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 Post subject: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2003 4:27 pm 
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Quote:
Ballet Stars of St Petersburg will perform on 7 & 8 May, 2003 at 7.30pm at Royal Albert Hall

Tickets are £25-£60
Royal Albert Hall box office 020 7589 8212
http://www.royalalberthall.com



<small>[ 15 March 2003, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2003 4:46 pm 
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Location: London
The two gala evenings will feature soloists from the Mariinsky/Kirov Ballet:

Irma Nioradze
Yulia Makhalina
Daria Pavlenko
Elvira Tarasova
Igor Zelensky
Faroukh Ruzimatov
Ilya Kuznetsov
Andrei Batalov

plus
Nikolai Tsiskaridze

and the Corps de Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre
and the Russian Orchestra of London

There will be highlights from

Swan Lake
Le Corsaire
La Bayadere
Don Quixote
The Sleeping Beauty
Scheherezade
The Dying Swan


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 1:06 am 
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Kind hearts and pirouettes
The Kirov's British tour will have few surprises – but will retain their trademark soul and sensitivity

By Nadine Meisner
The Independent

Quote:
The Kirov Ballet's debut at the Lowry comes three years (almost to the day) after Salford's first-ever piece of titanium architecture opened with another coup, the Paris Opera Ballet. On stage, they danced Nureyev's opulent production of the 1877 Petipa masterpiece, La Bayadère, while the building was still being completed, virtually under their feet. Now the rubble has disappeared, and the Kirov bring their La Bayadère, the ballet for which they can claim original ownership and which Nureyev learned in his own early Kirov career.
more...


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 10:07 am 
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Location: London
LISTINGS RELEASE/CRITICS¹ CHOICE

BALLET STARS OF ST PETERSBURG
Royal Albert Hall London
7 & 8 May 2003 7.30pm
BOX OFFICE 020 7589 8212 www.royalalberthall.com

Two showcase performances to celebrate St Petersburg¹s tercentenary in
London, featuring contemporary legends of the Russian ballet performing
excerpts from the classical repertoire plus the UK premiere of a new work
specially commissioned for this occasion from the Mariinsky¹s choreographer
Kirill Simonov.

Programme

Madame Lionelli (UK premiere)
Choreography: Kirill Simonov
Music: John Adams and Gavin Bryers
Performers: Irma Niorazde & Ilya Kuznetsov
and members of the Kirov corps de ballet

Excerpts from

Legend of Love
Choreography: Grigorovich
Music: Arif Melikov
Performers: Irma Nioradze and Nikolai Tsiskaridze

Le Corsaire
Chor: Petipa
Music: Adam, Drigo, Minkus
Performers: Elvira Tarasova & Igor Zelensky

Manon
Chor: MacMillan
Music: Massenet
Performers: Yulia Makhalina & Ilya Kuznetsov

Narcissus
Chor: Goleizovsky
Music: Cherepnin
Performer: Nikolai Tsiskaridze

Scheherezade
Chor: Fokine
Music: Rimsky Korsakov
Performers: Irma Nioradze and Farukh Ruzimatov

Swan Lake
Chor: Ivanov
Music: Tchaikovsky
Performers: Daria Pavlenko & Evgenij Ivanchenko

Death of a Poet
Chor: Bejart
Music: Mahler
Performer: Farukh Ruzimatov

Raymonda
Chor: Petipa
Music: Glazunov
Performers: Yulia Makhalina & Ilya Kuznetsov

Don Quixote
Chor: Gorsky
Music: Minkus
Performers: Irma Nioradze and Evgenij Ivanchenko

Finale featuring whole cast

The Russian Orchestra of London is conducted by Alexander Sotnikov

The Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at the Royal Albert Hall is presented by
Ensemble Productions and Alfa Bank as part of the St Petersburg 300
Celebration Programme under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the
Russian Federation. Performances are sponsored by Alfa Bank and
Stolichnaya-Genuine Russian Vodka.

