French audiences welcome Giselle and the One-Act Ballet Recital

From November 16 to December 5, the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company toured across France, with its classical rendition of Giselle, as well as with this season's premiere show, the One-Act Ballet Recital, which comprises the Chopiniana choreographic suite, Grand pas from Paquita, and The Rehearsal ballet.

This wonderful, world-famous performance, with a plot in the fantasy genre and music by Adolphe Adam, dates back to the age of Romanticism in ballet and still remain popular around the globe. The Yacobson Ballet Theatre has faithfully preserved Marius Petipa's original version, with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot.

We performed Giselle in five French cities: at the Salle Eurythmie in Montauban on November 17, at the Pôle Culturel in Mont-de-Marsan on November 19, at the Tarbes in Le Parvis on November 21 and 22, at Le Phénix in Valenciennes on December 1 and 2, and at the Théâtre Impérial in Compiègne (where the performance was accompanied by a symphonic orchestra) on November 27 and 28.

We will also treated the French audience to our premiere One-Act Ballet Recital, which includes the Chopiniana choreographic suite, Grand Pas from the Paquita ballet, and the Rehearsal ballet. The Recital took place at the Mérignac in Les Pins on November 24 and at Le Volcan in Le Havre on December 4.

The One-Act Ballet Recital is an elegant synthesis of classical and modern art, of tradition and innovation, of the ballet art's monumental roots and the boldness of today's body language. This event combines two classical ballets, which have been meticulously recreated by the theatre's tutors, and a completely new performance.

The set and costumes for the three ballets have been designed by Olga Shaishmelashvili, and the intricate hand-sewn costumes and enchanting set have been provided by the best theatre workshops across Saint-Petersburg.

Chopiniana is a one-act choreographic suite that revives a true ballet masterpiece, which was first staged by Michel Fokine in the early 1900s. Fokine's creation, in turn, was inspired by Frederic Chopin's suite and La Sylphide, a spectacular ballet starring starring the inimitable Maria Taglioni. The plot of Fokine's stylized performance, originally intended for Anna Pavlova, revolved around the story of a sylphide, an ethereal, faerie creature, the embodiment of hope, who fell in love with a mortal man. Fokine himself wrote, 'It was a dance in Taglioni's style — the style of that bygone age when poetry was the cornerstone of ballet; when a dancer tiptoed on her pointe shoes not to show off her endurance, but to, by barely touching the ground, give off the impression of zephyr-like flight, something not of this earth... The audience was mesmerized, and so was I'.

The next item on the Recital's programme is the revival of the famous Grand pas from Paquita, with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Ludwig Minkus. The original Paquita, a ballet staged by Joseph Mazilier with music by Édouard Deldevez (loosely based on Cervantes' novella La Gitanilla, or The Gypsy Girl), premièred at the Grand Opéra in Paris in 1846. In 1881, after several successful runs in Europe and in Russia, Marius Petipa presented a new version of Paquita at the Mariinsky Theatre. Édouard Deldevez's score was supplemented with several additions by Ludwig Minkus: these included the children's mazurka and the Grand pas. Since then, the ballet has been revived multiple times at various music theatres across Europe and worldwide — most notably, at La Scala and the Vienna Opera, where it was staged by Rudolf Nureyev.

The modern one-act ballet, The Rehearsal, contrasts starkly with the classical heritage of Fokine and Petipa. This bold theatrical experiment views human character through a prism of poignant grotesque, while also entertaining the audience with light comedy. Loosely based on Orchestra Rehearsal, a film directed by Federico Fellini, the premiere performance has been staged by the young choreographer Konstantin Keikhel, with music by Franz Joseph Haydn and Konstantin Chistyakov, who has arranged and composed several original music pieces especially for the ballet.