Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Bayadère: Playing With Fire

Semperoper Ballett presents La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer) in Abu Dhabi.

The dancing Shiva

 La Bayadère originally was staged in four acts and seven scenes by French choreographer Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. Set in ancient India, this typically romantic story tells of love, jealousy, intrigue, murder and revenge between Nikiya, a temple dancer, her rival, the Rajah’s daughter Hamsatti, and Solor, a noble warrior passionately loved by both women.  The ballet was first performed by the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 4 February 1877. A scene from the ballet, known as The Kingdom of the Shades, is one of the most celebrated excerpts in all of classical ballet, and is considered to be one of the first examples of abstract ballet. In 1948, the Kirov Ballet Danseur Nikolai Zubkovsky added an exotic character variation to the Grand divertissement of 2nd act known in Russia as Bazhok or as the Little God, or as it would later be called in the west, The Dance of the Golden Idol.
Aaron S. Watkins production of La Bayadère is based on the traditional version of Marius Petipa. This choreography is performed in 2 acts, the most beautiful scenes and dances of the original ballet are presented and the progression of the story is more dynamic.

Ekaterina Vazem, the first Nikiya (1877)

„Of all the ballets which I had the occasion to create, this was my favorite. I liked its beautiful, very theatrical scenario, its interesting, very lively dances in the most varied genres, and finally Minkus' music, which the composer managed especially well as regards melody and its coordination with the character of the scenes and dances.” - Ekaterina Ottovna Vazem, Prima Ballerina of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres (Memoirs of a Ballerina of the St. Petersburg Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre, 1867-1884)

Our Principal Dancer Natalia Sologub has a more comfortable costume…

“….the cheered premiere was a point of intersection of the St. Petersburg ballet's traditions and generations of dancers ... marking the transition of the Romantic ballet transforming into Classical” - Vera Krosovskaya, ballet historian

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem The God and the Bayadère (Der Gott und die Bajadere) is known as one of the inspirations of La Bayadère

„…In the sinner repentant the Godhead feels joy;
Immortals delight thus their might to employ.
Lost children to raise to a heavenly place.”

„…Es freut sich die Gottheit der reuigen Sünder;
Unsterbliche heben verlorene Kinder
Mit feurigen Armen zum Himmel empor.”

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