St Petersburg Ballet Theatre



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Italy     2010 
In the packed Teatro Ponchielli the audience’s emotions are palpable. It is looking forward to admiring one of the most important Russian ballet companies proving itself in La Bayadère, the great classic work of academic ballet created by the French ballet master, Marius Petipa in 1877 to Ludwig Minkus’ score. These great expectations were aroused by the only performance from the classical canon at the Cremona Festival, and were not to be frustrated. The Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre produced a performance shimmering with elegant grandiosity.

Three acts and four scenes transport the audience into the exotic atmosphere of far-away, fairy-tale India, populated by warriors, sacred dancers, potentates and Brahmins. The imposing and distinct sets serve as a backdrop to this tale of intrigue, which unites assorted elements in an intelligent crescendo. Above all, this is dance, sometimes pure, sometimes with shades of character dances, but always ennobled by supreme technical perfection. The genius of the choreography is supplemented by the virtues of the lead cast members’ performances who manage to impart, in a fairy-tale style, psychological depth to the characters of the tale. Finally, there are moments of ballet mime coloured with the hues of late romanticism, which, as if in meta-performance, revive the melodramatic character of 19th century taste. Irina Kolesnikova’s performance is splendid. It is as if the star of the company is surrounded by an aura; she is permeated with technical excellence and stage presence. Rapt attention is focussed upon her from the stalls, even the boldest of her steps do not in the slightest detract from the movement of her hand or her head because each one of her gestures is captivating in its clear simplicity and elegance.

La Bayadère provided a bright conclusion to the twenty-second festival of dance, which parted company with a public as loyal as it was varied. The rich choice of genres and styles was a credit to managing director Angela Cauzzi and all the Teatro Ponchielli’s management team. They gave us some really top class performances (the purity of the Alonzo King’s LINES company, the boldness of Rioult Dance New York, the technique of Nederlands Dans Theater and the metaphysics of Virgilio Sieni).They also provided us with performances that brought in a burst of novelty by bringing a new and heterogeneous audience to the theatrical world (the words of Ligabue chosen by Aterballetto, the resoluteness of the Brazilian Kafig and the passion of tango of Union Tanguera). There were eight performances aimed at researching all possible choreographic languages, from contemporary dance to tango, from hip-hop to classical academic dance, a supreme example of which the Cremona public was able to appreciate yesterday evening when it gave the highest marks to the delightful art we call dance

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