Ballet festival from Moscow Festival Ballet

At the beginning of new semester, Moscow Festival Ballet, a ballet group from Russia, gifted the first art banquet of 2018. From Jan. 16 to Jan.18, these Russian artists gave a series of classical Russian ballets in the Tyron Festival Theater of Krannert Center of Performing Arts (KCPA).

As a ballet group touring in Europe and North America for many years, Moscow Festival Ballet benefits much from the founder, Sergei Radchenko, the legendary principle dancer of Bolshoi Ballet. Bolshoi Ballet is one of the greatest two ballet groups —- the other one is Mariinsky, a great theatre with amazing orchestra and ballet, which orchestra has come to KCPA last year, with the general director and artistic director, Valery Gergiev. As the principle dancer, Radchenko had worked in Bolshoi for 25 years before he retired, danced almost the entire repertoire of Bolshoi and gained a great reputation. When he retired in 1989, he established the Moscow Festival Ballet as the founder and art director. Through his guidance and reputation, young talents gathered here and got trained, and they helped to spread the great art of Russian Ballet to the world.

And this time, Moscow Festival Ballet chose a series of famous classical ones. Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Cinderella, these masterpieces had been performed for thousands of times around the world, and all of them were first performed in Bolshoi Theatre. Swan Lake, the masterpiece of Tchaikovsky, maybe the most famous ballet, was a romance story between Prince Siegfried and cursed princess Odette. In this production, the director chooses the St.Peterburg version end, a happy ending that Siegfried defeats the devil Von Rothbart and saves the princess, but not the most famous one, the dying swan. Don Quixote was adopted from the Spanish novel Don Quixote, However, this time the main characters are not Don Quixote and Sancho, but Kitri (Quiteria in original novel) and Basilio, the barber. And the Cinderella was also adopted from the famous story, Cinderella.

“I have waited for months! I’m really eager to watch this show!”, a lady said. Although this was not the first time that Moscow Festival Ballet came to Urbana-Champaign, local residents and students still gave a hearty welcome to these dancers. From the Swan Lake to Cinderella, the Tyron Festival Theater was almost full-house in these three days. Parents brought children to join the show, especially in Cinderella, that children’s voice was everywhere before the curtain raise.

Dancers earned high marks from the audience. Children were excited, and adults gave rounds of enthusiastic applause to the dancers. All the soloists gave amazing performance. For example, Hanna Zimovchenko, acting as Odette/Odylle in Swan Lake and Cinderella in Cinderella, gave a first-rate dancing. She expressed the pure of Odette and the glamour of Odylle completely. And Dmitry Sitevich, acting as princess Siegfried in Swan Lake and Prince in Cinderella, his grand jetes around the stage conquered the audience. We could never forget Sergey Kotov, as Jester in Swan Lake. His amazing skills and exquisite fluidity of movement lightened the audience.

“I really like the scenes with Jester! He was so amazing, especially when he jumped! And the Rothbart, he was also so cool. I like the scene when the Prince and Rothbart on the stage, with the music of the theme of Swan Lake, their cooperation was so good,” a girl said.

Unfortunately, the corps de ballet were not satisfying.

“Those soloists are great, but the corps de ballet are not good enough.” A girl said

The ensemble seemed to have some problem with their cooperation. In several scenes someone seemed to dance a little bit “slower” than others.

“The arms of those dancers seem not so fluent,” An anonymous audience said.

But all in all, as a tour ballet group, Moscow Festival Ballet did a good job. Audience were excited and satisfied in general. Although the curtain had fallen in Tyron Festival Theater, the new season of performing arts in Champaign-Urbana started. We are waiting for the future show.


Written by Zihan Wang, University of Illinois

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Ballet festival from Moscow Festival Ballet