ARTS: Tchaikovsky classic Swan Lake, presented by the Russian Grand Ballet, highlights fall Pavilion line-up
– See the world from your seat in the Henderson Pavilion as the fall season 2015 offerings take on an international flair, beginning with a classical presentation of Swan Lake by the Russian Grand Ballet Oct. 10.
Recognized worldwide, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake was originally performed in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in 1877. It is known as one of the Russian “Big Three” ballets with The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.
“We know that the interest for Swan Lake is enormous,” said troupe Artistic Director Constantine Pinchuk.
“Everyone can recall the main Swan lake theme and the Little Swans dance theme. It is a beautiful fairy tale, also full of technical and dramatic challenges.
“It’s been said that dancing the lead in Swan Lake, for example, is like climbing Mount Everest or playing Hamlet. The principal (lead ballerina) dances two roles — the black swan and the white swan — and both birds go through a lot: changing from swan to human, falling in love and getting tricked and jilted, not to mention the duets and solos.
“At one point, the Swan Queen, danced by the Honored Artist of Ukraine Olga Kifyak, performs 32 fouettes (a quick whip of the leg while raised to the side in a pirouette).
“So, the bottom line is Swan Lake is a masterpiece of classical ballet, and in my personal opinion it should be experienced at least once in one’s lifetime.”
Though ballet is most widely regarded as French it is a decidedly esteemed element in the Russian culture and those of the post-Soviet states. According to Pinchuk, Tchaikovsky is to thank for this, as his work instituted what is now known as Russian ballet.
Pinchuk explained that after Tchaikovsky’s death, the work was revamped by an Italian, French, and Russian trio. The Russian choreographer Lev Ivanov is credited for much of what has become the signature poses and imagery of Swan Lake.
“(Ivanov) invented enchanted maidens in white, with crossed arms over ballet tunics and bowed heads – so that in a pose and the silhouette the audience could (imagine) folded wings of a bird.
“He then added smooth movements of majesty and made them to sing the music with their hands. The viewers would instantly draw an image of songs full (of) melancholy, dancing mermaids, endless fields. Since the 1895 premiere of the revised Swan Lake it is a recognized lyrical apex of the Russian Ballet.”
Pinchuk also noted that Swan Lake marks the first time Russian ballet included female roles, and mastery of these issues is now universally considered key for a professional ballet.
Based in Kiev, Ukraine, The Russian Grand Ballet came together 20 years ago as a collaboration of graduates from choreographic institutions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev. The company considers itself an international project with a troupe of more than 50 accomplished dancers from multiple countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Italy, Moldova, and Japan.
Pinchuk explained that the company is highly dedicated to the timeless tradition of classical Russian ballet, and the audience can expect a classical interpretation of Swan Lake. The troupe will perform the work as part of their tour of 23 U.S. cities this year. In an effort to keep the dancers fit, the performers train daily, even while on worldwide tours.
“China, Spain, Mexico – we enjoyed it all,” said Pinchuk. “There is always something fun and exciting happening while on tour. We get introduced to different cultures and get to introduce the audience to the ballet.
“I remember how during our performance on the island of (The Republic of Mauritius) the mothers, and I mean all of them, would put their hands on their children’s eyes during pas de deux (a duet spotlight dance traditionally performed by a man and woman).
“Or, how amazed were we in Mexico to see only women with their many children coming to the event; no men would join them. But I must say that since this tour will be our first North American tour, we are very excited, and we are sure that we will enjoy it a lot.” | iH
Russian Grand Ballet presents Swan Lake
Oct. 10 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $10
A Night of Irish Spirit with musical groups Solas and The High Kings
Oct. 17 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $10
Three-time Grammy-winning Latin rock band
Nov. 7 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $15
The city of Henderson also provides the below entertainment as part of the Fall Season 2015 offerings:
Henderson Events Plaza
Oct. 24 4:00-8:00 p.m. Tickets $10-$15
This article was featured on page 22 of the October 2015 issue of Inside Henderson Magazine.