St. Petersburg

IX International Art Festival “Diaghilev. P.S.”

15 Oct 2018
The 9th edition of the International Art Festival “Diaghilev. P.S.” is dedicated to Marius Petipa celebrating his 200th birth anniversary.  The organizers of this noteworthy event are presenting a rich program that includes ballet, concerts, exhibitions, but also major international scientific conferences. On November 17th -18th an international scientific conference "Marius Petipa on the World Ballet Scene" will be held at the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music Art. This conference will bring together theatre historians, ballet explorers and choreographers-reenactors of historical performances by Petipa.

Also within the framework of the above-mentioned festival will be the International Exhibition "Petipa. Dancing” at the Museum of Theatre and Music. The exhibition will showcase the unique artefacts such as the luxurious costumes of Petipa's premiere performances from the collection of the Museum of theatrical and musical art.

The opening performance of the festival taking place on the stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre on November 21st is the ballet "La Bayadère. The Space of Illusion" by the Japanese dance company Noism, founded in 2004 in the city of Niigata. The troupe's name draws attention to the fact that art is sometimes too obsessed with creating a new method (a new "ism"). This troupe, on the contrary, does not seek to invent a new-ism (hence the name "no-ism"), but studies and develops existing methods. 
On November 22nd, the venue Baltic House welcomes two performances. "The Girl with Porcelain Eyes/Coppelia" will be brought to you by choreographer Tatiana Baganova from the modern dance troupe Provincial Dances and co-produced by the festival itself.

Also on November 22nd the National Ballet of Norway will perform "Epic Short" by choreographer Melissa Hou to the music of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto. "Epic Short" - ironically reflects on the image of a classical ballerina in the modern world. This performance received the Critic's Choice award as the best premiere by Dance Europe Magazine.

The festival continues on the 23rd of November with The Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre on the agenda. The former will demonstrate the play "Paquita" by Sergei Vikharev and Vyacheslav Samodurov. The restored choreography of 1881 is revised from a 20th century viewer’s point of view.

Between November 24th  and November 26th the Angleterre Cinema Theatre presents a movie marathon about the ballets of the famous choreographer Mats Eka, inspired by Petipa's themes: Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty. On the last day of this marathon, a public-talk will be held with Mats Ek himself and his muse, dancer Anoy Laguna.

In the Academic Chapel on November 25th, a baroque music concert dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the singer Praskovia Zhemchugova will take place, performed by the Baroque ensemble Quantum Satis under the direction of Sergey Filchenko. Furthermore, the South African troupe The Dance Factory will present its own version of the ballet "Giselle" on November 26th. In this one, Giselle doesn’t forgive her betrayer, but avenges him! Choreographer Dada Masilo combines folklore with contemporary dance and ironically adapted elements of classical dance.

The festival will end in all its splendour! On November 27th at Alexandrinsky a gala concert "Petipa. A View from the 21st Century" is planned. In this gala concert outstanding masters of contemporary ballet will perform the true Master's creative heritage, namely his masterpieces: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle and more.

Choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, Matthew Bourne, Mats Ek, Marat Shemiunov and Irina Peren, Dada Masilo, Alexei Ratmansky, actors of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre and a final performance by the students of the Ballet Academy. Experience and inexperienced. Dancing and Singing. Modern and Classic. Opera and Ballet. Everyone gathers together one more time to celebrate the life and heritage of Marius Petipa.

Interview with Jo Kanamori

- Your ballet opens the festival. What does it mean for you?
- Being invited to the festival named after Diaghilev and Petipa is already such an honor to me. And now, knowing that Noism will open the festival, in addition to honor I feel a huge sense of responsibility.
- How “Eastern” is your ballet? We know that the scenery, costumes and music were created by a Japanese team.
- If there is some Eastern essence in my work, it should be in our physicality. In Noism we have two original training methods called Noism-Ballet and Noism-method. I think the audience can feel and see how ballet is transformed by the Far-East and the meaning of Noism, named after our traditional theater Noh (Noh-ism).
- 2018 in Russia is the“Year of Ballet”. Are you interested in classical Russian ballet?
- Yes, of course. People call my work contemporary dance but my admiration is always directed at classical works. I believe in the 21stcentury we have to revisit classical art forms once again in order to build up our future in a deconstructed world.    
- Have you ever been to St. Petersburg before?
- No, it is my first time and I am really excited!

Interview with Melissa Hough
- You have danced in many classical ballets. Do you have a favorite role?
- I really love Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. They are very different from each other, but I enjoy them both immensely.
- In your performance you also reflect on the image of a classical ballerina. What does it mean for you? Are you not afraid of being misunderstood? 
- I did not necessarily have the goal of reflecting on the classical ballerina image in my work, but perhaps it could be perceived that way. To me, a classical ballerina is a woman who has trained and obtained a high level of classical technique, and is, therefore, able to tell any story or concept and convey it to her audience. It is today’s directors and choreographers who are shaping what the classical ballerinas’ image becomes for people, but I don’t think the cliche will ever change. Either way, I expect to be misunderstood by people. It is the nature of art.
Are you going to visit any classical ballet in St. Petersburg?
- I would love to stay for the whole festival, but it is, unfortunately, not possible. I would, of course, love to see the Kirov perform. It is strange to say that I have only seen them on video about a million times, but never in person! The last time I was in St. Petersburg I managed to see Onegin at the Mariinsky, but it was the opera.
- And what about the main attractions? The Hermitage, for example? 
- I am planning to go to the Hermitage, but I would most love to visit the Vaganova Academy. I attended the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, where I studied under Alla Sizova and it would be amazing to see the school in St. Petersburg. The arts and theater museum is also wonderful, which I visited when I was here previously. It was so interesting, I would go again.  

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