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The thrill of exactitude

For lovers of dance, the 13th Mariinsky International Ballet Festival promises to amaze.

Published: February 27, 2013 (Issue # 1748)



  • Olga Yesina of the Wiener Staatsballet in Swan Lake is set to be a highlight of the current festival.
    Photo: FOR SPT

Works by the groundbreaking American choreographer William Forsythe will take center stage at the forthcoming 13th Mariinsky International Ballet Festival, which kicks off Feb. 28.

March 3 will see the revivals of William Forsythes ballets The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Almost a decade after these ballets originally premiered at the Mariinsky Theater, a completely new generation of Mariinsky dancers is learning Forsythes distinctive choreographic language. Forsythe is coming to St. Petersburg in person for a few days to supervise the final rehearsals of the ballets and attend the premiere of the revivals.

The choreographer is also bringing his Frankfurt-based troupe, The Forsythe Company, which he created in 2005, to the city to present his ballet N.N.N.N. Created for four male dancers, the minimalist piece celebrates masculinity and intensity.

The imagery borrows from sports, martial arts, artificial respiration, and just plain goofing around, wrote ballet critic Tobi Tobias in her review of the production for Artsjournal.com. Fighting and bonding, Forsythe seems to be saying, thats what men do, and the clue to their nature is that they do it simultaneously.

The Forsythe troupe is Company-in-Residence at both the Hellerau European Center for the Arts in Dresden and the Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt am Main.

On March 9 the company is staging a creative workshop by young choreographers, at which aspiring Russian ballet masters will showcase their works. After the performance the Mariinsky will hold a discussion of the pieces, and if these choreographic experiments win enough critical support, they may enter the theaters repertoire. The workshop starts at 15:00.

The festival also features gala performances by Mariinsky soloists Yekaterina Kondaurova (March 5) and Vladimir Shklyarov (March 8).

Kondaurova thrives on eccentricity, her most successful parts being tormented heroines of the likes of Anna Karenina in Alexei Ratmanskys ballet, for which she was awarded the coveted Golden Mask prize, Russias most prestigious theatrical award; the vindictive princess Gamsatti in La Bayadère; and Alma Schindler in Glass Heart, the story of a love triangle between Schindler, her husband the composer Gustav Mahler and her teacher, composer Alexander Zemlinsky, to whose score the ballet was created.

For her gala, Kondaurova has chosen the George Balanchine ballet Jewels, where she will appear in all three parts: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds.

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Monday, Dec. 1


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