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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, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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