A highly recommended performance is playing this weekend in New York -“Flames of Paris” by Russian Mikhailovsky Ballet Theater – a vibrant, dramatic play which take place back in 1792 during the French Revolution. I had never performed in this historical ballet, that it why I am always very excited to see “Flames of Paris” because for me there are not so many ballet plays which you can go and really enjoy watching without comparing different choreographies and their performances or having a nostalgic moment when you remember yourself doing this part. Moreover, I really appreciate the work of Mikhailovsky Ballet. – the largest private ballet theater in Russia. I remember that after seeing for the first time Mikhailovsky Ballet and its representation of “Giselle” in St. Petersburg in 2009 I was impressed by how advance and how big it is compared to other thirteen ballet theaters in St. Petersburg. Previously the American public has seen only performances of Mariinsky theater, the bigger Ballet Company in St. Petersburg. But Mikhailovsky Ballet displays actually the same high quality ballet which incorporates changes in our art and tries its best to preserve Russian traditions and at the same time impress the audience around the world with something new.
And all the cast of Mikhailovsky Ballet proved that ballet is not only for entertaining, but also for engaging the audience. This performance was made for audiences around the globe, and gives you something to think about, care and debate about. In this highly intense world with cold wars, conflict in Ukraine and revolutionary hotspots around the world, this ballet was made just in time and I am so glad that Mikhailovsky Ballet chose this symbolical and very touching ballet for adults. Especially after second act, when you see people suffering around a lifted dead body of Teresa, Mariam Ugrekhelidze, and a French revolutionaries flag lying across the body with its red line as a blood dripping down.
After the show people didn’t want to leave the theater, they wanted to stay and share their perspectives about what they saw. I heard a lot of Russian and Ukrainian conversations in the theater, almost same as if I was now in Russia or Kiev. Even during the ballet you can hear Russian songs and read slogans of freedom in Russian language. Yes, this ballet is for adults, although the youngest performer on the stage was just a 4 year-old girl, who got “Bravo” ovations and really made the show as much as real and full the ballet company possible could do. And like someone told me during the show who else could stage a popular revolt better than Russians with their long revolutionary and ballet history.
I attended “Flames of Paris” on November 15th 20014, when Ivan Vasiliev, Oksana Bondareva, Irina Perren, and Veronica Ignatyeva took their place on the stage of The David H. Koch Theater. They rocked the stage, they sparkled, impressed, and showed high techniques and artistic talent. Ivan Vasiliev could finally show everything he is capable of, he is the star of Mikhailovsky Ballet, that it why he could do whatever he wants without limits, as during ABT seasons.
I am so glad that he is proud of his big hands, he makes his ballets more real to the ground and no one will criticize him for that because this is now his signature, same as his unbelievable jumps and tricks. Even his loud walk makes him look as a real man, not a classical effeminate male dancer who walks like a cat from toes to heel. But I can admit that he looks kind of emphatic during transitions in between his solos and acting scenes, not showing enough appreciation to his corps de ballet, like other ballet soloists do, the only person he admired was his partner Oksana Bondareva. During a final bow he always holds her and let’s her to shine with him, even though Vasiliev stole the whole show and made the audience to become wild in the end of the ballet.
The women cast of Mikhailovsky Ballet are so gorgeous, all with long lean lines, good arches, soft and highly controlled arms, and so light jumping and effortless turning that makes the ballet to be an art form, not a sport or circus, but true magical, unreal, stylish, and iconic Russian ballet. Irina Perren and Victor Lebedev showed a real traditional classical techniques. Ms. Perren was so light that I didn’t hear her steps at all and you could just look at her arms and enjoy its perfect beauty. Victor Lebedev was very clean in his work, with his long lines and aristocratic look, reminded me look of David Hallberg. And in the end I have to give a highly rated review for Mikhailovsky orchestra and its conductor Pavel Bubernikov. The live music was stunning and orchestra in David H. Koch Theater was made of professional musicians of Mikhailovsky theater.
Please take a last chance to see Mikhailovsky Ballet in the USA and come to this Sunday performance of “Flames of Paris” on November 16th. And I am so glad that our students from Brighton Ballet Theater will have chance to perform with Mikhailovsky Ballet in one of the best ballet in the world, Don Quixote, this week. In addition, you will be able to see Natalia Osipova performing the lead role of Kitri, I remember her Kitri during ABT seasons which was so impressive, that now people buying tickets for her Don Quixote months in advance.
Have a good week and enjoy the remaining performances of Mikhailovsky Ballet “Flames of Paris” in NYC. Please leave your comments and make sure to share a link to my review of Mikhailovsky Ballet “Flames of Paris” in NYC if you like it.