In his footsteps

Ballet Igor Moiseyev returns to Israel with a production of ‘Tango Del Plata’

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
August 21, 2019 15:30
3 minute read.
In his footsteps

‘TANGO DEL PLATA’. (photo credit: E. MASALKOV)

Whereas many seconds-in-command dream of a day in which they will be able to take over the reins from their superior, Elena Shcherbakova takes immense pride in running the Ballet Igor Moiseyev exactly as her predecessor did. The first to run the company following Moiseyev’s death, Shcherbakova closely follows in his footsteps, staying true to the artistic vision and ambiance set out by the Maestro.

For over 50 years, since attending a performance of the legendary Ukrainian choreographer, the company has been Shcherbakova’s life. Its members are more than coworkers, they are family. “I love everything and everyone in the company. All generations of Moiseyev are united by brotherhood and friendship,” she recently told The Jerusalem Post.

Shcherbakova was born and raised in Moscow. Her mother was a dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet and is, in Shcherbakova’s eyes, the unquestionable source of her talents. “I have been dancing since childhood,” she said. “I literally spent time behind the scenes from the age of four. The dream of becoming an actress, apparently, was born there. I will not say anything about my talent but my ability to dance came from my mother. Without it, I would not have graduated from the Moscow Choreography School.”

At the age of 15, she went to see Ballet Igor Moiseyev and was forever changed.  While many Russian choreographers were staying true to the classic ballets, Moiseyev reached far across the globe for inspiration. His works boasted music from all over the world, and his movement was influenced by their rhythms and energies.

“I first saw Igor Moiseyev at a concert in 1967 while studying at the Choreography School at the Bolshoi Theater,” she recently told the Post. “The Moiseyev Company performed and their Rock & Roll literally shook me up. I realized my dream was to dance in the ensemble. The temperament of the dancers impressed me so much that I felt I rediscovered the world of dance.”

Two years later she was invited to join the corps de ballet. With her drive and natural abilities, Shcherbakova quickly caught Moiseyev’s attention and subsequently rose in the ranks of the company. As a soloist, she devised roles in many of Moiseyev’s ballets, some of which were recently returned to the repertoire thanks to her insistence.

“I loved it working with him! Moiseyev created a world of his own. He was a master, a philosopher, an artist. It was both difficult and easy to work with him, he always strived for a goal but never ignored the dancer as an individual. Igor Alexandrovich was never late for rehearsals. Entering the ballroom, he was ready to create. His discipline was unique.”

Next month, Ballet Igor Moiseyev will return to Israel with a mixed program that Shcherbakova feels shows off the diversity of the cast and company. “The program can be called The Moiseyev Dance. The ensemble has been on tour in Israel many times and has always brought the Family Joys Jewish Suite – the last magnificent work of Igor Moiseyev. On this visit, we will show the audience a new performance, which was launched in May 2018. Tango Del Plata was produced by the famous Argentine choreographer Laura Roatta. This is the first full-scale performance created by the company after Maestro had passed away.”

In addition, the company will perform Rock & Roll, which Shcherbakova returned to the company’s repertoire after a long hiatus. “The program is very diverse. It includes the best numbers of Igor Moiseyev, which have become world classics. We want to show the audience that the ensemble not only follows tradition but also develops and renews itself. In Tango Del Plata you’ll see the Moiseyev dancers in an unusual role for them. As for Rock & Roll, the performance will excite the young people in the same way as in 1961 when America was dancing rock,” she said.

Ballet Igor Moiseyev will perform at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on September 17. For more information: israel-opera.co.il.


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