live in anyone who is ever to dance on stage. These words uttered by Rudolf Nureyev have long become the motto of the festival movement that took start in the city of Ufa over ten year ago. Nina Zhilenko reports of the 12th Rudolf Nureyev International Festival of Ballet Art, whose honorary president was Yuri Grigorovich. Many Russian and foreign artists consider it an honor to dance in Nureevs hometown and on the stage which retains memories of his young inspiration. Dancers from Brazil, Italy, Belgium, and France have visited here. This years Festival was held within the framework of the festivities honoring the 450th anniversary of the annexation of Bashkiria to Russia. The audiences of Ufa had warmly welcomed the Kremlin Ballet Theater of Moscow, which presented the Sergey Prokofiev ballet Romeo and Juliet staged by Yuri Grigorovich and two productions in the rendition of the Theaters leader Andrei Petrov Napoleon Bonaparte to the music of Tikhon Khrennikov and Ruslan and Lyudmila  to Mikhail Glinkas opera score arranged for ballet by V. Agafonnikov. Les Sylfides with Mariinskys principal dancers became a lyrical center of the Festival. A Spanish pair in Don Quixote enjoyed a great success. The principals of National Opera of Latvia who performed the major parts in The Sleeping Beauty exercised self-restraint well befitting their Baltic characters. 

Moscow Limelight was lit in the capital city for the sixth time and once again gathered troupes and principal dancers representing different dimensions of contemporary dance. We do not confine our participants within this or that style, Nikolai Basin says. The only thing that matters for us is the harmony of music, dance and human body. This years geographical scope includes Germany, Holland, Spain, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Canada, South Africa, and, of course, Russia. The productions shown there left mixed impressions, but each one did expand the Moscow audiences perceptions of such a complex phenomenon as contemporary dance, enriched their knowledge of its diverse styles and of direction in which different national schools develop, and introduced new and interesting artistes, the seekers of the new in choreography. 

Rustic Gatherings of Tver is material presented by Galina Inozemtseva. The region of Tver is the homeland of Tatiana Ustinova, a great 20th century choreographer. Even having become a world-renowned master she had never forgotten her native land and had always strived to keep aflame the love of folk arts among her countrymen. She had always promoted folk dance and supported local amateur dancers. The T. A. Ustinova Regional Russian Folk Dance Competition is held in Tver every other year and in 2006 was held for the tenth time. Its organizers, the Tver Regional House of Folk Arts and the Department of Culture of the Oblast of Tver, have declared the competition open, which made it possible to invite participants from other oblasts those of Moscow, Tambov, and Vologda. As a result, the competition proved rather large scale as almost thirty collective participants came to Tver. Chairperson of the Competition, Lidia Ustinova, the daughter of Tatiana Ustinova, relates of the details of the Competitions progress. 
The column A NAME IN BALLET presents an essay by Roman Volodchenkov about the Kremlin Ballet Theater prima ballerina Janna Bogoroditskaya.
The NEW BALLET column presents Russian theaters premiere productions.
The Opera and Ballet Theater of Yekaterinburg gave birth to an unusual Don Quixote, one of those productions that have of late come to be dubbed exclusive. Alexander Maksov, who attended the opening night, was spellbound by the organic combination of the canon and the originality wrought by the troupes leader Viatcheslav Gordeyev, who chose to present the story of the Ingenious Hidalgo in his own way. The external optimism of the well-known ballet story conceals the loneliness of two idealists

Alena Korchagina reflects upon the notion that provincial theaters are a salvation for young choreographers. In those theaters, the young neophytes who are just acquiring a name for themselves manage to embody their designs much more often than they do in big-city ones. Among them is Nicholai Markelov, a graduate of the A. Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballets Choreography Department. He was cordially accepted into the Opera and Ballet Theater of Izhevsk (the capital city of Udmurtia) and soon put forth an exciting world premiere, that of the two-act ballet Gone With the Wind to the musical collage compiled of the tunes by various composers including A. Dvorak, F. Mendelssohn, V. Salmanov, A. Schoenberg, and A. Schnitke. 

