The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!
Actually, they're already here: Moscow's famous Bolshoi Ballet has arrived in NYC for more than two weeks of performances.
"Bolshoi" literally translates to "big"—which is perfect, because this company doesn't do anything small. They've brought three huge productions with them to the Big Apple: classics Swan Lake and Don Quixote, and an over-the-top man-candy festival known as Spartacus.
It's a chance for New Yorkers to see ginormous stars, especially the world-renowned Svetlana Zakharova.
Zakharova being her usual unreal self in Don Quixote (photo by Gene Schiavone)
We'll also finally witness Zakharova's much-talked-about partnership with David Hallberg, the American Ballet Theatre star who's made the Bolshoi his second home.
High drama: Hallberg and Zakharova in Swan Lake (photo by Damir Yusupov)
And we'll get a good look at up-and-comers like gorgeous Olga Smirnova, who at just 22 has already earned thousands of rabidly devoted fans.
Classical perfection: Smirnova in "Diamonds" from Jewels (photo by Damir Yusupov)
Time for some real talk: The past couple of years haven't been so great for the Bolshoi. Early in 2013, director Sergei Filin was attacked by a masked man who threw acid on his face, leaving Filin nearly blind. The resulting investigation revealed a lot of disturbing—sometimes downright scary—information about Bolshoi politics.
But Filin, who after many surgeries has regained some of his eyesight, is back at the Bolshoi's helm. (He was even a judge at the Youth America Grand Prix finals this spring.) And it's a good sign that most of the press the group has been getting recently concerns dancing, rather than scandal. Here's hoping that the company's ugliest moments are past—so we can get back to obsessing about its truly fantastic artists.
The Bolshoi Ballet performs through July 27 at Lincoln Center. Click here to learn more!
Bolshoi Ballet just released an official 2016-17 season trailer—and it's. insanely. beautiful. There's tons of romance, grace and elegance thanks to gorgeous costumes, opulent backdrops and, of course, superb dancing (aka everything you need ballet to be). And if all of that wasn't enough to make you swoon, check out the dancing in the audience of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre. Spoiler alert: It's crazy stunning. #AllTheGold
The trailer comes as part of the storied company's cinema initiative to stream and show select performances in movie theaters around the U.S. Starting October 16 with The Golden Age choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, the screenings run through April 2017 and include classic ballets like The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, plus contemporary pieces from choreographers including Alexei Ratmansky.
If you guys are anything like me, you won't be traveling to Russia anytime soon (despite REEEALLLY wanting to). Fortunately, we can enjoy every bunhead's favorite piece of Russian culture, the Bolshoi Ballet, right here in our local movie theaters.
(Photo via Fathom Events)
Bad news first: David Hallberg had to cancel his spring season performances with American Ballet Theatre. He had surgery on his foot a few months ago, and apparently jumped back into things a little too quickly—so he's taking the time to make sure his injury heals properly. This is a total bummer for all of us NYC ballet fans, who were looking forward to seeing his perfect technique light up the stage at the Met.
Hallberg flying in one of the Bolshoi's studios (photo by Henry Leutwyler)
Now for the good news: Hallberg is serving as the dance director for the very first Festival of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA, which is happening today! Though he won't dance in the festival, he's helping to bring dance to an area that doesn't usually attract a ton of starpower, and he's doing it with style— New York City Ballet principal Maria Kowroski is slated to dance something by George Balanchine, while American Ballet Theatre principal Veronika Part will dance a more contemporary ballet piece by Lar Lubovich.
Hallberg's cross-cultural ballet career (trained at the Paris Opéra Ballet School, currently dances with ABT and the Bolshoi Ballet) has helped him understand the importance of bringing art to different communities. "I want the Palm Springs area and Southern California to experience extremely high quality art in various disciplines," he told Palm Springs Life magazine. We're all about it—but heal up Hallberg! We want to see you back on the stage, too.
