Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Eifman Ballet : Anna Karenina in Paris

At the occasion of the France-Russia Season, the very famous Eifman Ballet from Saint-Petersburg was presenting Anna Karenina at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, for three performances from December 3rd to 5th.

Anna Karenina,  photo Yuri Belinsk

Anna Karenina, photo Yuri Belinsk

The Parisian audience offered a wonderful reception to this very emotional and sensitive ballet and the “bravos” fused at the end of the performance.

The synopsis of Anna Karenina is inspired from the novel by Leon Tolstoï and tells the dramatic story of a woman who is torn between the social conventions, which make her an unhappy wife, and her passion for the young officer Vronsky. She decides to live her passion with him, but this love, rejected by society, will lead her to a fatal ending.

Boris Eifman, a passionate and inspired choreographer, created his own company in Saint-Petersburg in 1977 and led it through ten years of USSR, ten years of Perestroika and then ten years of new Russia

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. First criticized for his innovator style which broke with Russian classicism and was considered provoking in a soviet country, he is now considered as the most important choreographer of Russia and owns his Choreographic Center, established by the state of Russia and the city of Saint-Petersburg. According to him, dance is a very special art that permit “to stage psychological dramas.

It gives a possibility to know the unconscious”; and the story of Anna Karenina, thanks to the talent of Tolstoï who depicted the psychological world of his characters with an amazing precision and sensitivity, “reflects also the life of Russia”.

This choreography is pure beauty and emotional, and the choice for the music of  Peter Tchaikovsky’s is almost evidence. It sublimates all the romance of the story and all the poetry of the choreography, creating a perfect alchemy between them. The choreography is very rich, sensual and expressive, without getting pretentious. It is always true, and touches the audience deeply. Boris Eifman really has a proper style which is the attribute of great choreographers and distinguishes him from any other. There are a lot of good ideas in his movements, using new kinds of “ports de bras” and wonderful “portes” in the “pas de deux”. Though the dancers have the occasion to show their great technique, with many jumps and “pirouettes”, a simple gesture with the arm or hand is able to wave the audience’s soul.

This is a real narrative ballet, in the style of Nureïev or Cranko, but developing a real contemporary technique, based on classical technique to overtake it, which has nothing to deal with some meaningless contemporary ballets one can see nowadays. Not to forget the “ensemble” parts where all the corps de ballet” is used for a firework of emotions, in which costumes, decorations and lights create harmony.

It was really an honor to welcome a great Russian company such as the Eifman Ballet for three performances in Paris. After that, it is to Lyon to host them at the Maison de la Danse. The dancers will perform Don Quichotte from December 7th to 12th, but is already almost sold out. It seems that, after having conquered the hearth of Russians, Americans and Canadians, it is now to the French to offer to the Eifman Ballet the success it deserves.

Boris Eifman,  direction artistique et chorégraphie

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, musique

Zinovij Margolin, décors. Viacheslav Okunev, costumes. Gleb Filshtinsky, lumières. Leonid Eremin, spécial effects.

In the leding roles: Nina Zmiievets wonderful as Anna Karenine. Oleg Markov demanding as Karenine.  Oleg Gabyshev handsome asVronsky.

Corps du Ballet du Eifman Ballet Theatre

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