Valeri Vladimirov presents a detailed analysis of the new production of Notre Dame de Paris at the Musical Theater of Irkutsk. Having made the  cathedral itself the principal character of the spectacle, its creators staging choreographer S. Kurianinov and art director N. Mikhailov, both of Krasnoyarsk shifted the emphasis from the sphere of scenery to that of plastique as far, of course, as the music by Ts. Puni allows for. S. Kurianinovs choreographic language is traditional both in the carnival scenes and in palace episodes, where the antique pantomime looks both exquisite and ironic at the same time  In the scenes full of ominous pathos the judgment and condemnation of Esmeralda, the stake, and especially Claudes preaching the major accents are put in a manner precisely calculated to whet the audiences impressions. The epilogue is in fact a monologue of Quasimodo, who, in despair of his poetic dream lost, beats about the pinnacles top as if on a peak of the cathedrals mountain range and clappers its bells tongs as if ringing a worldwide alarm of his great pain.

Contemporary dance is able to turn emptiness into an audible and visible plot. Like any kind of poetry, it has to poise itself between the specific and sensual on the one hand and the universal and abstract on the other, opines Vladimir Mirzoyev. In support of his view he brings forth the production by choreographer Larisa Aleksandrova An Upwind Journey. Two young couples make up a quartet which easily breaks up onto nocturnal duos which in turn break up further still Sometimes the choreographer freezes half a step short of her own thought. The executioner and his victim must switch places because they inevitably and inescapably reflect each other Contemporary dance is, of course, a marginal art form, and yet it is here that the genuine poetry of the stage takes its abode. An Upwind Journey is a brutal spectacle, yet it is poetry and storm rather than just a phys-ed class. 

Towards the end of its 75th anniversary season, the Opera and Ballet Theater of Samara issued a premiere production of the ballet Beatles Forever! reviewed here by Valeri Ivanov. 
The idea of a ballet about the legendary foursome of Liverpool was conceived by Nadezhda Malygina, who is also the ballets librettist and staging choreographer. She also commissioned the music to Arthur Mitinian, a symphonist composer and once leader of rock-group, who had created compositions in the style of oriental rock. Beatles Forever! was designed in a non-orthodox format, being not just an action ballet but rather a generalized construct, which should, on the one hand, communicate the spirit of The Beatles as a unique phenomenon to which the middle generation of our contemporaries had been of an age, and, on the other hand, correspond to aesthetic criteria and tastes of the diverse audiences belonging to the new century The spirit of the production proved akin to the young artistes. They present the many-faced character of us which is embodied with rare energy and enthusiasm. 
Larissa Abyzova presents a lengthy article on the occasion of the great composer Dmirty Shostakovichs centennial. He, just like P. I. Tchaikovsky, composed the music for three ballets. Yet, while Tchaikovskys works have been alive on stage for well over a hundred years, the ballets of Shostakovich only started their theatrical life-journey in the late 20th century.
The writer depicts the turbulent and eventful 1930s and, on their background, the young Shostakovich just in his twenties. He frequents the Mariinsky Theater and admires its remarkable masters. This was not, therefore, an accident that he turned to ballet and wrote the score of The Golden Age. A year later, in 1931, he composed the ballet A Screw-bolt, and after a short while, in 1935, A Bright Stream. The fate of the composers ballet legacy had been tragic. A series of unfair bans turned him away from ballet theater for ever. Still, his music lives on stage. Today there is every reason to speak of Shostakovichs ballet theater. Two works are the most popular The Leningrad Symphony by Igor Belsky and A Damsel and a Bully by Constantin Boyarsky. His music attracts many ballet masters both in Russia and abroad. The writer presents a detailed analysis of the anniversary performances on stage of the Mariinsky Theater. 

The WORLD OF BALLET column opens with the article The Logbook of Pina Baucsh by Victor Ignatov. The German dancer, choreographer and film director, director of Wuppertal Tanztheater has for over quarter century fruitfully cooperated with the Paris Opera Ballet. Each year the Wuppertal troupe has closed the season in Paris, and each year it has been sold out. This year it was Rough Cut created in Seoul, which had hosted the troupe during 2005.

Igor Zapravdin presents news from the ballet troupe of the Vienna Staatsopera, which has more and more often manifested the trend towards preservation of classical dance traditions. Their last premiere, that of the ballet Onegin, confirms that view. This is not just a choreographic rendition of Pushkins masterpiece but rather a story of the state of Russian soul recreated on stage by the outstanding choreographer John Cranco with an amazingly delicate handling and even with awe. The nearest plans of the Staatsopera include a comeback of yet another masterpiece of J. Crancos Romeo and Juliet by S. Prokofiev. 