Do you like ballet? Are you obsessed with the superhuman Russian ballerina Svetlana Zakharova? Do you live near a movie theater? If you answered "yes" to any (or all) those questions, and you're free this Sunday afternoon, start getting pumped now. The Bolshoi Ballet will broadcast its January 25, 2015 performance to more than 500 movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada.
So what'll Zakharova be bringing you to tears in this time, you ask? Only the most classical and fantastical and romantic-al ballets of all time: Swan Lake (swoon).
Yes, please! Svetlana Zakharova and Alexander Volchkov in Swan Lake (Photo © Dave Morgan)
Sunday's broadcast begins at 12:55pm—though check your local listings here, since some theaters will present the show at alternate dates/times over the next few months. A word of warning: The production is 160 minutes (of pure ballet awesomeness)—so you might want to get to the theater early and buy some popcorn.
And before you go, check out the "Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema" trailer for Swan Lake, in which Zakharova and Denis Rodkin (who will perform Prince Siegfried on Sunday) talk about the ballet and its challenges.
This "Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema" broadcast is presented by Pathe Live and BY Experience, and lucky for us, the season isn't over yet. Romeo and Juliet and Ivan the Terrible are up next; click here for more info.
We told you it was coming—and now it's finally arrived!
Today is the first-ever World Ballet Day, which means it's time to watch dancers from five of the world's greatest companies—the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet—taking class and rehearsing. The up-close-and-personal experience is provided by an ongoing live stream. Each company is taking over the stream in turn, with the feed beaming first from Australia and then traveling across the world until it reaches San Francisco.
Actually, my tenses are a little off here: As I write this, the Australian, Bolshoi and Royal Ballets have already had their moments of live stream glory. But never fear: The whole thing will be available to watch on YouTube for 48 hours once SFB's section concludes. And even after that grace period, various highlights from the extravaganza will remain up online.
Right now The National Ballet of Canada is up at bat—take a look! And please apologize in advance to your teachers, because I'm guessing it's going to be hard to get any work done today...
So, this is super-duper awesome: October 1st will be the first ever World Ballet Day! I know, I know—it's not like you need another reason to celebrate the most elegant of art forms. But this is going to be a pretty amazing celebration.
Five of the world's biggest ballet companies have teamed up to offer a crazy-good live streaming event on the 1st. Each of the troupes—the Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet—will host a four-hour stream, with the link passing across time zones from Melbourne to San Fran. We'll get peeks at all kinds of classes and rehearsals—windows into what ballet company life is like around the world. We'll see, in other words, how all these companies speak the same ballet language with different accents.
Where did this idea come from? Well, remember last year, when the Royal Ballet hosted a nine-hour behind-the-scenes live streaming marathon? This is a replication of that idea on a larger scale. And don't worry about waking up in the middle of the night to watch what's happening in Melbourne: The whole day's stream will be repeated on YouTube, just as the Royal's broadcast was, for catch-up purposes. (And if you really miss the boat, select highlight clips will still be available after that.)
More information about World Ballet Day is apparently coming soon—stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the official trailer below, and read a little more about the project here, here, here and here.
Attention, bunheads! A new video is circulating the web, and it's a beauty. Dancing on Rough Ground highlights Anastasia Kurkova, who left the Bolshoi Ballet to join one of Germany's premier ballet companies, Staatsballett Berlin. (It's a part of the I Am Berlin film series—a sequel to I Am Los Angeles—featuring an assortment of people and places to offer a unique view of the city.)
To ballet peeps, the dialogue spoken by Kurkova in Dancing on Rough Ground isn’t all that new. She talks about the challenges familiar to most dancers—competition with others, slippery floors, learning discipline at a young age. But the clips of her practicing in the studio, rehearsing new choreography and warming up on stage are all well worth a watch. (Swoon.) Take a look:
Want to take a trip to Berlin now for the company's next performance? Me too. In the meantime, check out some ballet eye candy from other Staatsballet Berliners, and visit the site for more. There are a ton of pics—the best Tuesday present I can think of.
Photo ©Bettina Stöß
Photo ©Bettina Stöß