IRREPRESSIBLE EIFMAN BRINGS BALLET STATESIDE.
In the last twenty-four months, which included a second New York engagement last year, the St. Petersburg-based company has enjoyed the kind of success that one associates with Broadway shows, where critical and audience acclaim can lead to national touring rather quickly. That's not usually the way it works in dance.
But then there is nothing usual about Boris Eifman, the company's fifty-three-year-old founder and artistic director. His works are idiosyncratic ruminations and personal takes on history, in which highly theatrical values are as important as individual steps. This is a balletic genre which in this country is more closely associated with the works of Maurice Bejart and Roland Petit than George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton. Red Giselle, the ballet most frequently performed on this tour, is a meditation on the life and art of ballerina Olga Spessivtseva; Tchaikovsky tries to look at the composer in terms of his tortured sexuality. In New York the company will also perform Eifman's Russian Hamlet and My Jerusalem.
Eifman Ballet may appear to be an overnight success in this country, but its choreographer has been at it since 1977 when, against all odds, he founded his own ballet company and refused to buckle under to political pressure to either conform or ship out, surviving with his integrity and his company intact. He had to make a go of it without subsidies for years, and his dancers lived on what they could make touring the former Soviet Union, with occasional tours in Western Europe as well.
Last fall when he came through the Bay Area to reconnoiter the Palace of Fine Arts, where the company will perform in May, Eifman described himself as pleased with his current situation in Russia. "It's quite satisfactory and stable and a lot better than it was ten years ago," he said through an interpreter. "I have good rehearsal spaces and beautiful offices." Today he receives between fifteen and twenty percent of his budget from the government. Far from being outcasts, in January Eifman Ballet performed at the Bolshoi. In St. Petersburg, the company calls the Kirov, the Alexandranski, and the Maly theaters home. Not bad for a longtime outsider whose time finally may have come.
Tour 2000 will take Eifman Ballet to New York City (March 29-April 16), Boston (March 24-26 and April 20-22), Minneapolis (April 25-26), Chicago (April 28-31), San Francisco (May 2-4), Los Angeles (May 5-7), Dallas (May 9-10), Denver (May 12-13) and Colorado Springs (May 14).
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|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2000|
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