Mikhailovsky Triple

Angelina Vorontsova and Ivan Vasiliev in Le Halte de Cavalerie. Photo courtesy of the Mikhailovsky Theatre.
Angelina Vorontsova and Ivan Vasiliev in Le Halte de Cavalerie. Photo courtesy of the Mikhailovsky Theatre.

On Nov. 18-19, the Mikhailovsky performed a triple bill, consisting of Petipa’s 1896 one-act La Halte de Cavalerie, Asaf Messerer’s Class Concert, and Nacho Duato’s Prelude. I reviewed the program for DanceTabs. Here’s a short excerpt:

“The idea behind the triptych is to show three aspects of the company’s style: the classicism and character dance of Petipa; the technical pizzazz of mid-twentieth-century Soviet dance, the eccentricities and atmospherics of contemporary movement. None of the pieces is a masterpiece. However, Petipa’s Halte de Cavalerie, made in 1896, is certainly a charmer, a brainless little farce set to forgettable but lively music by the specialist composer Ivan Ivanovich Armsheimer, with lots of pretty dancing and even more clowning around.”

Ballet for the Masses

Oksana Bondareva, Ivan Vasiliev together with Angelina Vorontsova and the company in The Flames of Paris. Phot by Stas Levshin, courtesy the Mikhailovsky Ballet.
Oksana Bondareva, Ivan Vasiliev together with Angelina Vorontsova and the company in The Flames of Paris. Phot by Stas Levshin, courtesy the Mikhailovsky Ballet.

After a few performances of the Romantic classic Giselle, the Mikhailovsky Ballet moved on to far more original fare: the 1932 Flames of Paris, by Vasily Vainonen. Conceived as a thinly-veiled tribute to the October Revolution, the ballet is a celebration of group action, as represented by the  company. The ensembles are as important as the soloists, if not more so. Ditto with “character” (i.e. non-classical) dance. The style ranges from Auvergnat clog-dances to 18th-century court dance to Soviet heroism. The story is rip-roaring, more Scarlet Pimpernel than fairy-tale or reverie. Simply put, it’s great fun, and fascinating to see a ballet in a style we never see nowadays. (Though, in its own way, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice is not far off.)

Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.