Novye Izvestia #34/2006
The "Summer Ballet Seasons" have ended in Moscow
Valery Kadzhaya


For the seventh year in a row, the artists of "Summer Ballet Seasons" played to packed houses. In the entrance of the Youth Theatre I once again heard the familiar inquiry "You don"t happen to have an extra ticket?" Entering into the hall, I was engulfed by the beloved and half forgotten atmosphere of the theatre: the balconies shone, the audience murmured in excited anticipation, and the curtain ascended with a dramatic swoosh. There, in Tchaikovsky's most lyrical ballet, I saw the characters so familiar to me from my childhood- Princess Aurora, Prince Desiree, the evil Carabosse Fairy and the kind Lilac Fairy.

Before the start of the show, I managed to have a look around- to my right was sitting a German couple, to my left- an English speaking couple with two small boys. And then behind me- a Hindi family, and in front- a whole row of Chinese tourists! But everyone asked for extra tickets in flawless Russian! And when I headed to the buffet during intermission, I was overjoyed to hear that my native Russian still predominated- I don"t have anything against Madonna and the other pop stars, but thank God there's still love for the classics!

But back to the performance. It was put on by the heiress of the celebrated ballet dynasty Anna Aleksidze along with the choreographer Anatolii Emelyanov. The former holds a degree from the Chabukiani Choreographic Institute in Tbilisi, the latter from the Perm Academic Choreographic Institute. They met in Moscow, where they were both leading soloists in the Children's Musical Theatre N. Satz, and also leading dancers of the Classical Ballet Theatre Smirnov-Golovanov. In 1992, Anna became a laureate of the Diagilev International Competition and in the same year, a laureate of the International Festival in Czczecin (Poland). They both graduated from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts and ten years later created their own troupe. Emelyanov discovered a talent for choreography, and he naturally wanted to see his ideas realized in his own productions.

Caption- Scene from Sleeping Beauty

Anna wrote the libretto. She had already proved herself to be a talented director, which is no less important than a talented manager. Regardless of their enormous workload, they both continued to dance. Together they have danced plenty of classical and modern roles all over the world. Their theatre, which they named Russian Classical Ballet, began to earn a solid reputation. They have been warmly received not only in Moscow, but also in the United States, England, Canada, Israel, Germany, Viet Nam and Shri Lanka. During the current season, they put on a production in Tanzania. R. K. Zateeva, director of the Cultural Institute in Dar-Es-Salam organized the tours.

Russian Classical Ballet's first production, "Head Winds", set to the music of Chopin, turned out astonishingly successfully. People's Artist of Russia Eleonora Vlasova, who was one of the few ever awarded the prestigious Anna Pavlova Prize by the Paris Academy of Dance, helped prepare the dancers. Anna Aleksidze had been one of her most beloved students, and therefore, upon hearing about the companies" preparations, Vlasova took a leave from her teaching duties in Chicago and flew to Moscow to help the young dancers. Vlasova saw Anna Aleksidze for the first time when Anna danced in the International Diaghilev Competition. Vlasova's experienced eyes immediately recognized the sixteen-year-old debutante's talent and invited her to dance in the Children's Musical Theatre, where she soon became a leading soloist.

The basis of Russian Classical Ballet's repertoire is made up of classical productions, including Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Carmen, and Chopiniana. These productions develop the dancers" professional abilities, and show the clean beauty of the choreography that is so revered by lovers of ballet. But at the same time, Anna and Anatolii created their theatre in order to converse with the audience in a new choreographic language. Anatolii has choreographed twelve productions, of which the following have been especially successful: "Yunona and Avos", set to the music of Rybnikov, "The Day Leaves the Earth", set to the music of Tchaikovsky, "Gypsy Melodies" and 'songs of Kursk", set to the music of Sviridov. Russian Classical Ballet is without a doubt one of Moscow's most interesting new ballet troupes. In regard to the choreography, direction, and mastery of the dancers (Elena Muzika, Anastasia Chumakova, Svetlana Kuzyanina, Olga Sizikh, Timur Kinzikeev) the troupe doesn"t lag behind their most venerable colleagues. In my childhood, I was fortunate enough to see in "Laurensia" the great Chabukiani and his legendary enormous circular jumps, which he created and performed for the first time in ballets history. More than half a century later, these jumps are still considered one of the most difficult aspects of male classical dance. In 'sleeping Beauty", I saw Sergei Chumakov flying through the air- a fitting continuation of Vakhtang Mikhailovich's legacy.