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Guest Caatherine Levi

Boris Eifman in Seattle; Stars of Saint Petersburg in Portland

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Thank heavens Boris Eifman is alive and working in this world. Comparing these two performances is quite interesting; I saw them just a few days apart, and they were all danced by the imcomparable artists from the Russian classical tradition. But they are aeons apart in aesthetic and impact. Of course, the Stars of St. Petersburg is really a pick-up company, and traveling light. The most involved choreography they did the night I saw them was "Pas de Quatre". Otherwise, it was all pas de deux, trois, and solos. Minimal costuming, etc. Boris Eifman must be traveling with large trucks, containers, or something. But what I really want to say is that, one must have the museum pieces, because the dancers and choreograhers need to know their history. Crucial for the art form. But thank goodness we have the new forceful images and ideas from a daring choreographer like Eifman. He can depict the moral and sexual decadence of Catherine the Great's court in such a way that you could take a small child to the ballet, and they wouldn't see what is obvious to any adult. Eifman is not a navel-contemplater. He is bold and brave and choreographers such as he is will propel the art form ahead. I hope you all will go see him if he comes near your cities.

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Were there any dancers among the Stars of St. Petersburg group that particularly impressed you? Some of the Kirov dancers originally announced for this tour include Yulia Makhalina and Andrian Fadeyev. I wonder who went in the end.

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Actually, they completely scrambled the order as well as the content of the program, and there were so many short pieces that I cannot be sure of accuracy here... I was very interested to see "Vestris", which was not listed on the program. I believe it was danced by Andrei Ivanov. A wonderful, precise dancer. Fadeev was listed in the program, as he was last year, but I don't believe he was with the group. Makhalina was not. They are all very strong, very expressive. Choreography of somewhat mixed quality.

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