The World of Russian Ballet with Vladimir Ivanov

The World of Russian Ballet with Vladimir Ivanov


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Ballet was introduced to the Russian Imperial court by French choreographers in the late eighteenth century. It took hold quickly and evolved into a significant part of Russian cultural life. More than just a dance form in Russia, ballet is part of the nation’s collective memory. In this seminar, we will meet the major players in ballet history in Russia - choreographers, dancers, composers - and understand the importance of the art form in contemporary life.

Our seminar begins in St Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theatre, where Marius Petipa (1819-1910) created what he described as the greatest ballet company in all of Europe. Then, we will learn how composer Petr Chaikovsky revolutionized the music for ballet by composing three masterpieces: “Swan Lake”, “Sleeping Beauty”, and “Cinderella”. We will also examine the role of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes as a bridge between Russian and Western worlds and look at the great names in Russian imperial ballet such as dancers Anna Pavlova, Mathilde Kschessinska and choreographer Michel Fokin.

We will also discuss ballet in Soviet Russia and look at the Vaganova Ballet Academy to learn about how an ordinary Soviet dancer, George Balanchine, became an American super-star and Sergei Prokofiev's “Romeo and Juliet”, a Soviet ballet classic. We will finish our ambitious program looking at the Mariinsky today under its current artistic director Valery Gergiev.

Led by St Petersburg based art historian Vladimir Ivanov, this interactive seminar aims at opening the door to the world of Russian ballet. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of how Russian ballet developed throughout the decades in the walls of the Mariinsky theatre and beyond.

Holding an MA in Classics, Vladimir is an author of a book called “Inspired by outer space: images of the future in late Soviet architecture” and a key contributor to TASCHEN's edition "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed". Vladimir has written articles on contemporary art for local media, done podcasts on photography and the Russian revolution. He has also curated a number of exhibitions, including "The Cradle of the Faith: Christian Presence in the Middle East" in New Michael Palace and "Lingua Sacra" in the Imperial Public Library. Currently, he is doing architectural walks in St Petersburg and shares his vast knowledge of arts through the tours of the Hermitage and Russian museums.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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