*******************

BALLET STARS OF ST PETERSBURG
IN LONDON FORŒ300¹ CELEBRATIONS - TWO NIGHTS ONLY
Royal Albert Hall, 7 & 8 May 2003

For more than two centuries St Petersburg has been a major centre for the
establishment and evolution of classical ballet and has consistently
produced many of the world¹s most legendary dancers including Anna Pavlova,
Vaslav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova.
As part of the UK celebrations marking the 300th anniversary of Russia¹s
most regal city, some of today¹s most sensational Russian ballet stars take
to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall in May for two performances only.

These gala evenings will be a showcase for the rich legacy of two profoundly
influential masters of choreography from Russia¹s cultural capital: the
legendary Marius Petipa , whose 19th century ballets are still constantly
performed by companies all round the world, and Mikhail Fokine who
revitalised dramatic ballet in the 20th century during his tenure with
Diaghilev¹s Ballets Russes . Bringing the 300 celebrations into the 21st
century is St Petersburg¹s newest young talent, Kirill Simonov whose
recently commissioned one act ballet for Irma Nioradze will be given its
British premiere on this occasion*.

Accompanied by members of the Kirov corps de ballet, these renowned soloists
will display their artistry and technical virtuosity in two stunning gala
programmes. Five of the dancers have the most prestigious accolade of
ŒHonoured Artist of Russia¹ : celebrated ballerinas Yulia Makhalina and Irma
Nioradze, the flamboyant Farukh Ruzimatov, Bolshoi star Nikolai
Tsiskaridze (a frequent guest performer with the Kirov soloists) and Igor
Zelensky who is remembered by UK audiences for his partnering of Darcey
Bussell during his guest appearances with the Royal Ballet a few years ago.
The remaining four soloists were all trained in the Kirov tradition at the
Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg and are soloists with the company: Andrei
Batalov, Ilya Kuznetsov, Daria Pavlenko and Elvira Tarasova.

The repertoire will include excerpts from Petipa¹s classics Swan Lake, Le
Corsaire, La Bayadère, Don Quixote and The Sleeping Beauty, and Fokine¹s
Scheherezade and The Dying Swan. Playing under the baton of one of the
Mariinsky Theatre¹s ballet conductors, the Russian Orchestra of London will
also have an opportunity to commemorate some of Russia¹s great composers
whose talents were nurtured and performed in St Petersburg: Tchaikovsky,
Rimsky Korsakov and Minkus. In contrast, the new Simonov ballet is to set
to music by John Adams and Gavin Bryers. The climax of the evening will be a
dazzling display by the whole cast of classical ballet¹s most challenging
feats of technique ­ a fusion of fouettés, pirouettes, powerful leaps, and
dashing turns effortlessly executed to a percussion-led accompaniment from
the orchestra.

The Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at the Royal Albert Hall is presented by
Ensemble Productions and Alfa Bank as part of the St Petersburg 300
Celebration Programme under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the
Russian Federation.

Ends
FURTHER PRESS INFORMATION:
Debra Boraston
Henry Moore Studio 11a Parkhill Road London NW3 2YH
T: 020 7483 1950 F: 020 7586 3790 E: debra@henrymoorestudio.co.uk

BOOKING AND PROGRAMME INFORMATION:
Royal Albert Hall T. 020 7589 8212 or online: www.royalalberthall.com
Tickets priced from £12 to £60

*world premiere of new Simonov ballet in St Petersburg is April 2003

NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Russian Orchestra of London was established in 1998 and comprises
Russian-speaking musicians based in the UK. The orchestra tours the UK and
overseas with Chief conductor Julian Gallant and has especially strong links
with the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Republics. Guest conductors
have included Martyn Brabbins, Yuri Bashmet, Sian Edwards and Thomas
Sanderling and soloists include Boris Berezovsky, Mikhäil Rudy, John Lill
and Emma Johnson. The orchestra played for Irek Mukhamedov¹s Farewell Gala
in 2001 and will accompany Nina Ananiashvili and the Moscow Dance Theatre in
March 2004 at Sadler¹s Wells.

