Last week the Baxter Theatre was so kind as to invite my better half, @wernerels, and I to another opening night performance, this time of the Imperial Russian Ballet Company. Believe it or not, even though I have many friends who are professional ballet dancers and am a huge fan of the art, last night was my very first “audience perspective” experience of a live performance — shocking, I know. And what a privilege for it to have been a performance of these exceptionally skilled athletes, yes athletes, who move so gracefully and with such absolute precision.

If it were not for dreams there would not be such a thing as ballet, the cruelest of the performing arts.

The Imperial Russian Ballet Company is one of the most successful and well-known ballet companies in Moscow. Their repertoire exceeds them, and consists of a number of outstanding full-length classical masterpieces, such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, as well as some modern choreography in some of their works. Founded in 1994 by Gedeminas Taranda and Nikolai Ankhine on the suggestion of well-known performer Maija Plisetzkaya, the company comprises of 40 classically trained dancers — 22 of which performed at last night’s show. Although their primary choreographic style is classical, they do, however, also indulge in modern dance and choreographic novelties, which means there really is something for everyone!

The principle dancers included the breathtaking soloist perfromer, Anna Pashkova, and her male counterpart, Narima Bekzhanov. These two, as well as the 37 year old Elena Colesnicenco, impressed me the most, but Ekaterina Tikanova, Duminica-Radamaria Nazerenco, Aleksanr Volkov, Arcadie Nazarenco, and the young Igor Subbotin followed hot on their heels. To put it simply, the made the impossible seem effortless.

Under the direction of innovative Artistic Director, Gediminas
Taranda, last night’s program consisted of different segments of larger productions, such as Sleeping Beauty, “Dying Swan” from the well-known piece Swan LakeWalpurgis Night, the one-act ballet from the opera Faust by Charles Gounod, cleverly using modern ballet with the musical genius of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana,  Adagio from the ballet Scheherezade by Rimsky-Korsakov, the classical Grand pas de deux (“dance for two”) from the ballet Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus, the moving solo piece, performed by the barefoot Anna Pashkova, using the haunting music Non Me Quitez Pas (Don’t Leave Me) of Jacques Brel, and finally the Can-Can Surprise by Jacques Offenbach to end off the evening with a bit of a laugh.

The only thing I can critique was the lighting and, on occasion, the timing of music. There were several noticeable errors in lighting design and execution. Spots were off aim, backstage shadows were seen, and, if I have to be picky, someone was a little over-eager with the smoke machine, which covered the first 6 rows of the audience . That being said, this does does not reflect on the stunning performance of the dancers in any way, who were, at all times, focused, timely and professional.

Author  George Borodin says it best …

Ballet is not technique, but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other.

Alexander Pushki once said:

Ballet is a dance executed by the human soul.

I agree. Three stamps of approval in my books!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s