Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to see the Bolshoi in London for many performances – Spartacus, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, La Bayadere, and Le Corsaire among them. And I’ve been kind of … surprised by how different Russian ballet seems to American (and now English) ballet. The dancers seem … more … showy. Perhaps even egotistical. Everything is very over the top. Now, I LOVE the shameless overindulgence and all, but it’s been kind of hard for me to put a finger on what makes it so very different.
Fortunately, a wonderful article has appeared in the New York Times this week explaining why Russian ballet is such a completely different experience from American/English ballet. It’s not just the noisy audiences or the endless rounds of applause – it’s the very way a ballerina will push her body a little further to emphasize her technical brilliance – at the expense of the production of actual art. It’s really well written (even though I don’t know ballet well enough to follow some of his descriptions) and really good reading.
For those who follow this blog, this week we’re off to see Ballet Black at the Linbury, Carlos Acosta at the Coliseum, and Wayne Macgregor at Sadlers Wells. April is really a dance heavy month, but I can’t really apologize for it – there are two shows I’d like to see (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Punch and Judy) conflict with nearly everything else I’m doing … but who knows, maybe I can squeeze another show or two in somewhere.