Ensemble Productions Ltd is an independent production company in the UK
founded by Olga Balakleets and Julian Gallant. Its mission is to present
international artists and repertoire in the UK and promote cultural exchange
between Russia and the UK. The latest evidence of their success was the
launch of the Russian British Cultural Association in January 2003 (Chairman
Sergei Kolushev, Managing Director Julian Gallant). Forthcoming 2003 events
presented by Ensemble Productions include The Russian Chamber Orchestra of
London with cellist Denis Shapovalov at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 12
February, Dmitri Hvorostovsky recital at the Wigmore Hall on 22 April and
Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists at the Barbican on 20 June.
www.ensembleproductions.co.uk

Alfa Bank founded in 1990, is Russia¹s largest privately-owned commercial
bank with more than 80 branches across Russia and subsidiaries in Ukraine,
Kazakhstan, UK, US and the Netherlands. Alfa Bank sponsors many highly
prestigious Russian cultural events at home and overseas, including the
Imperial Russian Ballet, soloists of the Kirov and the Bolshoi Ballets,
Vladimir Spivakov, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and the Russian Chamber Orchestra.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 4:26 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://petersburgcity.com/images/docs/1817.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Irma Nioradze</small>

An article about one of the pieces on the Royal albert Hall programme:

The premier of "Madam Lionelly" ballet on the stage of St.Petersburg Conservatoire
From PetersburgCity.com

At the eve of the 300th anniversary choreographer Kirill Simonov, ballet dancer Irma Nioradze and designer Igor Chapurin joined their efforts to create the new project - "Madam Lionelly" ballet which was performed for the first time on April 17 on the stage of St.Petersburg Conservatoire. The creators of the ballet attempted to convey their vision of the modern business - woman: her strength and delicacy, fast pace of life and timeless sensuality. Irma Nioradze, the leading ballerina from Mariinsky Theater danced the main part, her partner was the famous dancer Ilya Kuznetsov.

click for more

<small>[ 03 May 2003, 06:28 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 4:35 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I have just checked with the Royal Albert Hall and there are seats available at all prices on both nights.

Here are the booking details again:

Ballet Stars of St Petersburg
7 & 8 May, 2003 at 7.30pm at Royal Albert Hall

Tickets are £25-£60
Royal Albert Hall box office 020 7589 8212
http://www.royalalberthall.com


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 4:09 am 
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Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article from The Sunday Times.

Quote:
Of all the places in the world where it shouldn’t be hard to find a ballet dancer, St Petersburg would surely top the list. Unfortunately, Daria Pavlenko, the one I was there to interview, had just been packed off to Italy. Pavlenko is the brilliant 24-year-old who learnt an entire solo role in two days and was the substitute for the injured Uliana Lopatkina during the Kirov’s last tour of London, in 2001. But never mind, I could still talk to Ilya Kuznetsov, a dynamic 26-year-old male soloist who was — in Japan, actually.
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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 2:39 pm 
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Location: London
It was an exciting afternoon. As I drove back from the country for the press conference of the Ballet Stars of St Petersburg, I fantasised about how it would be. I had Igor Zelensky and Irma Nioradze down as my interviewees. Petra had Faroukh Ruzimatov and Yulia Makhalina on her list. Joanne had Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Daria Pavlenko on hers. What a line up. Knowing how these things can go wrong at the last minute however well planned, I prepared myself for the worst. We would get there to discover that the rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall had gone on longer than expected and there was no time to conduct interviews before the Press Conference at 5.30 pm. We would turn up to find that the dancers were at a different hotel. We would turn up to discover that there were no interpreters. Au contraire. When we arrived at the hotel we were told that the dancers would be arriving from the Royal Albert Hall shortly. They arrived. They rushed upstairs to freshen up and came down almost immediately, ready for their interviews. We had six interview candidates and so couldn’t do them all at the same time. Daria Pavlenko was not in town. Ilya Kuznetsov, however, was more than happy to go under the microscope. Those waiting did not disappear off never to be found again. Igor Zelensky came down in his blue jeans and shades and cased the joint, looking for me. Irma decided to hang around talking to her colleagues in the interim. Faroukh Ruzimatov, dressed all in black – black sweater, black jeans and black boots - was sitting on the sofa in the lobby, eager to get started. Nikolai Tsiskaridze was ready when Joanne was. We got started as quickly as we could: as many stars as you could interview in an hour and a half. Igor took me to the bar and ordered us some drinks and clutched my tape recorder to his heart. Shall we get going, he said? Yes, I said.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 2:54 pm 
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Phew....sounds like an "interesting" afternoon!


