No other dance troupe has exemplified art's ability to transcend political difference better than Russia's famed Moiseyev Dance Company. Since its establishment by choreographic master Igor Moiseyev in 1937, the ensemble's mesmerizing depictions of traditional folk life have attracted audiences around the globe.
World renowned as much for the convincing embodiment of its material as for its spectacular leaps and fast-paced sketches, the troupe began performing internationally in 1955. Over the past 50 years it has visited and revisited more than 60 countries, managing to maintain a strong bond with the West throughout the Cold War.
As part of its world tour in honor of the 100th birthday of founder Moiseyev, the troupe will stop for performances in Israel's three main cities, the first of which takes place this Thursday at Jerusalem's Binyanei Ha'uma.
The program opens with Summer, a vibrant portrayal of the joie de vivre of Russian country folk. The piece is enhanced by acutely timed changes of pace from slow, purposeful steps to high-speed dances and airborne acrobatics.
This upbeat performance gives way to the more somber Kalmuk Dance, an account of the nomadic Kalmuk tribe's connection to nature. The dancers' compelling evocations of birds, horses and bulls provide insight into the uncompromising living conditions of these wanderers. Partisans, a tribute to the men and women who fought the Nazis in the North Caucasus mountains and regarded by many as Moiseyev's signature work, cannot fail to astonish, so convincing is its portrayal of the revolutionaries on horseback gliding through the mountains.
Other highlights include Tabakayaska, the esthetically pleasing tale of a beautiful Moldavian maiden and her admirers, complete with striking costumes; and the comic Zhok, a mountaineering dance that depicts the trials of a young man unlucky in love.
The Moiseyev Company will appear at Binyanei Ha'uma this Thursday at 8:30 p.m. It performs at Haifa's Center of Congresses on October 20 and 21, and at the Cultural Center in Tel Aviv on October 22, 23 and 24. For tickets to the Jerusalem performance, call (02) 623-7000. For the Haifa performances, call (04) 838-4777; for Tel Aviv, call (03) 604-5000.
Tickets cost from NIS 169-299.