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Ulyana Lopatkina in Carmen-Suite © Natasha Razina
Ulyana Lopatkina in Carmen-Suite © Natasha Razina

 

To most dancers, “Russian Ballet” has a strong connotation that may be tricky to define in words. For instance, all of my early training was from Russian teachers which instilled in me many qualities such as discipline, focus, strength, diligence, and persistence. With this training came, naturally, enormous respect for these teachers. Therefore, this largely influenced the image of Russian Ballet to me.

Others may have heard of or even seen performances, videos, or photos of Russian Ballet companies like Moscow Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, or The Mariinsky Theater (which was known as Kirov Ballet during the Soviet years). These dancers are infamously beautiful and technically outstanding.

Dancers such as Maya Plisetskaya (wife of composer Rodion Schehedrin) have become National icons in their country, while others like George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov are widely celebrated in ours. With music by Schehedrin and choreography by Balanchine and Alexei Ratmansky, The Lincoln Center Festival is bringing together many big names in one place. It is the age old tradition with a contemporary spin, making it relevant to today’s, specifically, New York audiences.

What we consider the Russian Ballet tradition dates back to the late Imperial Era (think Marius Petipa), and has affected everyone in the dance world from Balanchine, to Ratmansky, to me. It seems to be the perfect storm to present this festival in New York, and perhaps reach an even wider audience than those already familiar with Russian Ballet. Is this a clever way to “make it new?” Is it still the same age old tradition of “Russian Ballet” with these contemporary artists? As we know, art is continuously evolving, and in order to make new traditions we need to continue to appeal to the modern audiences.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, DIYdancer has teamed up with some folks at Lincoln Center to do a Ticket Giveaway to The Little Humpbacked Horse! All you have to do is like Dd on Facebook and comment here to be entered. I’m curious to hear what you think!

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Written by Nicole Cerutti

Nicole Cerutti is a ballet-turned-modern dancer and arts enthusiast originally from Tampa Bay, Fla. Nicole pursued dance at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College at Columbia University. She currently lives in Brooklyn with Holly Golightly the Cat.