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 3:42 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/images/Mahalina_KuznetSvnivov_1999.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Ilya Kuznetsov and Yulia Makhalina in Manon</small>

<big> Interview with Ilya Kuznetsov – Monday 5th May, 2003, London </big>

As Daria Pavlenko was now not joining the tour all my preparation for an interview with her went out the window and I sat in the lobby of the hotel frantically preparing some questions for Ilya Kuznetsov who had kindly agreed to be Daria’s replacement. As it turned out Ilya is probably one of the most interesting dancers of the tour to interview at present. Dancing in the UK premiere of Madame Lioneli this week with Irma Nioradze and also presenting excerpts from the controversial Manon and the St. Petersberg stalwart, Raymonda, Ilya certainly has an interesting and exciting week to look forward to.

Ilya came across as a thinker and as someone with great focus. As he sat in reception calmly relaxing you could see the many thoughts running through his head perhaps about the week ahead. He came across as proud of his traditional roots but also someone who appreciates and would like to see the development of the modern style.

I started by asking Ilya about some of the pieces he is performing this week.

Can you tell me a little bit about the new piece, Madame Lioneli that you are performing?

The performance is really about the woman, a business woman who is so busy during the day that she forgets she is a woman, but in the evening she becomes a real woman.

As a new piece what challenges have you encountered in bringing it to the stage?

There were no major challenges with the performance and we are not anticipating that there will be. The only challenges really are the theatre and how people will relate to the piece. To begin with the main challenge was with the management as they were not happy to let us go and do this piece at one point. On the one hand I am all for order, but while there are no proper contracts or there are essential items missing from contracts then we can hardly expect real order and misunderstandings are bound to happen. That was the main challenge. We also had to rehearse the ballet in Moscow because we were using a Moscow corps de ballet and as we had quite a few performances around the world it was quite a challenge to be able to get back to Moscow enough to rehearse, but we managed it.

So it was co-ordinating the project that was the real challenge?

Indeed, but despite all these inconveniences we (Irma and himself) really love the project because we think it is our project and we really appreciate the subject matter. I think it is a really relevant topic.

When you performed Manon in the UK you received mixed reviews. What were your feelings on this?

It was inevitable as after all we were showing it in the UK and I understand that people may be jealous of our production. We tried to present a version of our own, after all it is your culture, but our culture is different. We have clichés and habits of our own. I’m actually going to see Manon tonight at the Royal Opera House. I like the way Manon is danced in the West but we have a school of our own and we are expected to contribute something of our own to it. We love to dance Manon, put our souls in it and how can you criticize souls? We did it with love and affection and we love the piece.

As far as criticism and reviews are concerned do you take much notice of reviews or do you listen more to other dancers or the audience perhaps?

It really depends on the competence of either and also the purpose either has in saying this or that. My Mum has always taught me to listen to the enemies as a friend can just hush it over!

Which piece are you looking forward to performing the most this week?

First of all we are here to show our premiere (Madame Lioneli). We are excited about it and we are certainly going to invest the most in it. This is not to say that when it comes to Manon and Raymonda that we will not do it properly.

Obviously with something new you will want to make the biggest impact?

