From Russia with love – really

The Russian Ballet performs pure, unadulterated classics

The St. Petersburg Theater Russian Ballet (photo credit: PR)
The St. Petersburg Theater Russian Ballet
(photo credit: PR)
As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These words speak to the hearts of the artistic management of the St. Petersburg Theater Russian Ballet, which will visit Israel this month. A classical ballet company established to uphold and cherish the rich history of the art form, the Russian Ballet’s one goal is to present ballet at its finest.
“Our company preserves traditions of the classical ballet and the choreographic style of the Mariinsky or Kirov theatre. We adhere to strict observance of the principles of movement, expressiveness and the spiritual creativity of the unique charm of dance,” explain artistic director Ludmila Bragina and choreographer and ballet master Alexandr Manoshkin.
Despite an inherent language barrier, Bragina and Manoshkin’s commitment to and pure love of ballet come through loud and clear.
The pair is in charge of an enormous artistic team, which includes more than two dozen dancers, costume designers, musicians and set designers.
Together, the group brings centuries-old ballets to the stage in as close an expression of the original as possible.
In this way, the Russian Ballet differs from many of its peers.
These days, most ballet companies present programs that integrate the old with the new, assuring a broad audience base. Peppering in contemporary creations often allows ballet troupes to extend a hand to individuals whose taste does not ally with that of the classical masters. However, Bragina and Manoshkin feel that this is not their place or mission.
“There are so many experiments in ballet now,” they explain.
“Almost every choreographer wants to make some changes to classical ballet and to make something new on the base of famous performances. The main thing is to preserve the authenticity of ballet, not to forget the origins, to be correct and understand what is acceptable in experiments, not to cross the line. We don’t like to make experiments. We don’t perform contemporary dance because we know that our mission is to show authentic ballets as they were created many years ago by famous choreographers and to remember the history of ballet.”
Although they are admittedly old fashioned, Bragina and Manoshkin see great power in sticking to the basics, and this commitment has paid off. The company, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has been invited to tour to locations around the globe and has received stunning reviews.
“We see that interest in ballet is increasing,” they say. “More people want to see it, to understand it. The public likes to watch ballet because it is the kind of art that is pleasing to the eye and it is inspiring. The combination of choreographic lines and expressive movements, beautiful scenery and costumes with glorious classical music gives the audience an unforgettable experience.”
While in Israel, the company will present two ballets – Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. The Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra, under the artistic direction of Omer Wellber, will accompany both performances.
“These are both masterpieces of Russian classical ballet. They are the most interesting, complicated and beautiful ballets. We wanted to show the real traditions of the Russian classical choreography. We also have beautiful scenery for these ballets. And the music that accompanies them is considered the best of Tchaikovsky’s creations,” they assert.
The St. Petersburg Theater Russian Ballet will perform at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on September 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21. For tickets, go to