Russian National Ballet Theatre returns to Krannert

Giselle is a common performance done by the Russian National Ballet Theatre. They will be performing Giselle Wednesday, Jan. 18th at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts.

Photo Courtesy of Собственное фото

“Giselle” is a common performance done by the Russian National Ballet Theatre. They will be performing “Giselle” Wednesday, Jan. 18th at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts.

By Emma Palatnik, Staff Writer

Patrons gathered on Tuesday night at the Krannert Center to see ballet dancers perform two tragedies of lovers beleaguered by fate: “Carmen” and “Romeo and Juliet.” 

The Russian National Ballet Theatre featured the double-act as part of its annual spring performance at Krannert. It has two more performances at Krannert before it hits the road again. The next show, “Giselle,” is 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and “Sleeping Beauty” is at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Tickets range from $10-$45 and are available on Krannert’s website.

Eva Stygan, LAS student, said she attended the performance with her friends because they like going to shows like the ballet. She also said that she wanted to go because she had never seen the company perform before.

Bridget Lee-Calfas, Krannert advertising and publicity director, wrote in an email that the Russian National Ballet is a road show. It doesn’t rehearse at Krannert. The dancers get off the bus, warm up and go on stage.

This year, the company is on a four-month tour in the United States.

The Russian National Ballet Theater comes from Moscow, Russia. It began in the late 1980s during the Perestroika transitional period. During this time, choreographers and dancers had new creative freedoms and thus created dance companies.

The company was originally titled the Soviet National Ballet and founded by graduates of the choreographic schools of Perm, St. Petersburg and Moscow. The first dancers were from ballet companies and academies in Russia, as well as Riga, Kiev and Warsaw.

There are now more than 50 dancers in the ballet company, and many of them have been in it since the beginning. Their repertoire consists nearly all of Petipa’s works. They can perform twelve different shows such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, La Bayadere and Don Quixote.

Elene Radchenko, the company’s founder, said one of her goals is to maintain Russian ballet works traditions. She also is in charge of the choreography and costumes.

Radchenko restaged “Romeo and Juliet,” which was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. The sets and costumes were done by the company owners, Elena and Sergey Radchenko. The music was created by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The dancers told Romeo and Juliet’s short-lived affair in which they fall in love upon meeting and vow to marry and die together. Juliet’s parents choose the rich Paris for her to marry. Juliet takes a sleeping drug to appear dead and avoid the marriage, but Romeo finds Juliet and believes she is dead, so he poisons himself. Juliet finds Romeo’s body and kills herself with his dagger so the lovers can reunite in heaven.

The second art, “Carmen,” was based on Prosper Merimee’s story. The music was first done by Georges Bizet and then followed by Rodion Shchedrin. Alberto Alonso choreographed the ballet, and Iryna Kovalova added additional staging later. 

“Carmen” tells the tale of a beautiful, free young woman caught by love. Carmen abandons her lover, Don José, for Escamillo. Don José still continues to pursue her. It isn’t until he lies that he truly loses Carmen. In the final pas de deux, a simulated bullfight, Carmen and the bull die. The bull represents fate, so Carmen and her fate end up as one.

“I like comparing it to the Nutcracker and seeing how this one was different, I mean it’s a completely different group performing,” said Kalina Gadja, student in LAS.

emmacp2@dailyillini.com