CriticalDance Forum

St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre
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Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Yapparova's Swan Lake & Kolesnikova's Giselle

December found me in two different locations on the south coast to see more of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Quiet Eastbourne has a certain forsaken charm out of season and a first rate fish and chip shop just a stones throw from the Congress Theatre, but I was there to see the ballet and in particular to observe the burgeoning talents of Sabina Yapparova as I had been tipped off that her performances in Swan Lake were worth a lengthy drive.

I saw Yapparova’s Odette/Odile last year when she was new to the role. She could dance the steps and give a fairly competent account of herself but that was all. What a difference twelve months can make! In the past year Yapparova has been intensively coached by Kirov legend Alla Osipenko and has gone from being a run of the mill Swan Queen to a very special interpreter of the role. What she brings to the ballet is a distinct personality and an approach to the part that is entirely her own coupled with a new technical assurance that I imagine is due to Osipenko’s influence. Her Odette is warmer than the general ice maiden approach of ballerinas today and she is far more woman than bird giving a very romantic feel to her lakeside pas de deux. In the black act she is diamond hard but her facial expression suggests that this Odile totally relishes leading men astray. Technically she was excellent. Sabina’s tutu in this act was exceptionally flattering; unadorned black with lines of tiny coloured points of light – she looked gorgeous. Her duets with Andrei Yakhnyuk were a miracle of timing and rapport, two dancers moving completely as one, and as befits two real-life newly weds, you never doubted their deep love for a second.

Yapparova is a graduate of the Rudolf Nureyev School in Ufa as is her fellow principal Dmitri Akulinin. As a huge fan of Nureyev’s I am very pleased that the school bearing his name is able to produce dancers of her calibre.

A couple of weeks later I headed south again to Brighton to catch company prima, Irina Kolesnikova, in Giselle. This fine ballerina exudes Russian soulfulness from every pore and gives a performance that is both emotionally charged and restrained, portraying a peasant girl caught up in a whirlwind of romance but at the same time hiding her strong feelings beneath a veneer of maidenly modesty. Her mad scene was subdued, no wild hair and histrionics but a convincing, even chilling, display of a young woman gradually losing her reason. She came into her own in the second act, pale and remote at first but gradually remembering her earthly desires as she both protects and forgives her former lover. Her costume in this act was startling as she wore an overskirt of silk that moved with a life of its own, as if catching every tiny breath of breeze in that woodland glade: a beautiful effect.

This company’s performances are greatly enhanced by the superb support of their orchestra. Every performance is of concert hall standard well played and well conducted. We’re lucky to have such a wonderful troupe prepared to tour the length and breadth of the UK and for anyone who hasn’t seen them yet, I strongly urge them to catch this exceptional company.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  New Season

I thought I would copy the following from 'Press Releases' onto the StPBT's own thread. This is the best of the touring companies doing the rounds in the UK and well worth going to see.


St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is delighted to announce its 2007-8 season. The company present perennial favourites - the Tchaikovsky trilogy Nutcracker, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as special performances of ‘Stars of SPBT Celebration Gala’ which received rave reviews from the few performances introduced on the last tour. The Gala programme includes some of classical ballet’s greatest highlights including the popular one-act ballet Chopiniana, Paquita, a witty Harlequinade and the Dying Swan.

The talented young company from St Petersburg is acknowledged as one of the few genuine Russian companies visiting the UK and Republic of Ireland. The company of 100 artists including a 38-piece orchestra celebrated its twelfth anniversary last November. Almost 100,000 people bought tickets during their last tour and witnessed the gorgeous productions of this dazzling young company with its world class Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova and excellent Principals, including some fine young dancers who joined SPBT last year.

The company welcomes new principals and character dancers this year: Marina Melnikova and Markar Gugasiyan, also Alexander Yakovlev and Svetlana Bekk from Vaganova. SPBT are delighted to announce that Alexander Kurkov, former principal dancer with the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, has joined the company as a coach. Company director Konstantin Tachkin says “We are delighted that Mr Kurkov has joined us.

He is an excellent coach and admires our dancers so I am sure he will work very well with them, especially with this season's new dancers.”

On the forthcoming tour SPBT makes a debut appearance at the Thêatre Champs Elysées in Paris, a debut appearance in Cardiff at the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre, both with Swan Lake, and return visits to some of their favourite UK theatres including the beautiful and soon to be refurbished Norwich Theatre Royal where tickets are already on sale starting at £6.

SPBT in presented by Artsworld Presentations, a sponsor of a prize category in the National Dance Awards .

The season opens on 14 October on the magnificent stage of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. SPBT perform Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, London on 26 November.

SPBT make their Paris debut is at the Thêatre Champs Elysée on 17 October when Irina Kolesnikova will dance Odette-Odile.

Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova dances in the Stars of the 21st Century Gala in Paris on 22, 23 and 24 September, partnered by Dmitry Semionov from the Ballet de l'Opéra de Berlin.


Full listings information overleaf or available online at:

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, Cassandra, for your recommendation.

A group called the Saint Petersburg Ballet (not "Theater") will be in Detroit January 10 and 11. Also it is scheduled to be in Buffalo April 2. It is not the same group that you are talking about because The Saint Petersburg Ballet 'Theater' is scheduled to be in Crawley January 9 and 10.

For folks hoping to see one or the other it may be important to note this.

Cassandra, do you know anything about the Saint Petersburg Ballet ?

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:59 am ]
Post subject: 

It's really confusing that two companies have virtually identical names and this question came up further back in this thread.

