On September 27, the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company contributed to a festival in France, performing Chopiniana, a one-act choreographic suite with music by Frederic Chopin and choreography by Michel Fokine, and restored Grand pas from Paquita, a ballet with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Marius Petipa.
Soloists and dancers from the Leonid Yacobson Theatre were invited to Opéra Grand Avignon to showcase the best choreographic pieces of the 19th and 20th century, which represent the close ties between the Russian and French ballet culture: the Chopiniana one-act ballet and the Classical Grand Pas from the Paquita ballet.
It is interesting to note that the ballet program shown in Avignon was staged in the 'purely classical' format, despite the fact that during the Yacobson Theatre's previous season, Chopiniana and Paquita premièred as part of a ballet recital, which also featured The Rehearsal one-act ballet, staged by the young ballet master Konstantin Keikhel in the contemporary style, with music by Franz Joseph Haydn and Konstantin Chistyakov. The colourful scenery and resplendent costumes for all three shows have been designed by Olga Shaishmelashvili, a widely known set designer from Saint-Petersburg.
The Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company's visit to France was part of the Saint-Petersburg — Avignon: Saint-Petersburg Seasons 2016 festival, which took place in Avignon from September 20 to September 29, upon the suggestion of the A. Bryantsev Youth Theatre, which had first proposed the idea in May 2015, during the Raduga International Theatre Festival.
Posters announcing the arrival of the dancers from Saint-Petersburg could be seen all across Avignon. The tickets were all sold out well in advance, and the three shows became a doubtlessly momentous occasion for all fans of Russian ballet in France, and for the local theatregoers in particular. The French press also paid quite a lot of well-deserved attention to Leonid Yacobson Ballet's contribution to the festival.
Incidentally, during the shows in Avignon, two dancers made their début appearance: Andrey Sorokin, Leonid Yacobson Company's principal, and soloist Svetlana Svinko, who joined the theatre at the beginning of this season. Both played the parts of the protagonists of the Paquita ballet. The show at the Opéra Grand Avignon venue culminated with a gala ceremony, during which Yacobson Theatre dancers received the festival's honorary diplomas.