Awhile back this year, a friend and I purchased a mini-subscription to the Kennedy Center and yesterday was our final performance. And possibly my favorite one yet. Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet is in town and they signed, sealed, and delivered a phenomenal performance of Coppelia. I'll admit that I get excited about the "classical" ballets less and less, prefering mixed reportoires instead but last night seriously made me reconsider.
The amazing thing about this production is that it is just that - nothing un-bolshoi about it. The dancers are first-rate - and not just individually but also as a corps. After watching so many performances where corps work seems to consistently come last in terms of attention to detail, the Bolshoi company nails it - nearly every single time. Ahh the beauty of movement in UNISON. But the sets are gorgeous, and the costumes are breathtaking in their color and detail, and the music (although played by the Kennedy Center Orchestra and not traveling with the actual Bolshoi) is a joy to listen to. And if the colors and dress make you nostalgic for Eastern European villages before the unfortunate 20th century rolled through them, that's because the work is set (accurately) in Galicia (now Polish and Ukranian territory). See? A "production" through and through, all coming together for a really wonderful piece of work that takes every aspect of the show into account, something that I think is rare when constrained budgets and travel schedules hit productions.
Last night Maria Aleksandrova was in the main role, and her speed and lightness of foot was unbelievable - no clunk, clunking when she lands. And she's funny too - it's amazing what dancers can convey with just a look or the flick of a wrist. Ruslan Skvortsov delivered an equally excellent Frantz, complete with the right "how did i get into my own mess" confusion that he delivers on multiple occassions.
If you missed the performance last night you can catch the Bolshoi through Sunday at the Kennedy Center.
First three photos by John Ross, remaining by Damir Yusupov.