Well, we are focusing more on this particular piece now which means more effort and more excitement, because after all Manon and Raymonda have been shown so many times. Raymonda is part of the St. Petersberg School. I’m definitely feeling nervous and excited and I understand so is Irma.

Within your career so far you have played many of the traditional roles. Do you have a preference for the more traditional or more modern ballets?

Well the way my creative career has developed I have had to dance Siegfried in the morning and Sleeping Beauty’s Prince in the evening, but I do love modern ballet. I danced Manon in Stockholm and whilst there watched them stage some modern productions. I guess only 20% of that will be worthwhile but even that is fine. Let the 80% be not so interesting, the 20% is what matters. History will show this and that is the gist of the arts, people trying some things may succeed, others not.

Well I suppose any art form must constantly evolve?

It is too bad this is not happening in Russia today, well at least it is only happening on a minor scale. This is a time for business or for those who want do business by exploiting artists, because artists don’t want to see that sort of life. There are so many people whose careers are now over and everybody seems to ignore them, they don’t even bother to recall how they were. It is sad.

In the future would you like more opportunities to tour or do you prefer being based at one theatre for a longer period of time?

Well I am already used to new developments and new projects, that is how life has taught me. I accept everything even things that maybe I shouldn’t have accepted. But then when I started working I had to say no to certain things because I realized that I wasn’t always dealing with professionals. I have also had to invest my inner world to prove things. My life is very impulsive and incoherent sometimes as I have to cope with so many things.

With time pressing on and the press briefing drawing nearer we unfortunately had to leave the interview there. Ilya seems to work within and give his best within the constraints of company life but there seems to be a passion from him to continue to do so much more with his creativity. I feel he would be a very interesting prospect as a guest artist with a western company should the opportunity arise.

<small>[ 06 May 2003, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 9:03 am 
Joanne, your interview with Ilya is most interesting. Did you take a photo of him during the interview?


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 10:21 am 
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Interview with Igor Zelensky
London
Monday 5th May, 2003


<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/images/Zelensky_Le_CorSogvinov_2.jpg" alt="" />

Igor Zelensky is a man back from the brink. Two years ago it was not at all certain that he would ever dance again. He spent six months lying flat in bed after two operations on a herniated disc. He returned to dancing last November and although he is not back to full fitness – he is still not able to lift ballerinas – he has big plans for himself. All that time lying in bed gave him plenty of opportunity for reflection: “For six months I couldn’t move and I thought how I would react if someone now wanted to give me my own company – gave me the chance to be a director. But I still had a chance to be a dancer.” He has to dance. He is in London to support his friend and fellow Kirov dancer, Irma Nioradze, in her venture to bring Kirov stars to Europe beyond their frequent sojourns as part of the official Mariinsky Company on tour. As well as performing an excerpt from ‘Le Corsaire’ as part of the “Ballet Stars of St Petersburg” Gala at The Royal Albert Hall, he will meet with Monica Mason, Director of the Royal Ballet, to discuss his contract to guest (imminently) with the company and was due to visit Darcey Bussell, his “favourite partner” on the evening before her foot operation. He is enthusiastic about his five years with the Royal Ballet and appreciates Bussell because “she gave me what I wanted to do in England – ‘Manon’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet.’” Bussell had invited the young star over from New York City Ballet to guest in London. He wasn’t sure that Anthony Dowell liked him in the beginning but after the intense rehearsals to learn the role of “Des Grieux” from Dowell, he is sure Dowell came to like him in the end.

