Bolshoi Ballet Kicks Off North American Tour in Boston

Classic Arts News   Bolshoi Ballet Kicks Off North American Tour in Boston
Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet opens a North American tour tomorrow in Boston with performances of Don Quixote and Raymonda. The appearance marks the first time the company has danced in Boston since 1989.

The 228-year-old company will also travel to Mexico City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Berkeley, and Chicago over the next two months.

The company has undergone significant changes over the last ten years, since its director of three decades, Yuri Grigorovich, retired in 1995. Even before Grigorovich's departure many critics felt that the quality of the dancing had declined dramatically.

After a succession of short-term directors, the appointment of 35-year-old Alexei Ratmansky in January is thought to be a positive sign. Although he trained at the Bolshoi School, Ratmansky spent the last ten years dancing lead roles and staging ballets in Russia, Canada, and Denmark. For this tour, he has engaged a group of new dancers.

Some stops on this tour include Declan Connellan's controversial staging of Romeo and Juliet, with choreography by Radu Poklitaru. This work, with its spare, angular choreography and contemporary costumes, was praised by Russian critics when it premiered last December, but was later panned in London. The organizers of the Boston performances passed on Romeo and Juliet, opting instead for the more traditional works. "I think it represents the best of the Bolshoi," Ratmansky told the Boston Globe, "a bit more free, more dramatic, than [St. Petersburg's] Kirov. Not so academic."

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