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Culture news, 28.10.2003 12:54

The Ballet de l'Opera National de Bordeaux on tour at Mariinsky Theatre

The Ballet de l'Opera National de Bordeaux 1st and 2nd November will see the Ballet de l'Opera National de Bordeaux performing on tour at the Mariinsky Theatre. The company will be coming to St Petersburg for the first time since it was founded over two hundred years ago. The names of ballet's reformers - Jean Dauberval, student of the renowned Jean Georges Noverre, and Marius Petipa - are closely linked with the ballet company of the Opera National de Bordeaux.

For its first visit to St Petersburg, the company, since 1996 headed by Charles Jude, a student of Lifar and Nureyev, will be bringing a unique retrospective programme depicting the development of the French ballet school in the 20th century, from the Saisons Russes to the present day.

The programme for the tour includes Serge Lifar's Suite en blanc, Thierry Malandain's Sextet, a duet from Ivan Favier's ballet Febrile and Jacques Garnier's Aunis. For St Petersburg's ballet-lovers, the highlight will undoubtedly be Suite en blanc by Lifar, the dancer and choreographer who became the Saisons Russes' last great ballet dancer and later - from 1930 to 1968 - head of the Opera de Paris.

Other titles listed in the programme will prove no less interesting. Sextet by Thierry Malandain, the French choreographer and founder and Director of the virtuoso company of the Centre Choregraphique National-Ballet Biarritz, recreates the atmosphere of Degas' Danseuses: harmonious classical ballet emerges from romantic disorder.

Jacques Garnier's chamber ballet Aunis is an anthem to the discovery of heaven - one body joyfully surrendering itself to the power of the music. Garnier is one of those choreographers who has done much to develop and distinguish modern dance in France.

Febrile, by experimentalist choreographer Ivan Favier, portrays a nervous, suffering, cruel and passionate body of dancers, a shameful discovery of one's own reflection in someone else. As Director of the Ballet de l'Opera National de Bordeaux, Charles Jude has made it his task to restore a classical repertoire to the company. Now the company's playbills list productions not just by leading contemporary American, Dutch, British and French choreographers, but also Marius Petipa's Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda and The Nutcracker, as well as versions of Giselle, Coppelia and Don Quixote to name but a few of the ballets making up the classical repertoire.

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