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Fateyev Discusses Mariinskys Direction in Ballet

Published: May 12, 2009 (Issue # 1473)



  • Yuri Fateyev, acting artistic director of the Mariinsky Theaters ballet troupe.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

Yuri Fateyev, in his mid-forties, was appointed by Valery Gergiev, head of the Mariinsky, as the acting artistic director of the theaters ballet nearly a year ago in, June 2008. A former dancer of this greatest of classical ballet companies, he was a good character dancer and one of his memorable roles was the jester in Swan Lake. Fateev was also the main repetiteur for the Mariinskys large repertory of ballets by Balanchine, and is a valued teacher to many male dancers including the Mariinsky star Igor Zelensky. He has also taught at overseas companies including the Royal Ballet in London.

I interviewed Fateyev last month in his spacious office in the Mariinsky Theater, not far from the office of his predecessor Makhar Vaziev, who has since become the director of La Scala Ballet in Milan.

Fateyev began by praising the achievements of his predecessor, I think that everything that has been done by Mr. Vaziev was not bad. I was actually working in Mr. Vazievs team. And according to his orders, I was working on the projects that he gave me to do, teaching the new ballets. We were working on the new premieres by Balanchine, Roland Petit and John Neumeier. I was assisting him. The major issue for me now is to keep the company in a good shape, and to achieve the highest standard of performance that has been the norm here for centuries. The other major issue is to bring up new young dancers, which has also been done before by Mr. Vaziev. Its also most important to me.

There are three major policies that have been established for the artistic development of the company. The first is to keep up the classical repertoire as we have it, and to maintain it to the highest standards. The second is to find new choreographers, to introduce new choreographies for the company. The third is to look into the past artistic history of the Mariinsky Theater, and to consider which ballets deserve to be restored or restaged.

But what new choreographers does he have in mind, besides the in-house choreographer Alexei Miroshnichenko who has created a number of ballets for the Mariinsky? Its very difficult to say for choreographers working for only half a year. It takes a very long time to bring up a choreographer. And its very difficult to find a good choreographer. Ive got some names in mind, but Id rather not say anything till Ive seen some real results of their work.

Last autumn, Fateyev promoted Alina Somova to a principal. It was a controversial decision, as there has been a lot of criticism of Somova distorting the classical line in her dancing. Fateyev explained, I thought that by that time Somova had really grown and deserved the status of a principal. Fateyev also brought into the Mariinsky earlier this year the star couple from the Mikhailovsky Theater Denis Matviyenko and his wife Anastasia Matviyenko.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during todays FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Todays event will discuss the BBC Two documentary Victorian Farm Christmas.



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



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