There’s an International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg!
Ballet has its origins in 15th century Italy. Although the art form quickly spread to the rest of Western Europe, it wasn’t introduced to Russia until much later, as part of Peter the Great’s efforts to modernise the country in the 18th century. With the patronage of Empress Anna and, later, Catherine the Great, Russian ballet soon developed as a tour de force with an international influence and is now one of the most popular dance styles in the world.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that so many modern-day visitors to Russia consider a night at the ballet an essential part of their trip. Luckily, today marks the first day of the XXVII Season of the Dance Open International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg – meaning that the next two weeks are an ideal opportunity for our students and other visitors in the city to experience the best that ballet has to offer.
At the International Ballet Festival, you have the chance to see performances by companies from Russia and beyond. The theme this year is “fairy tales”, with highlights including:
- La Fille Mal Gardée, performed by the Ekaterinburg State Academic Opera And Ballet Theatre (2nd April)
- Cinderella, performed by Les Ballet de Monte Carlo (6-7th April)
- Made in Amsterdam, performed by the Dutch National Ballet (10th April)
- The Nutcracker, performed by Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève (13th April)
- Left Right Left Right, performed by the Ballet of Slovene National Theatre Maribor (15th April)
- Gala Dance Open, featuring the festival’s best dancers performing their best pieces (17th April)
What’s more, all of the performances are taking place in the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Established in 1756, this is Russian’s oldest national theatre, and it’s hard not to be impressed by its majestic architecture and star-studded past. After all, this stage has seen the premiers of some of Russia’s most celebrated theatrical achievements, including works by Aleksander Griboyedov, Anton Chekhov and Aleksander Ostrovsky – making it worth a visit in its own right.
Want to dig deeper a little deeper into the world of Russian ballet? In addition to performances, the Festival programme also includes a range of events at venues across the city, including:
- A public talk with Viacheslav Samodurov, leader of the Ekaterinburg Ballet (3rd April)
- An exhibition of Erwin Olaf’s dance photographic art (4th April – 21st May)
- A series of lectures by Russia’s leading ballet critics (9-12th April)
- A master class with choreographer and artistic director Edward Clug (14th April)
It should be noted that the talk, lectures and master class mentioned above will all be delivered in Russian, making them a great opportunity to practice your comprehension and speaking skills.
If you have any tips or recommendations about the best way to experience Russian ballet in St. Petersburg, we’d love to hear them – just post a comment below or on our Facebook page.