• Julia Sumzina

Dance Open Gala 2021. The ballet world stars in Saint Petersburg

This year Dance Open Festival had the XX season. For Saint Petersburg's academic and contemporary dance lovers, it has been one of the most important cultural events since 2001. Now Dance Open is a world-famous “brand” that unites dancers and choreographers from more than 30 countries.

Despite the pandemic situation, Gala 2021 happened off line in Saint Petersburg on the Oktyabrsky Concert Hall stage. It included the performances of the principals and soloists from leading Russian and European ballet companies: Mariinsky and Bolshoi ballet, Royal Ballet of London and Stuttgart ballet, Dutch National ballet etc.



The dancers of Bolshoi ballet opened the evening with Pas d’action from La Fille du Pharaon by Pierre Lacotte, where the lyrical duo of Evgenia Obraztsova and Semyon Chudun were sparkling in the Ancient Egyptian setting. I would also notice Dmitry Smilevsky, his graceful steps and feeling of music.

Charming and accurate Anastasia Stashkevich and bright Igor Tsvirko performed the duet from the Soviet style ballet Bright Stream by Alexey Ratmansky


Stylish and atmospheric In our wishes, choreographed by Cathy Marston and danced by the Royal Ballet dancers Melissa Hamilton and Lukas B. Brændsrød, filled the audience in the aesthetics of a Hollywood film.



The Russian premiere of the Senseless Kindness by Yuri Possokhov showed the audience the melancholic story to the music by Dmitri Shostakovich. The artists of English National Ballet Rebecca Blenkinsop, Alison Mc Whinney, Francesco Gabriele Frola and Isaac Hernández, who tell us a little about the new ballet, looked very natural in this Russian piece understandable for everyone around the world.



The performance of Mono Lisa by Itzik Galili, where Elisa Badenes and Friedemann Vogel hypnotized the audience by every movement and emotion of this demanding and very unusual contemporary piece, was absolutely astonishing.



Then in the second part of the Gala, Elisa and Friedemann appeared on stage in the breathtaking Duet from Mayerling by Kenneth MacMillan. It looked as an exemplary kind partnership where both feel each other on the subconscious level in technique and acting part.



Dinu Tamazlacaru in Les Bourgeois by Ben van Cauwenbergh gave the audience a chance of feeling the mood of Jacques Brel’s music.


The classical Grand Pas from Don Quixote by Alexander Gorsky in which Maia Makhateli and Daniil Simkin impressed the spectators by their dashing temperament and great level of technique, added the bright tints to the Gala’s program.

Gorgeous Viktoria Tereshkina performed Grand Pas Classique in duo with Timur Askerov. Another star duo from the Mariinsky company, soft and accurate Maria Khoreva and remarkable flying Kimin Kim danced the Petipa’s Grand Pas from Talisman for the first time together.



There were also very curious examples of contemporary choreography performed by Introdans Company: the Russian premiere of Promenade by John Mackey and the fragment from Cantata by Mauro Bigonzetti, the soloists of the Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company presented one more Russian premiere of the fragment from High Breed by Jacopo Godani. The modern flamenco style and Alento by Antonio Najarro and his company was interesting to all spectators not depending of their level of involvement into the genre.


Looking at the spectre of various styles and ballet stars of the evening, I can say that global ballet world is staying alive despite all problems. The audience had a chance to discover the new pieces and talents. So, let’s hope the new season will bring us even more ballet impressions on the stages around the world.


Text and videos: Julia Sumzina

Photos: Ksenia Zhavoronkova, Nina Danilina, Dance Open

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