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Culture news, 22.03.2004 12:46

Eifman gets his own venue at last

Eifman Ballet Theater performance World-class St. Petersburg choreographer Boris Eifman is to finally get his own performance venue.

For years Eifman, whose experiments with choreography have earned him an international reputation, has had to present his artistic creations on an ever-changing cycle of stages and had to fit in with third parties' schedules. City authorities announced last week that a Palace of Dance will be built by 2008 that will house three local ballet companies, including the renowned Eifman Ballet Theater.

The palace, to be located on the territory of a former chemical works overlooking the Neva River, is a centerpiece of the Embankment of Europe, an ambitious $100 million project occupying 4.5 hectares and featuring a large business center, a fitness center, shopping arcades and a series of mansions offering upmarket accommodation. The city will contribute the real estate for the project and retain a share of the finished development, which will be built using private capital. The site is located on the Petrograd side between the Tuchkov and Birzhevoi bridges, not far from Sportivnaya metro station.

Eifman's company, founded in 1977, have often been referred to as wandering stars. The troupe performs almost exclusively abroad, but, as Eifman himself was always keen to point out, the touring schedule could have been less packed with foreign shows, if the company had its own place on home soil.

"We spent years trying to find a permanent place to settle; it took so much of our time and energy," Eifman said at the project's presentation last week. "But we are artists, we shouldn't be going through so much bureaucracy." The Palace of Dance will not be an "Eifman Kingdom," the maestro said. "I would like to stress that the palace - although it will provide a home for our company - is a much more important place," Eifman said. "At the palace, several companies will perform, rehearse, coach and learn under one roof. This is an experimental project, which hasn't yet been tried anywhere else. We are the pioneers."

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