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Ballet stars arriving; Dance.

WHAT travels with 500 pairs of pointe shoes, 400 pairs of tights, 300 wigs, 250 tutus and 500 assorted costumes?

The answer is the renowned Kirov Ballet which arrives at the Lowry next week with a programme of work which includes Jewels, Don Quixote and a gala performance.

Behind the elegance and glamour on stage is years of training, lots of hard work and bags of resources.

Regarded as Russian ballet aristocracy The Kirov is renowned for its elegant style, its lyricism and the precision of its corps de ballet.

The company arrives in Salford for performances which run from Tuesday to Saturday.

With the company will be 90 dancers and 70 orchestra members, plus 65 specialist support staff who all tour with the company.

Those support staff include a masseur, costume and wig specialists, technicians, stage managers, lighting technicians, pianists and personal teachers for each soloist.

And during a week of hard work those 90 dancers are expected to get through 1,000 bottles of water.

Virtually all Kirov dancers are graduates of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St Petersburg.

Of the 4,000 a year who apply to get into the school just 300 even get an audition.

From these, the school selects about 60 and only 25 or so will complete the eight-year training course.

The Kirov has about 180 dancers, plus a reserve troupe of 30. Its corps de ballet has 66 girls and 53 boys.

At home in Russia the ballet company, along with the Kirov opera and orchestra companies, share the Mariinsky Theatre, which opened in 1860 and was named after Tsar Alexander II's wife Maria. Its magnificent decor has survived almost untouched since opening.

And one other thing changes when the company is on home soil; its name. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the company has reverted to its pre-Revolution name of Mariinksy. Only in the West do we continue to call them The Kirov, after an assassinated Communist Party leader.

For tickets call the box office on 0870 787 5793 or visit www.thelowry.com

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 9, 2008
Words:352
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