Russian ballet brings ‘Swan Lake’ to Rialto
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media January 12, 2012 1:22PM
State Ballet Theatre of Russia presents "Swan Lake" Jan. 25 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. | Courtesy of the State Ballet Theatre of Russia
The State Ballet Theatre of Russia presents ‘Swan Lake’
♦ 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25
♦ Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
♦ Tickets, $23-$48
♦ (815) 726-6600
To most audience members, the ballet dancers in The State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s production of “Swan Lake” appear to easily glide across the stage with little or no effort. But the reality is that to acquire the level of skill necessary to present such a show, it takes years of dedication and practice.
“Being in top athletic form is extremely important,” said Anastasia Dukhnina, public relations manager for The State Ballet Theatre of Russia about the performers. “In spite of how effortless the dancers make it look, the ballet is one of the most demanding and difficult sports and arts. Most of the Russian ballet schools are boarding schools where children are admitted at the age of 10. Rigorous daily training, ballet classes, artistic classes, ballet history and piano lessons together with secondary school level education become their life for the next eight years. Dancers have to maintain the highest technical level and, on top of that, be great actors who are able to embody their characters with passion.”
“Swan Lake” will be presented by The State Ballet Theatre of Russia on Jan. 25 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
“Swan Lake,” by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse, who is rescued by the handsome hunter, Siegfried. “Swan Lake,” as performed by The State Ballet Theatre of Russia, presents a company of 65 Russian dancers, many of whom have won international ballet competitions.
“The State Ballet Theater of Russia was founded in 1961 in the city of Voronezh, one of the oldest cities in Russia,” Dukhnina said. “The repertoire of the theater includes more than 30 classical and modern ballet productions. The first North American tour took place in 2006, and since then the theater has toured the United States several times.
“Most of the dancers are the graduates of the Voronezh Ballet School,” she continued. “The theater invites the most talented dancers upon their graduation from the school. Besides the graduates of the Voronezh Ballet School there are many young aspiring dancers who come from all over Russia. The Theater is highly regarded among other Russian ballet companies. Famous choreographers and ballet masters come to Voronezh to work together on various classical and modern ballet productions, which makes it a very prestigious and popular place.”
And although the performers find satisfaction in presenting a high-quality show, they also know their performance is part of a tradition.
“The tradition of classical ballet is what Russian ballet is famous for,” Dukhnina said. “That’s what sets apart many other ballet companies from Russian dancers. Russia is fortunate to have such a rich ballet history; to have so many talented choreographers, dancers and musicians create and collaborate on remarkable ballet productions. Therefore, preserving this heritage has been one of the primary goals. Ballet schools in Russia pass this tradition on from generation to generation, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the great art created more than 100 years ago.”