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  • Writer's pictureJulia Sumzina

DIALOGUES at Diaghilev P.S. Festival

Diaghilev P.S. Festival 2021 was mostly dedicated to contemporary art and dance. The Dialogues on the stage of Alexandrinsky theatre in Saint Petersburg contained six pieces by the famous modern choreographers: Sasha Waltz, Emma Portner, Mats Ek, Crystal Pite, Jiri Kylian and Ohad Naharin. Their ballets are regularly performed by the biggest companies around the world, including Paris Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada etc.

Six duets, the dancers of the Norwegian National Ballet, the Staastballett Berlin, the Sasha Waltz & Guests, the Kidd Pivot Company and the Batsheva Dance Company, presented six short stories about human relationships.


Human body, its possibilities and fragility is the main topic of Sasha Waltz’s creative way. This time the audience could see the dance ‘out of music’, something intimate and thoughtful, oriented inside more than outside.


Islands is Portner’s first ballet and acclaimed work performed by the Norwegian National Ballet, puts the young Canadian choreographer in a row with the leading names of contemporary ballet. I can say this work is very individual and unambiguously memorable.


Juliet and Romeo, an emotional tornado by Mats Ek, is a work about the two people and their feelings, but dedicated mostly to a female character. His Juliet is not an idealized but a natural young woman, ‘ordinary’, charming and marvelous in her freedom.

Why not Romeo and Juliet?
Faithful to his habits Shakespeare built his world-famous play on an existing source; the Italian tale named Julietta e Romeo. In the same order are the names ending his own version of the drama. Rightly so! It is in Julias family that the conflict in-between the two Veronese houses deepens, spreading its deadly result.
~ Mats Ek


The Animation performed by Gregory Lau and Renee Sigouin impressed the spectators by the freshness and difficulty of choreographic style. The atmosphere between tech-noir and the independent art mixed with the emotional filling creates an astonishing ‘cocktail’, where the idea and skill can make it unforgettable.


14’20’’ is an excerpt/extended duet from the work 27’52” choreographed by Jiří Kylián in 2002. This sensual and bright piece about the connection between two people and its duration through life. It can provoke different associations: personal and historical, cultural ones.


The Ravel’s Bolero, created as a score for a ballet, has inspired choreographers not once, the most famous is the version by Maurice Béjart (1961). After such success it’s always difficult to make something the same level and in my opinion B/olero by Ohad Naharin has no such energy and appears as ‘just’ a contemporary piece.

To my mind, such evenings are very interesting for Russian spectators more accustomed to academic classics or neoclassic ballets. Every year Diaghilev P.S. gives to the audience the chance to see performances, exhibitions, new names and masters, the works famous and celebrated around the world. So, let’s wait for the next year and hope to discover even more.

Photos: Natasha Razina, Mikhail Vilchuk

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