Dressed in blue jeans and suede Adidas trainers, wearing sunglasses even in the darkness of the Millenium Hotel bar, and with his open and effusive approach to being interviewed, he seems more American than Russian. The look was acquired during his seven years as a ‘permanent’ guest of New York City Ballet. He is a bundle of energy, brimming over with plans to make up for lost time. “We have an expression in Russia,” he enthuses, “if you are not moving forward every day by a step, you’re going back two steps. So you have to go forward and have to learn as much as you can.” He is only in his early thirties but is well aware that “in my art, we are very limited - we have twenty years. A famous Russian conductor said at 70, ‘I can conduct another ten years by standing and another ten by sitting.’ But in my business you have to do everything straight away.” That means he will guest with the three companies with which he made his name before the injury: the Mariinsky, the Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet. In each company he has his favourite partner: Bussell in London, Darci Kistler in New York and Svetlana Zakharova in St Petersburg. They are the three greatest companies in the world in his opinion. None will be his ‘main’ company and nowhere is home. “I am always rushing.” He has an apartment in New York and one in St Petersburg but his life is, more than ever before, dedicated to the dance and wherever it takes him. He travels with his home. His mother, Galina, is his best friend and constant companion and he believes that he wouldn’t be the successful dancer that he is without her support and shrewd business sense. (It’s also the reason, he jokes, why he hasn’t yet got married.) She encouraged the young Igor to take up dancing when he was twelve and, when, by the age of fifteen he began to suffer from exhaustion from trying to balance competitive running (he was a promising athlete before he took up ballet classes) with the physical demands of ballet, she encouraged him to choose dance. From that point on Zelensky was focused on becoming the best dancer that he could possibly be, dancing eight hours a day. His mother takes care of his daily life and he concentrates on his work. “I swear to God I want to dance as much as I can.” Does he do anything else other than dance? “Nothing…this is my life.”

The facts bear this statement out. As well as regularly performing with three companies, he will draw on his contacts to pull together a small troupe of dancers to perform galas over the next year in Moscow, St Petersburg, New York, China and South America as ‘Igor Zelensky and Friends’. These galas will comprise highlights from classical ballets and will also give him the opportunity to stage his own productions of classical works. He wouldn’t dream of replacing the master Petipa’s steps and doesn’t have any particular desire to be a choreographer, but he likes to introduce more solos: more dancing and less walking, as he puts it. Balanchine’s “Apollo” will also be a staple part of such evenings. Apollo is one of his favourite roles largely because of his affinity with Greece. He has worked a lot there staging his own productions of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote and it is his dream to open the 2004 Olympics in Greece with “Apollo.”

Yet what is really driving him at the moment is the hunger for choreography to be made on him – something he can call his own. He has a big project with New York City Ballet dancer, Albert Evans, for next year. Evans and other NYCB dancers have made pieces on him in the past but the results haven’t received international recognition. “I am known around the world as a good partner and a good jumper…but I want the world to know that I am not only a partner.” And, thinking even further ahead - eventually he will want to settle in one place and direct his own company. He is perfectly placed to do so: “I am one of the only Russian dancers who has huge experience. I left Russia when I was 19 and have worked with so many different companies and learned so many styles.” Each company and school has contributed to his style. He doesn’t dance one school’s style over another. He has his own Zelensky style, he believes. He tries always to appear a ‘real’ man on stage. Quite.

By now he is literally bouncing off the walls of the bar as he recounts the product of two years of thinking and wondering whether he would ever dance again. Did he always have a plan and a clear shape for his future or was it just that lying on his back for so long had made him want to make up for lost time? “The first time I met Rudi [Nureyev] was in Berlin in 1990 and he said ‘you have to go to America and you have to go to Stanley Williams who is one of the greatest teachers.” Stanley Williams made him the great 'Apollo' that he is. Both Nureyev and his hero, Baryshnikov, had been the inspirations for Zelensky to leave Russia in search of experience and knowledge. Both had told him that he should learn as much as he could from as many different people as he could and he clearly sees himself as following in their footsteps. He had already had excellent tutoring as one of the last students of the legendary teacher, Chabukiani, at the Tblisi School of Ballet and was a rising star of the Mariinsky. But he was desperate to dance Balanchine. “George Balanchine was from my home town, Georgia,” he declares proudly. The classics were not enough for Zelensky. Although Balanchine still represented the classic tradition for the young dancer, he was modern and the second most important choreographer after Petipa. Plus Zelensky wanted to dance Bejart, MacMillan and Petit. So he left for America while retaining his links with the Mariinsky. As he drags on his Marlboro light and sips his beer, I am reminded of his sexy portrayal of the bohemian painter in Petit’s “Le Jeune Homme et la Mort.” Pulling my mind back from the image of his bare chest and smouldering look (on stage – not in the bar) I told Igor that I had seen him dance this piece with Yulia Makhalina in St Petersburg. He was impressed. Not quite as impressed as I had been at his bare chest and sultry dancing, but impressed, nonetheless. “Maestro Gergiev [Director of the Marrinsky Theatre] and Vaziev [Director of the Mariinsky Ballet] have done so much with the company that the kids don’t have to leave now. They’ve got everything right at home and perform all those ballets in St. Petersburg.”

