MARYINSKY INTERNATIONAL BALLET FESTIVAL.
The nine-day Maryinsky International Ballet Festival brought together guest artists from American Ballet Theatre, the Bolshoi, and The Royal Ballet, among others, to dance five internationally known classics: Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Giselle, Don Quixote, and Swan Lake. Two evenings showcased segments from Russian classical ballets; the more interesting of these featured the second act of Yuri Grigorovich's Legend of Love, followed by a suite from Nina Anisimova's 1942 ballet Gayane, with music by Aram Khachaturian and the original choreography reconstructed for this occasion by Voldemar Korneyev. These exemplified the variety of bright character dances and the most interesting pas d'action, done in the tradition of Petipa's ensembles.
The height of the festival was the gala performance, which kept the audience's attention for the full four and one-half hours. No festival will become a real event if the performers aren't up to its choreographic challenges; fortunately, these dancers were. The invitation of five internationally prominent male ballet stars showed that the Kirov's ballerinas were equal to the skills of their partners. All the guests turned out to be spectacular soloists, and incredible partners as well.
In Legend of Love, the Bolshoi's Nikolai Tsiskaridze was Ferkhard, the object of Shyrin's (Maya Dumchenko) and Mekhmeneh Banu's (Yulia Makhalina) affection. He was so attuned to the Eastern hero's sensibilities that his macho characterization didn't overshadow his obvious talent.
Ethan Stiefel, as Apollo, led his muses (Svetlana Zakharova, Irna Golub, and Darya Pavlenko) with the greatest of ease. His hero was young, with the marbled Olympus still in his future. Zakharova is no longer just a promising young soloist with ideal visual lines; today, she is a young talent who honors the St. Petersburg stage with her grace and beauty. Her partner in La Bayadere was Jose Manuel Carreno, a master of regal--though slightly cold and technically modern--dance. Another talented student of the Cuban choreographic school was Carlos Acosta, who, in Don Quixote was no less technical, more temperamental, and prone to tricks that delighted viewers, despite his flouting of classical convention.
All the guest artists were warmly received, but two couples drew special attention. Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelensky danced Le jeune homme et la mort with energy and emotion, infusing the ballet (created more than fifty years ago in post-war Paris) with drama and realism. In Giselle, Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov didn't look like partners simply thrown together for a festival performance, but more like a completely formed duo whose artistic creativity was beautifully displayed. Vishneva was also incredibly inviting in the pas de deux from Manon. Malakhov was very well received in Renato Zanella's Voyage (music by Mozart)--his crowning number was his portrayal of a touring artist.
Event organizers emphasized that this festival was to be the first of many. Its success leaves us hoping that it will become an annual event.
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|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2001|
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