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Lords of the dance

Published: March 17, 2006 (Issue # 1153)



  • Ballet star Igor Zelensky, one of three male dancers honored at the Sixth International Mariinsky Ballet Festival running this week.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

A reconstruction of a 19th-century French classic, a new cutting-edge piece set to music of Dmitry Shostakovich with the plot inspired by Nikolai Gogolss The Overcoat and a delicious cocktail of the choreography of Marius Petipa, George Balanchine and William Forsythe are at the heart of the Sixth International Mariinsky Ballet Festival which opened Thursday with Pierre Lacottes revival of Jules Perrot 1843 Ondine.

The event, launched by the Mariinskys artistic director Valery Gergiev in 2001 as a counterweight to Gergievs other brainchild, the Stars of the White Nights festival which runs each June, assembles a pantheon of ballet stars from Londons Covent Garden, the Opera de Paris, the New York City Ballet, the Bavarian State Ballet and Moscows Bolshoi Theater. The summer event, Stars of the White Nights emphasises opera and symphonic concerts, and balletomanes sometimes feel hard done by. But with this weeks sumptuous ballet fiesta nobody has cause for complaint.

During last years event, the Mariinsky restored the lost tradition of tribute evenings to its brightest ballet stars.

Before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the Imperial Ballet organized annual tribute performances to the companys brightest dancers and its corps de ballet. In 2005, the companys three principal ballerinas Diana Vishnyova, Daria Pavlenko and Ulyana Lopatkina took center stage to be honored in this way.

At this years festival, all eyes will be on male principal dancers: Igor Zelensky and Farukh Ruzimatov will be celebrated on Thursday and Friday (March 24) respectively. Perhaps due to the lack of a third obvious Mariinsky star, keeping them a company will be Bolshoi Theater principal Nikolai Tsiskaridze who occasionally comes from Moscow to guest at the Mariinsky. Tsiskaridze will be honoured on Wednesday.

Tsiskaridze will appear in Balanchines Rubies, Petits Le Jeune Homme et La Mort and Forsythes In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.

Zelensky opted for Balanchines Apollo and Diamonds as well as a modern work to be announced later. The New York City Ballet ballerina Maria Kowroski will partner Zelensky in Apollo.

Svetlana Zakharova, who after parting ways with the Mariinsky was the companys biggest recent loss, returns to take part in the festival by partnering Zelensky in Balanchines Diamonds on Thursday.

After the long-limbed Mariinsky principal dancer left to join the troupe of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, her schedule has been too tight to allow for more than two appearances in St. Petersburg each season.

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Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegations visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmChams Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.