He looks American but I would guess that his heart is still in Russia. He has just flown back from a weekend in Russia to celebrate Gergiev’s birthday where he danced “Le Corsaire” for the guests because they wanted “flashy” stuff. He felt honoured to be asked to return from his week with the Kirov at The Lowry in Salford to perform for the Maestro. He’s still in party mood and fast approaching his second beer. “I’m giving all this up this week,” he says, nodding towards the Marlboro packet with its bold ‘Smoking kills’ label. “I never knew I would come back but thanks God, I’m back.”

<small>[ 10 May 2003, 04:48 AM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 10:58 am 
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Location: London
Elvira Tarasova and Daria Pavlenko will not now be dancing but all other stars are present and correct.

Tickets are still available.
020 7589 8212
www.royalalberthall.com

<small>[ 06 May 2003, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 2172
Location: London
Interview with Irma Nioradze
London
Monday, 5th May, 2003


<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/images/irma_.jpg" alt="" />

It was Irma Nioradze’s idea to bring together her colleagues from the Mariinsky/Kirov ballet to perform as the “Ballet Stars of St. Petersburg” at the Royal Albert Hall. Normally we see the stars – Nioradze, Igor Zelensky, Yulia Makhalina, Ilya Kuznetsov, Nikolai Tiskaridze, Faroukh Ruzimatov, etc. performing together as the Kirov (the touring name for the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre Ballet. Indeed, the Kirov has just completed a week at The Lowry in Salford and is returning to the Royal Opera House, courtesy of the Hochausers, over the summer. It is good news that the Mariisnky is now permitting its company members to branch out on their own. Ms Nioradze will not be drawn on the subject but there have been tales of plans for non-Kirov galas thwarted in the past by a company bent on quality control.

There should be no concerns about quality control with the line-up for the Royal Albert Hall. It has been a great feat for Ms Nioradze to co-ordinate the schedules of her colleagues but, as one of the longest-standing ballerinas of the Mariinsky (she became a principal in 1992) she commands respect amongst her colleagues to the extent that they have done their best to be in London for the two galas she has masterminded. She has plans for further galas, thinking it important to bring the stars of the revered company to Europe as often as possible and certainly beyond the fixed tours of the Kirov.

Ms Nioradze is probably not known outside of Russia to the same extent as some of the dancers she has invited to join her at the Royal Albert Hall. She hasn’t danced outside of Russia in the same way as, say, Igor Zelensky and Nikolai Tsiskaridze. She hasn’t appeared as a guest with other companies and she has found the repertoire at the Mariinsky sufficiently diverse to sustain a domestically focused career. The result of this is that she is adored within Russia. The first time I went to St. Petersburg I saw the audience go wild for her Kitri in Don Quixote. This is one of her favourite roles because she feels Kitri could be Georgian – the same strength of expression we associate with Spain, Nioradze associates with her native Georgia. (You haven’t seen audiences truly enjoy themselves until you have seen an audience in Russia supporting one of its stars.)

