Eifman's Dancers: On the Record

Article excerpt

Why should this year be any different? Controversy will hover in the air when the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg launches its annual American tour this month. The fare will include the premiere of Anna Karenina, revivals of Don Juan & Moliere, and Red Giselle. Despite the company's popularity, dissenters often accuse Boris Eifman of indulging in over-the-top theatrics. But, after all, says DANCE MAGAZINE correspondent Elena Kunikova, "good taste is just that, a matter of taste."

What can't be disputed is the dedication of the dancers who bring these ballets to life. We asked Kunikova to interview two of the company's outstanding principals, Albert Galichanin and Vera Arbouzova, about Eifman the choreographer, Eifman the man, and what drew them into his world.

ALBERT GALICHANIN "In 1988, after five years in Perm, I was accepted by St. Petersburg's Maly Theater as a leading soloist. Times were tough; I had many personal problems. Boris Eifman invited me to join his then fairly new company, and promised to help. He is always ready to do anything at all possible for his dancers, fie would make a great businessman.

"What I like and value most, is that I get to dance things choreographed for me personally, not for somebody else a hundred years before me. His shows are not just ballets but choreo-dramas where tire drama part is most important. Eifman has a unique approach: He creates the show as a whole, trying to express the spiritual through the physical

"I adore the Kirov, but they are not innovators, they don't take chances. The Kirov only stages established choreographers, and thus keeps its reputation and purity. The Bolshoi Ballet these days is taking more risk with new works.

"I have had many offers to join Western companies. Life in the West would probably be more financially secure, but the strained conditions in Russia compel ingenuity in art. …