The Russian National Ballet returns to southwest Michigan on Friday, January 18, at 8 p.m., with its adaptation of the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty during a stop at The Mendel Center Mainstage as part of its U.S. tour. This performance is part of The Mendel Center’s Discovery Series.
Choreographed by Marius Petipa, Sleeping Beauty is a full-length ballet in three acts with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It premiered January 16, 1890, and is often considered the finest achievement of the classical ballet. It is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional mime, expressive pas d'action, and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting.
The Russian National Ballet was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s. It was a time when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union's ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies. This movement was dedicated not only to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet, but to invigorating this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in the dance from around the world.
The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, was founded by and incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev, and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.
In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko was selected by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. Radchenko is the founder of the Russian National Ballet, and she has focused the company on upholding the grand national tradition of the major Russian ballet works and developing new talents throughout Russia, with a repertory of virtually all of the great full works of Petipa: Don Quixote, La Bayadere, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia and La Sylphide, as well as productions of, among others, The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and La Fille Mal Gardee.
A separately ticketed pre-show Fairy Tale Dinner and Tea will be served in Mainstage Lower Lobby beginning at 6:30 pm, featuring a kid friendly menu and special surprises. Families are encouraged to dress their little princes and princesses in their finest royal or dance attire for the dinner and the ballet performance.
Tickets on sale now starting at $32. Tickets for the dinner are $15 for adults and young people ages 13 and older, $10 for children ages 3 – 12, and children under 3 are free.
Tickets for both events are available online at www.TheMendelCenter.com, and through The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, option 1, weekday 10 am to 6 pm. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, seniors, students and children, active military members, and veterans. For information about group rates, pre-show party options, and other special arrangements, contact the Box Office. While dinner tickets are not required for children under 3, ballet performance tickets are required for all attendees, including lap sitting infants.
This performance is made possible in part by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment and is sponsored by Honor Credit Union, Reny Picot, and WNDU Channel 16.