Ah, the ballet: beautiful movement on stage, gorgeous costumes, glorious music. The French invented it, but the Russians perfected and honed it into jewels on stage. Montreal will be lucky enough to host the 3rd edition of Stars of the Russian Ballet at Theatre Outrement this coming Friday April 22. Their producer, Anastasia Kovalenko, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Angela Beaupre (AB): This is the 3rd Edition of The Stars of the Russian Ballet here in Montreal. What makes you continue to come back?
Anastasia Kovalenko (AK): The true love and proudness for Russian ballet. We preserve and develop our national art: classical ballet. This is our national treasure! Thanks to the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec for his support and to Théâtre Outremont for the long term collaboration, that allows us to offer a new edition, a very special program for our public.
AB: What made you choose the works that you are presenting this evening?
AK: This is a particular creation of Tchaikovsky, that Mr. Balanchine has not put on the stage. The Variation on Rococo theme which will be presented on the Outremont stage is the international premiere outside of Russia, it is a real diamond from the Ural Mountains. It is a very nice ballet, full of emotions, grace and the fine quality of the neo-classical ballet. In the second part of the evening, we present an exclusive program with the pieces from choreographers that were never performed in North America – the creations of Vaganova, the founder of the great Vaganova classical dance method, Assaf Messerer – the uncle of the great Maya Plisetskaya, virtuosic dancer.
AB: Based on the works being presented, you seem to be very interested in the modernization of Russian ballet. Do you feel that this is true?
AK: Russia is very far from Canada, we don’t even have a direct flight to Montreal! So, how can we imagine how are things there? Of course while preserving our traditions, we now have a new generation of choreographers and Mirochnitchenko is the most promising and the most talented of his generation. I’m proud to present his work for the first time out of Russia in North America.
AB: Does contemporary dance influence your work at all?
AK: Of course, for me, contemporary dance is a source of inspiration for new classical ballet. It is a very interesting and impressive art. Russian choreographers are always in connection with the contemporary art. I admire the Canadian artists like Louise Lecavalier, Anik Bissonnette. You have very talented choreographers! Peter Quanz already collaborates with Russian ballet, I see with a lot of interest ballets of Stephan Thoss and BJM dance is so bright. All contemporary dance gives ideas and provides an influence on classical ballet. My dream is to bring a Canadian contemporary dance company to Russia.
AB: What made you choose Tchaikovsky for Variations on Rococo Theme?
AK: Tchaikovsky created Rococo variations for cello. And it was one of a few pieces of Tchaikovsky which were never touched by Balanchine. This is the best combination of classical and new-classical style for me. For Russian critics and the public, this is one of the best creations for music of Tchaikovsky, except his three well-known ballets (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker). Perm has created all the operas and ballets of Tchaikovsky during its long history of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theater, and Variations on Rococo theme is one of the best creations. I invite the public and critics to see it and make their own opinion, I hope you will agree with the Russian critics.
Stars of the Russian ballet takes place at Theatre Outremont on April 22-23 at 8 p.m. witha matinee on April 23 at 2 p.m. $29 and up. Tickets HERE.