The two companies are totally unconnected and as far as I know the Saint Petersburg Ballet has never toured the UK but seems to tour the US on a yearly basis.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  New Dancers Join SPBT

SPBT’s prestigious touring schedule has helped to attract some outstanding new talent from the pool of dancers that continue to emerge in St Petersburg. The company welcomes new principals and character dancers this year: Marina Melnikova and Markar Gugasiyan, also Alexander Yakovlev and Svetlana Bekk from Vaganova. SPBT are delighted to announce that Alexander Kurkov, former principal dancer with the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, has joined the company as a coach.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:10 am ]
Post subject:  Sabina Yapparova and Andrei Yakhnyuk

I am reliably informed that sadly Sabina Yapparova and Andrei Yakhnyuk have now left the company. They developed quite a fan following in the UK and will be greatly missed.

Author:  vaganova [ Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:13 am ]
Post subject: 

Any news on whether Alla Osipenko is still with the company??

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:17 am ]
Post subject:  Alla Osipenko

As far as I know she has left, but will try and find out more details.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:55 am ]
Post subject: 

Stars of StPBT Gala
Festival Theatre
Chichester, West Sussex
31st October 2007

I suddenly remembered it was Halloween last night on the drive down to Chichester. Narrow tree lined country roads that no doubt would have looked quite beautiful in their autumnal colours in daylight took on a slightly sinister aspect after a bat skimmed close to the windscreen of our car and we realized that few were venturing out onto those twisting Sussex lanes: did the locals know something we didn’t? Halloween however did provide an unwelcome surprise that night as the performance by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre was definitely under par.

Usually you can rely on this company to deliver, but hampered by the Festival Theatre’s thrust stage, total lack of wing space and the strange arrangement of the orchestra seated at the side of the stage rather than in front, it appeared they were performing under a handicap from the word go.

Swan Lake act two began the evening in a rather condensed version that left out, among other things, Odette’s solo and the Swans’ waltz. Eleonora Adeeva was the Swan Queen returning to the company after a lengthy injury and was partnered by company stalwart Andrei Stelmakhov. It was a rather unmusical rendition of the role by Adeeva, but what can you expect when she only had sight of the conductor when turning left.

The second part of the programme was a group of diverts of which the highlight was the Harlequinade pas de deux danced by two newcomers to the company: Olesya Levchenko and Dmitry Lysenko. This once popular number is seldom seen these days and the Russians always seem to camp it up a bit, but it deserves to be seen more often. Both the dancers are new to the company and although I liked Levchenko she probably isn’t one of natures soubrettes, her partner on the other hand was an ideal harlequin, a cheeky show off with a very impressive technique. Lysenko is also new to the company and looks set to make a big impression; he’s rather short, which will limit his roles a bit but has a natural and extrovert stage presence and I’m already looking forward to seeing him again.

After the second interval the company gave us their Paquita with Anna Podlesnaya and Dmitry Akulinin in the leads. A formidable piece to dance, I thought Podlesnaya looked very nervous in the role and Akulinin was clearly off form. On this occasion it was the pas de trois that came off best with Liliya Akhmetshina punching well above her weight in a lovely display of unforced classicism.

I very much regretted the absence of Irina Kolesnikova in this programme. I appreciate that she cannot dance at every performance but for a show billed as a gala her stellar quality was missed. There were some new names on the cast sheet last night part from the two I’ve mentioned, such as Astghik Ogannesyan and Vladimir Iznov, but of Marina Melnikova, Markar Gugasiyan, Alexander Yakovlev and Svetlana Bekk, the dancers listed as newcomers in the press release, there was no sign at all, though I’m told that one new dancer has already gone home with a serious injury.

Apart from missing Kolesnikova, I was also sorry that the lovely Les Sylphides the company danced last year has been substituted by Swan Lake Act II. Could this be because there is no one available to duplicate the beautiful interpretation of the poet that Andrei Yakhnyuk used to give in the role?

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:04 am ]
Post subject:  UK Touring Schedule

The dates have now been announced for St Petersburg Ballet Theatre's UK Winter Tour: ... 8b6a46f312

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri May 15, 2009 8:54 am ]
Post subject: 

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is in London for a single performance at the Coliseum this Sunday (17th May). They will be dancing La Bayadere with Irina Kolesnikova in the title role, but no information as to who will partner her as Solor.

More details below ... orthcoming

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue May 26, 2009 10:39 am ]
Post subject: 

The performance of Bayadere on 17th has now been reviewed in the Independent by Zoe Anderson. ... 90601.html

I agree with not a single word of this review. Kolesnikova gave a performance of great beauty and sensitivity and it was her partner Kovalev, who gave cause for concern, dancing a very simplified version of the last act variation and partnering pretty much on a wing and a prayer.

The Shades were a credit to the company, one girl wobbled, the rest were secure. I agree it was a pity that the three solo shades weren't named on the cast sheet but they were actually very good, with the first girl being exceptional.

It was a highly enjoyable performance but after reading the above you'd never think so.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  St PBT in Don Quixote

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre dances Don Quixote, with the wonderful Irina Kolesnikova as Kitri, for the first time in the UK on 16th December at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne.

I shall endeavour to attend and report back.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Irina Kolesnikova made her overdue British debut as Kitri on Wednesday night in Eastbourne. She was a natural for the role with her bubbly humour alternating with flashing eyed Iberian passion. Her dancing was sheer excitement from beginning to end with the best castanet solo I’ve ever seen.

On the debit side the company has yet to find a partner worthy of her and the ensemble was a bit erratic, though a couple of solo roles, such as Espada and Don Q. himself were very well done indeed. I hope this isn’t just a one off though as more people should have the enjoyment of seeing this exciting dancer in a role that suits her so well.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Swan Lake at Eastbourne : ...

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