Tercentennial History of Russian Ballet
The history of Russian ballet goes back to the first half of the XVIII century. Then the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Landé opened his dance schoolin St. Petersburg. He began teaching specially se
lected 12 boys and girls from families of humble origin. This school operates to this day under the name of the Academy of Russian ballet named after Agrippina Vaganova.
In the beginning of the XIX century the famous French choreographer Charles Didelot came to Russia and the Russian ballet blossomed. It was considered a true art; and Russian poets Derzhavin, Griboyedov and Pushkin sangpraises to Didelot and his dancers in their works.
Konstantin Somov. Russian ballet. 1930
By the middle of the XIX century Russian ballet acquires the features of national identity. At the same time the authorities invited to St. Petersburg a French choreographer Marius Petip. He became famous for directing more than 60 ballets in Russia. All his productions had well thought out composition, coherence of choreographic ensemble and perfect solos. It is no coincidence that pas de deux of Odile Odette and Prince Siegfried in “Swan Lake” are forever inscribed in the history of Russian ballet.
A contemporary of Petip, composer Peter Tchaikovsky, enriched ballet music with symphonic sound, which helped to express complex emotional states of its characters. At the end of the XIX century Tchaikovsky wrote the music for three ballets all of which became famous: “Swan Lake”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Nutcracker”. These ballets are successfully performed on contemporary stages in many countries.
Russian ballet is not just dramatic and technical dance – it is a dance of a grand scale, like a broad Russian soul itself.
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