I LOVE the Russian ballet. Love Love Love Love Love Love.
I love that when you go to a ballet in St. Petersburg, the audience is filled with an attentive crowd that genuinely loves and appreciates the art of the dance, rather than just going to show off and be pretentious to friends who really don’t care how cultured you are.
I love the music. I love the costumes. I love the sets. I love the dancers. I love ballet.
The first two ballets I went to were at the Conservatory Theatre in St. Petersburg.
‘Giselle’ is the story of a frail young maiden who meets a handsome prince while he’s hunting in the woods. The excitement over their love and ensuing events unfortunately kill the maiden, and she spends the rest of the ballet as a fairy spirit watching over her prince and protecting him from afar.
The second at the Conservatory was ‘Swan Lake’. I had high expectations for this one, having just seen the movie Black Swan. Daniel and I went to see it together, and he was still a bit jet lagged and was fighting off sleep during the show. Our seats were in the second row, so it was amazing to see everything so close, but the quality of the performances at this theater aren’t the highest (it’s the cheapest theatre in the city).
Next, and most important on my list, was ‘The Nutcracker.’ Every December I listen to the Nutcracker ballet over and over again, and then I have to restrict myself the rest of the year lest the magic go out of it from overuse. I was leaving for Germany, so I only had a small window to see the show, and for the night I wanted, I got the last ticket in the house. This was my first time attending the Marinskiy Theater, the most prestigious theater in St. Petersburg and one of the best troupes in the world. I was enchanted as soon as the curtain went up, and at parts the scenery, the costumes, and the dancing was so beautiful that I cried. It was perfect.
‘Shurale’ was my favorite ballet. I’d never even heard of it, and I’d never heard of the composer. One of the other teachers had a student who had to give up tickets to this performance because she would be out of town. Her family had seasonal box seats. Jamina immediately invited me, because it was no secret that I loved ballet, and Marissa was able to go, too. I had one class during the performance, and I worked hard to try to get that class canceled. I was able to contact the two girls (they loved ballet, too) but we couldn’t reach Nikita, so I had to go to class in case he showed up. Of course he showed up 10 minutes late, and he was the only one to show up. We had a taxi waiting in front of the school all ready to whisk me away to the show as soon as I ran out the door. I missed the first 30 minutes of the performance, but everything I saw, I loved. The prima ballerina was from Moscow, and she’s one of the most famous in the world right now. She played the part of a bird that captures the love of both a prince and a demon. She was so graceful and ethereal. It was such a pleasure to watch her dance.
The Firebird. Birds seem to be the most popular thing for a prima ballerina to be, although in this case the firebird wasn’t the main character. This was a show that I happened to get cheap tickets for, and one where I thought the corps du ballet was much better than the principal dancers. I spent most of the performance watching them.
The Sleeping Beauty. I took Mom to see this performance. I’d wanted her to see at least one ballet while she was in Russia. When we got to the theater, we saw from the program that the ballet was four hours long, and that there would be many intermissions. Mom was a little alarmed by the length, but I was delighted. We both enjoyed the performance immensely. Tschaikovskiy is one of my favorite composers, and this suite some of my favorite music.