St Petersburg Ballet Theatre

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Japan     2011 2006 
The Konstantin Tachkin Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre has visited Japan once more after a seven year break. The tour, which was due to take place in April, was postponed until May due to the Great Eastern Japanese Earthquake. “Swan Lake” was performed in Tokyo four times. This theatre company was founded in 1994 as Russia’s first independent theatre. The company is now on a world tour and has been looking forward with interest to seeing Irina Kolesnikova’s portrayal of the Odette – Odile character. Irina is a graduate of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, is now approaching her thirtieth year and has danced the role more than seven hundred times.

The ballet is based on the choreography of Petipa and Ivanova in Sergeev’s production, but this “Swan Lake” has been staged exclusively for Kolesnikova. Above all, from the moment Odette appears on the stage in the adagio, the music is played in a rather calm tempo by the Tokyo Theatre Orchestra under the baton of Vadim Nikitin, and in many poses Kolesnikova seems to soar up into the heavens in the character of Odette. This is a very effective production that allows the Prima to stand out even more. Later, a small change caught my eye as she performed an arabesque instead of the usual jeté. Apart from that, as opposed to many contemporary young Russian ballerinas who offer a relatively simple interpretation of the White Swan character, Kolesnikova’s Odette is emotional and replete with feminine attractiveness. It is striking how such an original and thrilling persona can be created. In the character of Odile, she is a captivating queen with a special aura; she demonstrates her mastery of spins and turns and the rapid tempo of her grands fouetés was met with thunderous applause.

A young dancer named Oleg Yaromkin from Belorussia performed the role of Siegfried. He possesses good height and a noble appearance and although he was very much in Odette’s shadow, in the Black Swan grand pas de trois he demonstrates an ability to dance in the classical style. It would be nice to think that he will develop in the future (see photo, above). Two female Japanese dancers, Aoki Ayami and Kobayasi Mina, were also among the soloists.

The majority of the members of this ballet company are graduates of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, but Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova stands head and shoulders above them all, and you cannot help but sense the difference in class between her and the corps de ballet and soloists.

One will want to follow any future activity and work on any new repertoire that might be undertaken by Kolesnikova, an artist who has come into the world and announced herself as a new phenomenon in the ballet world of a Russia that is moving along the road of liberalisation.

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