From Russia with love

Leading Russian choreographer Boris Eifman brings his company back to Israel, this time with ‘Red Giselle’ and ‘Onegin’.

Elman's ballet 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Elman's ballet 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
‘At the present moment we are preparing for our performances in Israel,” said choreographer Boris Eifman in a recent interview. His company, the Boris Eifman Ballet, will perform six shows divided into two programs at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center starting on Thursday evening.
“We are very happy to return because we know that we are loved and always awaited in Israel. All our past tours in Israel had great success. But to achieve success is one thing. And it’s not simple to retain it. I hope that during our future tour in Israel, we will justify all the expectations of our spectators,” he continued.
Last year, the Eifman Ballet came to Israel for a similar engagementduring which they performed two of their director’s works,Anna Karenina and The Seagull. Infact, the company is a staple of TAPAC’s dance programming. Eifman’s2010 visit boasts one new piece, Onegin, and an oldfavorite, Red Giselle.
Eifman has been abeacon of artistic energy in St. Petersburg for more than 30 years. Hisworks draw on the deep well that is Russian history and speak of lifein a tumultuous country. Beyond his mastery of classical ballet, Eifmanis bold and risky as a choreographer, often incorporating sexual angstand struggle into his opuses. For inspiration, Eifman says he turns toRussian literature.
Onegin, which is hisnewest work, explores Pushkin’s narrative poem EugeneOnegin. Pushkin’s poem is a cherished classic, which dealswith the conflict between fiction and reality. Eifman spoke of hisconnection with this text. “I combined Pushkin’s plot with realities ofour epoch, new Russia. It was very important for me to understand inwhat way the Russian soul has changed since the time when Pushkincreated his novel in verse. Pushkin’s work can be a unique instrumentof creative interpretation of the modern epoch,” he said. “In hisworks, an artist cannot avoid reflecting the epoch in which he works,thinking about the past or asking questions about the life of acontemporary society.”
A unique mixture of contemporary andclassical music allows Onegin to exist both inpresent and past times. The score includes music by Tchaikovsky and aharder, rock edge by Russian musician Sitkovesk.
In RedGiselle, Eifman brings the beloved balletGiselle to Russia. He based his lead character onfamous Russian ballerina Olga Spessivtseva, who won her place in thespotlight as prima ballerina in a production ofGiselle for the Marinsky Theater in 1916.Spessivtseva, who died in 1991, is remembered as one of the bestclassical ballet dancers of all time.
“The play is devoted tothe tragic fate of Olga Spessivtseva, who had to leave Russia and diedin oblivion in a foreign land. Spessivtseva’s life story is an eternaland clear example for everyone about the tragedy of a person who lostthe threads of spiritual connection with their motherland,” explainedEifman. “The ballet is full of thoughts about Russian history, Russiancharacter, about the power of historical circumstances over a person.”
Tosee the Boris Eifman Ballet’s flawless dancers twirl across the stage –that in itself is worth a trip to the theater. Regardless of thesubject matter, Eifman’s works are always dramatic and well crafted.
TheBoris Eifman Ballet will perform at TAPAC on June 3 through June 8. Fortickets, visit