It's no secret that Russia adores its ballet. Nothing from history illustrates this devotion quite as much as when Russian fans of Marie Taglioni made a soup out of her used pointe shoes in 1842. (Yes, they ate it.)
But now, more than a century and a half after the shoe soup episode, Russia is still enthusiastic about ballet and continues to produce the highest quality dancers who are deserved of such wild fandom.
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This month, Saint Petersburg State "Russian Ballet" performs its version of Swan Lake in Houston for two nights as part of their limited six-city tour of the United States. Set to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's classic score, Swan Lake tells the well-known story of a girl (Odette) who bears the curse of transforming from a white swan during the day to an ethereal maiden at night. When the prince (Siegfried) ventures into the woods after dusk, he sees Odette from across the lake and falls instantly in love; tragedy and beautiful dancing ensues in Acts two and three.
The Saint Petersburg State "Russian Ballet" troupe, including the corps de ballet and soloists, is comprised entirely of graduates of the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia--a school that rides on perfection, poise, and virtuosity. The Company's Artistic Director is Alexander Bruskin, a former soloist with the Kirov Ballet and prior classmate of Mikhail Baryshnikov.
"We appreciate Houston's cultural interest in performances like these. It will be a great opportunity to share our skills, history and culture," says Bruskin.
Performances of Swan Lake are scheduled for Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12. 7 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For more information, visit the Jones Hall Box Office or houstonfirsttheaters.com.