Kirov Ballet

Article excerpt

KIROV BALLET MARYINSKY THEATER, ST. PETERSBURG NOVEMBER 24, 1998

After refreshing its repertory last season with George Balanchine's established classic Serenade and Roland Petit's Carmen and Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, the Kirov Ballet ventured on an evening of new one-act ballets. The thirty-year-old choreographer Alexei Ratmansky was invited to carry out the project. After studying in Moscow and successfully performing in Kiev, Toronto, and Copenhagen, he gained renown by creating Charms of Mannerism and Dreams of Japan for Nina Ananiashvili and her friends. These ballets were later included in the repertory of the Bolshoi Ballet (and reviewed in Dance Magazine in June 1998). Ratmansky's choreographic style is based upon the classics, and its intellectual component--sometimes accompanied by irony and humor--predominates over emotions. For this evening he chose three ballets set to music of Russian composers.

Le Baiser de la Fee ("The Fairy Kiss"), to the Stravinsky score, opened the evening. Its libretto (inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Ice Maiden") remained largely untouched, though some details of the story differed from the original. The Ice Maiden, followed by her entourage, organizes the course of events. They steal a baby from its mother, the Ice Maiden gives him a symbolic kiss, and she then predetermines his fate. She chooses a fiancee for him when he is of age; then she separates the pair.

After another kiss in the finale, the young man chosen by the Ice Maiden finds himself in a situation where he must arrange ice-white patterns comprised of male and female dancers; these segments sometimes remind one of fragments from classical ballets. The Ice Maiden, Uliana Lopatkina, reigns onstage, her masterly dancing a bit dry but still most impressive. …