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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENTRSS

© Igor Larin

Ballet stars take on modern classics

by Joy Neumeyer at 12/09/2011 20:05

Ballet Stars of the 21st Century

Sept. 17 and 18, 6 pm, State Kremlin Palace, the Kremlin, m. Alexandrovsky Sad

Dance lovers, breathe deeply: the Kremlin Gala “Ballet Stars of the 21st Century” features an international premiere, five Russianstage debuts and some of the world’s most beloved ballerinas. But viewers expecting pirouettes and pointe shoes are in for a surprise.

Spanish ballerina Lucia Lacarra numbers among the gala’s international stars

© Photo / Courtesy of Intermedia

Spanish ballerina Lucia Lacarra numbers among the gala’s international stars

“We’re taking a risk — we’re not just showing neoclassicism, but ultramodern choreography,” said event general producer Vladislav Moskalev in a press release.

The evening is to begin with a bang as Édouard Lock’s Montreal troupe La La La Human Steps premieres the famed choreographer’s untitled new work. Inspired by tragic myth, the piece explores the end of a love affair using multimedia and Lock’s signature fast-paced, athletic choreography.

The gala will also host performances by some of the most prominent international dance companies, such as the American Ballet Theatre, Switzerland’s Béjart Ballet Lausanne and the Berlin State Ballet, as well as Russia’s own Bolshoi and Mariinsky dancers. Notable performers include the Mariinsky’s Diana Vishneva and Spain’s Lucia Lucarra.

Other pieces taking the Russian stage for the first time include a new version of Nacho Duato’s “Lost Heart,” a composition set to Portuguese folk songs, as well as John Neumeier’s “Meditation” and a duet from Maurice Bejart’s “Light.” For those who favor dance with a plot, the program offers duets from “Romeo and Juliet” and John Cranko’s “Onegin.”

Maurice Béjart’s Swiss troupe will perform a duet from his work ‘Light’

© RIA Novosti. / Yuryi Abramochkin

Maurice Béjart’s Swiss troupe will perform a duet from his work ‘Light’

Closing out the evening, the divertissement (or series of short dances) showcases selections from the most heralded choreographers of modern ballet, including Cranko and Wayne McGregor. But the atmosphere will stay buoyant: “Herman Schmerman,” a lighthearted William Forsythe ballet excerpted in the gala, takes its name from the Steve Martin comedy “Gentlemen Don’t Wear Plaid.”

Tradition-minded Russian audiences haven’t always been wild about modern ballet, which replaces precise academic technique with freer movement and style. Although “Ballet Stars of the 21st Century” performances have been staged in the United States and Europe for almost two decades, this autumn marks only the festival’s second appearance in Moscow. But Moskalev is confident the caliber of the performances will help spread modern ballet’s cause at home and abroad.

“This is a leap into the future of the art of ballet… it’s what will be danced all over the world in 10 years.”

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