What does the ballet look like?  Excerpts from The Guardian with Japanese translation.

ロシアでは、バレエとは?The Guardianからの抜粋と、意訳です。


Ballet really matters in Russia. “That’s very good for us,” says Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova. “But it can also be part of our problem.” For generations, tsars spent lavishly on the two main companies, the Mariinsky in St Petersburg and the Bolshoi in Moscow. During the Soviet era, Stalin made regular use of his private box at the Bolshoi, promoting it as a “people’s art”. There are close personal links between the Kremlin and a select band of dancers and choreographers.


Ballet is also a source of passion and pride among ordinary Russians. According to Xander Parish, the young British dancer who made history by joining the Mariinsky three years ago, “there are posters for ballet performances all around St Petersburg, and ballet documentaries are always being shown on TV. In the theatre, I see people who look as though they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. But there’s an expression on their faces, an intensity that I don’t think I ever saw at Covent Garden.”


The Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato, who now lives in St Petersburg, concurs. “You feel a reverence here that’s very special. When you walk into the Vaganova school [the city’s 250-year-old ballet academy], it’s as though you’re entering a temple.”


There’s also a new, or newly renovated, ballet company on the block. In 2007, Russian billionaire Vladimir Kekhman, who made his fortune from fruit importation (his nickname is the Banana King), was casting around for a project to absorb his profits: instead of a football club or a newspaper, he chose a ballet company.


The Mikhailovsky theatre in St Petersburg was founded in 1833, as a stage for all genres of live performance. Although in the shadow of its grander rival, its grander rival, the Mariinsky, it came to prominence during the early 20th century as a home for experimental ballet and opera, producing works such as Shostakovich’s The Bright Stream. By the time Kekhman set his sights on it, it was languishing artistically, making it perfect for reinvention.


Appointing himself general manager, Kekhman spent nearly $60m on restoring the building and acquiring star names. He poached the golden Bolshoi couple Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev; he appointed Duato as artistic director and creator of a new contemporary repertory; and he employed the renowned ballet master Mikhail Messerer to take care of the 19th- and 20th-century classics.



At the Mariinsky, the divisions are different, with conservatives focusing on the famous academic purity of the company’s style. If the Bolshoi’s trademark is Grigovorich’s blunt, swaggering Spartacus, the Mariinsky is known for its immaculate productions of 19th-century classics such as Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.


These don’t exclude the acquisition of newer ballets, including those of postmodernist choreographer William Forsythe. According to Parish, when auditions were held for the casting of Forsythe’s male quartet NNNN, “there was standing room only in the studio”.


Yet these acquisitions were too much of a rarity to satisfy the former Mariinsky principal Leonid Sarafanov, who defected to the Mikhailovsky in 2011. “No company dances the classics as well as the Mariinsky, but for me it felt like a dead end. What was left for me to do? Some extra pirouettes in my Swan Lake variation? To work closely with a choreographer like Nacho is like hitting the jackpot. With him it’s a completely different way of using your body, a different plastique. I can feel myself dancing much better now.”




Published on 25 Apr 2012 by MariinskyEn



Uploaded on 26 Dec 2010 by hookham



Uploaded on 27 Oct 2010 by deutschewelleenglish