Lighten up! Monaco ballet to teach Bolshoi dancers

Mon Jul 2, 2012 9:25am EDT
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By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Bolshoi Theatre has invited the modern choreographer and artistic director of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo to teach Moscow's more conservative dancers how to let loose on stage.

France-born Jean-Christophe Maillot, 52, has led the Monte Carlo company for nearly 20 years and during those two decades has not created a ballet for an outside company, until now.

The full-length dramatic ballet, the title of which remains to be announced, is expected to premiere at Moscow's main ballet and opera house next season, the Bolshoi's 237th.

"In the past 20 years, I haven't set a single performance in a troupe other than my own. But it wasn't because I didn't want to, it was because to make a ballet I need to have a strong relationship with the dancers I work with," Maillot said.

"As concerns the Bolshoi, I really want to do it. It will be a unique experience for me, but I also hope to teach the Bolshoi dancers something."

Russian ballet dancers, traditionally brought up on works such as "Swan Lake" and "Giselle", have only recently started engaging in modern dance at choreography academies and theatres.

Bolshoi members who tried out freer, more modern techniques recently, said they felt strange, while choreographers who have worked with local dancers in Russia have found that the "sharpness" of the moves often stood in the way.

The announcement was made at a recent press-conference at the Bolshoi, where Maillot presented his four-person, heavily erotic pointe-less creation "Daphnis and Chloe", which goes beyond the classical repertoire of Russian ballet.   Continued...