Dance Everybody! is a sketch by Svetlana Naborshchikova covering the Kuopio Dance Festival which takes place at the popular Finnish resort Kuopio. The organizers take a special pride in the diversity of dance. Besides professional performances, the Festivals program includes numerous training courses ranging from classical to break dance, and makes sure to present local amateur dance companies. The amateur dancers perform just about anywhere as long as any spot, even barely suitable, presents itself, be it a club, park or town square. 
The only Russian company participating in the Festival was the dance group of the Pskov Choir, the city of Pskov being  a sister-city of Kuopio. The writer also recalls the performances by two European companies the youth troupe of the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT-2) and the Italian company  Aterbaletto.

The advisory A Return of the Swans informs of the main event at the National Theater of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) a comeback of Swan Lake after fifteen years absence. The Russian choreographer Vassili Medvedev, who staged the Tchaikovsky ballet, kept intact the famous swan scenes staged by Lev Ivanov. 

Clara Antonova and Sergey Chadov present the first part of the article The Architects of the Theater dealing with the ballet troupe of Cheliabinsk. 29 September, 1956, the day the new theater in Cheliabinsk was open, became a birthday, not only of opera, but of the Cheliabinsk ballet. The ballet troupe appeared on stage already at the very first performance that of the opera Prince Igor, in the Dances of Polovtsians, and a few days later showed the immortal creation of P. I. Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake. The article covers in detail the first two decades of the Cheliabinsk ballet, its choreographers and coaches. A discussion of the companys present-day life will follow. To be continued. 

Ballet Class by Nina Krotova is dedicated to the jubilee of the State Choreography School of Novosibirsk. December of 1956 is the starting point in the history of this unique school. Fifty years, 44 graduate classes, over 600 ballet artists! It all began when the USSR Ministry of Culture decreed a creation of a choreography school in the capital city of Siberia, since the young and growing Opera and Ballet Theater of Novosibirsk desperately needed cadre. The theater was first open in the victorious May of 1945. The grand building symbolized, as it were, the moral courage of the Siberians. During the first decade the troupe had acquired some bright ballet artists, alumni of the major choreography schools, mainly of Moscow and Leningrad. The article goes on to present the coaches who pioneered the ballet training in Novosibirsk, the choreographers who staged the first productions in the austere Siberian climes, and the students who have glorified the school. The article is to be continued in the next issue. 

The INFORM-BALLET column is, as usual, diverse of topic.
The sketch A Wonder of Selection by Olga Shkarpetkina covers a result-presenting concert by the students of the Bolshoy Theater School in Brazil held on the New Stage of the Bolshoy in Moscow. The program was comprised of the divertimento and suite from The Nutcracker in the choreographic rendering and staging by Vladimir Vasiliev. 

Anna Chernetsovas sketch is dedicated to one of the Russian followers of Isadora Duncan, Ludmila Nikolaevna Alekseeva, who created her own training system of rhythmic harmony. Alekseevas gymnastics has been around for over ninety years now and has lost no appeal, which was yet again proven by a result-presenting concert by the Artistic Movement Studio under Inessa Kulagina. 

Roman Volodchenkovs sketch covers the premiere of the ballet Martin Luther that took place in Moscow at the Salut Cultural Palace. The two-act spectacle about the life of the great church reformer was staged by Dmitry Bugayev, a young choreographer from Saratov. The premiere was also a presentation of a new company, The Theater of Russian Ballet, headed by D. Bugayev. 

August 1, 2006, became the birthday of the Choreography School of Saratov. It was a dream come true for the local votaries of Terpsichore (the Opera and Ballet Theater of Saratov is 75 years old, and the Russian Folk Choir of the Volga with a unique dance company has existed there for over 50 years). Long have they dreamed of a specialized school for training professional ballet artists. Valery Ivanov covers this important event in the life of the Samara province. 
Maria AleksandrovaSvetlana Lunkina
Alexander Maksovs article deals with debuts at the closing of the season at the Bolshoy Theater. Yekaterina Krysanova danced the principal part in Cinderella, while her schoolmate Anna Nikulina did Princes friend in Swan Lake. The debut of Maria Aleksandrova as Carmen proved memorable. Among the debutants were Svetlana Lunkina, Yegor Khromushin, Nina Kaptsova, Viacheslav Lopatin, and Karim Abdullin. Artiom Shpilevsky, formerly principal dancer of the Berlin Staatsopera, marked his joining the Bolshoy Ballet with a successful debut as Espada in Don Quixote.