Whilst Irma has been completely faithful to the company and stayed within the fold, she has been quite revolutionary in being a mother and having a baby on the job. Iliko, her son, is the apple of her eye and she can’t wait for him to grow up a little so that he can appreciate his mother’s art. The Royal Ballet is beginning to count mothers amongst its ranks, Darcey Bussell being the most famous of the working mothers, but it is fairly unusual, still, for a ballerina to return to dance after giving birth.

This makes Nioradze so perfect a protagonist for ‘Madame Lionelli.’ Simonov (famous for his new production of ‘The Nutcracker’ for the Mariinsky) has choreographed a new work on Nioradze about a woman of the 21st century - business woman by day and devoted wife and mother by night. It is the first work to be choreographed on the ballerina and it is a dream come true. She danced his “About a Woman” (music by Morricone) at the St. Petersburg New Year Gala at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in January and although that was not made specifically for her, she liked Simonov's language. The idea of ‘Madame Lionelli’ was developed equally between them and evolved over time. Nioradze can identify perfectly with Madame Lionelli: during the day she is totally focused and concentrated on her work, but when she goes home she is a different woman and forgets her assertiveness and concentration – she softens and slips into the role of a mother completely devoted to her son. It will be interesting to see how this piece is received by UK audiences who are used to seeing the classic works from the Kirov. “Madame Lionelli” was well received in St. Petersburg earlier this year and represents an important development in Nioradze’s career.

Critical Dance wishes Ms Nioradze and her colleagues “Good Luck” with this venture.

<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/images/2Nioradze02.jpg" alt="" />
Irma Nioradze as 'Firebird'

<small>[ 10 May 2003, 05:04 AM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Stars of St Petersburg at Royal Albert Hall
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 6:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.criticaldance.com/images/Ruzimatov02.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Faroukh Ruzimatov in Fokine's "Scheherazade"</small>

Ballet Stars of St Petersburg, Thursday 8th May – a few quick thoughts

There were lots of things to savour in this celebration of St Petersburg ballet. Perhaps the strongest point was the sheer quality and variety of the male dancing. Ilja Kuznetsov danced and partnered with power and skill. Igor Zelensky showed his complete mastery of classical technique and impressed me with more responsive acting than I have previously seen from him. Tsiskaridze had only one solo, Golizovsky’s “Narcissus”, but his enthusiasm, musicality and the pace and flow of his dancing showed why he has built up such a reputation as an electrifying performer, while not satisfying all those who value classical purity above all else.

Best of all was Faroukh Ruzimatov. In “Scheherezade” the suppleness and sensuality of his performance, well-matched with Irma Nioradze, was a dream and made the most of this delicious piece of fantasy. Then, late in a long programme, his dancing in Bejart’s “Death of a Poet” was some of the most controlled and eloquent male dancing I have ever seen. I hope, like Baryshnikov, he continues dancing once his ballet days are ended.

Overall there were too many grands pas de deuxs in the programme - three lots of fouettes plus a trio in the finale is plain overdoing it. Irma Nioradze impressed in all her pieces. She and Kuznetsov gave their all in Karill Siminov’s “Madame Lionelli”, a new work based on the problems of a woman reconciling the roles of executive and lover. They clearly relished the chance to take part in the making and presentation of this one-act ballet. Nioradze sported a dazzingly sexy black business jacket and matching mini-skirt by Igor Chapurin. As well as a slow section by Gavin Bryars, the accompaniment features one of my current favourite pieces of 20th century music, John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances” from “Nixon in China” – a score that begs to be danced to. However, the mix of show-biz steps, jogging and high extensions seemed unsubtle and another indication that post-Soviet Russian choreography is still at an intermediate stage of development.

The finale for all those involved was great fun, especially some break dancing from Kuznetsov. I was impressed with the attention given to the dancers by the conductor, Alexander Sotnikov, where necessary, adjusting tempi to give them every chance. Some four thousand people saw much fine dancing and roared their approval at the end. The Russian visitors seemed pleased to perform in a relaxed ambiance.

<small>[ 09 May 2003, 07:46 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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