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Culture news, 23.04.2004 14:26

Mariinsky Theatre celebrates Balanchine century

Mariinsky Theatre celebrates Balanchine century To celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Balanchine, the greatest ballet choreographer of the 20th century who was an alumnus of the Mariinsky Ballet, the Mariinsky Theater fittingly premiered a new tribute programme last week. It consisted of three of Balanchine's early masterpieces created between 1940 and 1951 - "The Four Temperaments," "La Valse," and "Ballet Imperial" (later renamed "Piano Concerto No. 2").

This interesting and diverse program, staged by John Clifford and Colleen Neary from the Balanchine Trust, follows the Mariinsky's success in 1999 with Balanchine's 1967 masterpiece "Jewels," which the company is performing this coming weekend on its tour to the Italian city of Turin. (Balanchine's work was first danced by the Mariinsky in 1989, and the company has been gradually staging more of his ballets under the present director Makhar Vaziyev.)

These ballets provided many rewarding roles especially for the company's young talent who danced with relish Balanchine's masterly and endlessly inventive choreography, which still looks amazingly fresh after more than five decades.

There were loud ovations from the audiences on both nights. This new Balanchine program marked another notable triumph for the Mariinsky Ballet, and would no doubt have pleased Balanchine, if he had been watching from heaven

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