Repertoire / The Seagull

A ballet by Boris Eifman
Based on the play by Anton Chekhov
Music: Sergey Rachmaninoff
Sets: Zinovy Margolin
Costumes: Natalia Zyuzkevich
Light: Boris Eifman, Gleb Filshtinsky

Premiere: January 12, 2007

The Seagull was produced by Boris Eifman as a tribute to the 30th anniversary of his theater. Building on Chekhov’s original text, the choreographer staged a ballet performance telling about a conflict between generations, about the price of success, about collision of old and new artistic forms.

This ballet by Boris Eifman is a meditation on creativity and on possible ways of how art should develop. At the same time, it is about the many faces of love, about disillusionment and loneliness of an artist. These ideas were important for Chekhov and his heroes, and they have not ceased to be so for today’s generations. The Seagull ballet by Boris Eifman has demonstrated that this choreographer, famous for his audacious interpretations of classical literature, ventures to experiment even with such a complicated writer as Anton Chekhov.

The Seagull is in its own way an innovative production within Eifman’s already established artistic style. The ballet accumulates and synthesizes the decades-long experience of Boris Eifman in the field of staging choreography and inventing new forms of plastique, thereby combining seemingly incompatible dance styles that range from neo-classic to hip-hop. In this ballet, the inner psychological story is rendered using clear choreographic forms, which undoubtedly demonstrates a transition to a new stage of Eifman’s artistic evolution.

“We have kept the main philosophical ideas of Chekhov’s play The Seagull but taken the action from a country manor to a ballet hall where a fashionable choreographer (Trigorin) clashes with a bold ballet innovator (Treplev), while a young dancer (Zarechnaya) competes with the company’s prima (Arkadina). Our performance concerns the burning problems of art development, the search for new forms, the true and alleged values, love and career.

At first glance it may seem that the ballet version of The Seagull is rather different from the literary work upon which it is based, but a closer look reveals tight links between the ballet characters and Chekhov’s play.

The four main characters and their exceptional lives, both artistic and personal, are expressed in our ballet by emotional and plastic means, which in our opinion reflects the spirit of Chekhov’s work and the essential understanding of the theatre itself.

We try to keep the experience and expertise of Trigorin and combine them with Treplev’s passion for innovations.”

Boris Eifman