Eifman Ballet announces the results of the 2018–2019 season
With three shows of the new production, The Pygmalion Effect at the Bolshoi Theatre Historic Stage Eifman Ballet closed the 42nd season. The final performance took place on July 27. We invite you to recall the major events of the Company’s professional life in 2018–2019.
After the summer break the Company resumed work in mid-August 2018. As early as August 21 and 22, St. Petersburg dancers presented the ballet Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA in the capital of Slovenia as part of the 66th Festival Ljubljana. The local spectators saw the ballet about the great composer for the first time ever.
The Company spent the entire month in its hometown rehearsing the comic ballet The Pygmalion Effect (work on it had started in the middle of the 2017–2018 season). Having combined expressive means of psychological ballet theatre and ballroom dancing plastiqe, Boris Eifman presented the new interpretation of the myth about the sculptor who fell in love with his creation. Works by Johann Strauss the Son formed the basis of the production’s musical score. In the ballet storyline the role of the tempestuous creator falls to a successful ballroom dancer who resolves to “sculpt” a virtuoso performer from a clumsy common girl.
On October 7, Eifman Ballet took part in the Kremlin Gala “Ballet Stars of the XXI Century” at the State Kremlin Palace The dancers presented the scenes from the ballets Anna Karenina and Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA.
In the middle of the month, the Company danced Eugene Onegin and the new choreographic version of the ballet diptych Requiem at the Alexandrinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg).
The second half of October was marked by the tour to Tel Aviv. The tour program included the productions Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA and Russian Hamlet. “Eifman Ballet is a unique phenomenon. Any historical costume suits it, be it the time of Paul I or Rodin,” a popular Israeli portal Culbyt wrote after the performances.
On November 5 and 6, the Company presented its choreographic hit Anna Karenina at the Alexandrinsky Theatre.
On November 15–17, Boris Eifman headed the “Ballet and Dance” section of the VII St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. Its program included, amongst others, round table discussion “Ballet in the Age of the Cold War”, a discussion on the role of Italian art of dance in forming the national classical tradition of choreographic art and premiere of the screen ballet Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA.
At the same time, the Company went with Anna Karenina on a long tour to France, the Netherlands and Belgium (it started on November 16). During the last month of autumn, Eifman Ballet visited Lyon, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn (the Netherlands), the Belgian cities of Ghent and Antwerp. The Dutch press called the choreographic language of Anna Karenina “inventive” and “beautiful”. On November 28, the Company commenced a series of performances at the Palais des Congrès de Paris.
During the first half of the month, the European tour continued. On December 1 and 2, the Company gave performances in Paris, and then presented the choreographic art of modern Russia to the spectators of other French cities. The dancers were applauded by the audience of Tours, Nantes, Bordeaux, Nice, Montpellier and Toulouse. Eifman Ballet had never performed before in any of these cities (with the exception of Nantes).
On December 22, the dancers made an unforgettable gift to the Moscow spectators, bringing to Barvikha Concert Hall an exclusive program “Eifman Ballet. Christmas in Barvikha”. Guests of the evening enjoyed the fragments from Boris Eifman’s selected productions, as well as the scenes from the ballet The Pygmalion Effect that were performed for the first time.
January and February
Entire January was dedicated to preparations for the premiere of The Pygmalion Effect. A full dress rehearsal took place on January 29 at DK Lensoveta (Lensoveta Palace of Culture) and the first public performance was held on February 6 at the Alexandrinsky Theatre.
A few days after the premiere, the Company left for Doha, where on February 12 and 13 it gave two performances of Anna Karenina within the framework of the Year of Culture Qatar-Russia 2018.
On February 26 and 27, the audience that filled the Alexandrinsky Theatre could once again appreciate The Pygmalion Effect.
Early spring was marked by two more St. Petersburg performances of the 2019 production.
March 9 through 16, Eifman Ballet toured in Tallinn, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. The Estonian capital applauded the ballet Beyond Sin, while the audience of the Russian cities enjoyed Anna Karenina.
The other half of the month was marked with more meetings with the St. Petersburg audience. The schedule of the spring series of shows at the Alexandrinsky Theatre included the ballets Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA and Rodin, Her Eternal Idol.
On April 4, Eifman Ballet’s scenery workshop opened. They are intended to be used for producing and repairing soft and hard scenery of any complexity, props and stage requisite. The workshop is housed in the renovated 19th century warehouse of a former ropery, one of the oldest factories in St. Petersburg.
During the second half of April, Eifman Ballet visited the capitals of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Dance connoisseurs of Tbilisi got to know Rodin, Her Eternal Idol. The performance of Beyond Sin was held as part of the Mstislav Rastropovich International Festival in Baku. The Company appeared in the capital of Azerbaijan for the first time since 1982.
On May 9, a traditional Eifman Ballet’s spring and summer tour in North America commenced. The geography of the May part of the tour included Toronto, Chicago, Costa Mesa and Berkeley. The Canadian audience saw the ballet Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA. In the U.S., Eifman Ballet toured with The Pygmalion Effect. American spectators and critics enthusiastically welcomed the premiere. 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”.
In early June, shows in Berkeley continued. On June 7, 8 and 9, the Company performed The Pygmalion Effect at New York City Center. The last performance in the largest city of the United States became the final chord of the North American tour, which once again confirmed Eifman Ballet’s status as one of the leading ballet companies of Russia and the world.
In the same month, the ballet Up & Down, a choreographic interpretation of Tender Is the Night novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, returned to St. Petersburg after a 2-year break. The Company performed it twice at the Alexandrinsky Theatre.
In the first days of the month, Petersburgers experienced the art created by the Company again. This time, the dancers appeared on the stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre so that the residents and guests of the city would enjoy Russian Hamlet and Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA.
The extremely successful tour in Japan, where Eifman Ballet returned after a 21-year intermission, may be described as a truly historic event. The tour, which was held July 13 through 21, covered Ōtsu, Shizuoka and Tokyo. The program of the tour included the ballets Anna Karenina and Rodin, Her Eternal Idol, both of which deeply impressed the Japanese audience.
The Moscow premiere of The Pygmalion Effect was a fitting event to mark the completion of a busy season. It took place on July 25, 26 and 27 the Bolshoi Theatre Historic Stage and became part of the International Chereshnevy Les Open-Art Festival.