Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA and The Pygmalion Effect amazed the North American audience and critics
On June 9, the North American tour was wrapped up by Eifman Ballet’s final performance in New York. Over the course of five weeks, the Company presented its works to the audiences of Canada and the United States. The tour covered, aside from the Big Apple, Toronto, Chicago, Costa Mesa and Berkeley. It was organized by Ardani Artists Management, a long-standing partner of Eifman Ballet which has been representing the Company in North America for more than 20 years.
The Canadian audience saw the production Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA, dedicated to life and career of the composer. To the U.S. the Company brought the premiere of 2019 – The Pygmalion Effect set to the music of Johann Strauss the Son – the new interpretation of the myth about the sculptor who fell in love with his creation, a statue of a beautiful lady.
Again, the St. Petersburg company’s repertoire and virtuosity won all hearts of the North American audience. Each performance got standing ovations. Enthusiastic comments filled in the social media. “Another absolutely breathtaking ballet by Boris Eifman!” summed up a Toronto resident, who saw Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA (@modernmommy_toronto / Instagram). The Pygmalion Effect got similar feedback. “Timeless, breathtaking beauty,” described the premiere one of the American viewers (@nadia_lincoln / Instagram). Another review on the new production: “Boris Eifman is without a doubt the finest choreographer of our times” (Kathleen Epstein in the comments on DanceTabs).
Critics also shared theatregoers’ opinion. In particular, See Chicago Dance called The Pygmalion Effect “a dazzling spectacle that cracks open stereotypes of what ballet is all about while paying homage to its enduring traditions”. Chicago Tribune highlighted “amazing stagecraft” and “exceptional dancing”. Bachtrack called the plastique language of The Pygmalion Effect “wild and heterogeneous”. DanceTabs, continuing on the subject and giving four stars out of five to the ballet, pointed out that “the choreography, performances and design all riveted with drama, intensity and humor”.
Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA appeased the press not less. “This is contemporary ballet; the expression is big, the style is free, the lifts are daring and original, and Eifman’s soloists and corps de ballet are able to execute the bold choreography with panache,” Mooney on Theatre commented on ballet about iconic Russian composer.
Reviewers paid much attention to the unique dancing skills of the Company. “Lyubov Andreyeva as Gala endears herself to the audience with her gamine enthusiasm for life, a slightly naughty sense humor, and an elastic body that elongates like silly putty in a marvel of carefree gymnastics that defy human physiology. …Her transformation, from ribald rawness to automaton to first-place ballroom dance lyricism and sophistication, gives us a chance to experience both her interpretive and technical gifts as a dancer. Alina Petrovskaya as Tea brings razor-sharp attack and a killer instinct to every dévelopé, and Oleg Gabyshev as Leon proved that a quadruple pirouette can in fact be a believable demonstration of angst,” said See Chicago Dance about the lead performers of The Pygmalion Effect. According to the source, “marvelously original movement vocabulary… unlocks the inner workings of each of his characters”.
“Say what you want about the political situation between our two countries: the Russians can dance. And we need to watch them when they do,” Chicago Stage Standard drew the conclusion of the Company’s tour that proved the strong unifying power of ballet art again.
The performances were hosted by the leading venues of Canada and the United States, including Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (Toronto), Auditorium Theatre (Chicago), Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa), Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall (Berkeley), New York City Center.