An evening of Russian Ballet in New Delhi.
It has been over one hundred years since Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929), a renowned Russian impresario and founder of Ballet Russes introduced Russian Ballet to the European public as a part of the large cultural project known as Russian Seasons. Famous for an innovative and sometimes daring approach, experimentation, and high artistic and professional skills. Diaghilev's Ballet company included ‘the best of the best‘ - ballet stars such as Anna Pavlova, Adolph Bolm, Tamara Karsavina, and Vaslav Nijinsky. One of his most legendary ballet productions was Le Sacre du printemps ("The Rite of Spring”) performed on music written by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky with stage and costume designs made by Nicholas Roerich. The production set the demanding Parisian audience on fire. and created new and unconventional forms in classical dance. These reminiscences come along as one is witness to a remarkable performance by the Russian Ballet Company from the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre known also as one of the largest and most technically advanced theatres in Russia. The building of this Bolshoi of Siberia surpassed its famous counterpart in the Russian capital. The evening was a part of the Russian Cultural festival in India which started early November 2014 and was sponsored by the Embassy of the Russian Federation and ICCR.
Held at Siri Fort auditorium in late December, the performance was indeed the best New Year's gift for lovers of dance and art.
The performance began with the mysterious scene titled ‘The Shades‘ from Act III of "Labayadere", choreographed by Marius Petipa where shades of 32 ballerinas. one by one. appear in the blue, shimmering light of the stage. The scene, which is built on a mesmerising repetition of one similar movement, was a genuine artistic discovery by the Russian ballet master M. Petipa. Stunning in its beauty, this scene demonstrates in all its brilliance the professionalism of the solo artists and corps de ballet - the same body position of each dancer, a flat line of hands raised in dimensional motion, a continuous pattern of arabesque, and a simultaneous rise in the jump. By its large and complex composition, the pictorial demonstration ‘The Shades' is comparable only to that of the swan scene in the “Swan Lake" ballet.The leading roles of this part of Labayadere' was performed by the solo artists of the Novosibirsk Theatre, Anna odintsova and Sergei Polunin.
The second part of the concert demonstrated a ballet in one act. Grand pas Classique from the ballet "Paquita" with sparkling music composed by Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917) and the brilliant work of choreographer M.Petipa.
In 1847, Paquita was staged for the first time in Russia for the Imperial Ballet of St.Petersburg, and was the first work ever staged by Petipa in Russia. In 1881. M. Petipa produced a revival of the ballet for which he added new pieces specially composed by L. Minkus.
Grand Pas is a ‘wedding’ act of the ballet and a complicated dance, where the highest step of the hierarchy is occupied by a magnificently virtuoso ballerina. All top- class soloists and the best of corp de ballet take part in this act, "...no plot, no story left behind, but just a triumphant love, youth and Spanish fervor," wrote a Russian dance critic. "Cascades of dances and sparkles of variations - this is the great Grand pas."
The radiance, delight and music emanating from the stage where one dance group was changing another one. followed by a new musical piece - left no one indifferent in the auditorium and left an unforgettable impression on everyone present.
(Acknowledgements: Indian Council for Cultural Relatlons (ICCR) and The Embassy of the Russian Federation, New Delh.)