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presented by - Sid and Nellie Braaksma
THE KYIV BALLET OF THE NATIONAL OPERA OF UKRAINE
Eastern Europe is home to the grand and impressive Russian ballet style - the esteemed calling card to a triad of world class companies: the Kirov, the Bolshoi and the Kyiv Ballet. The Kyiv Ballet has dazzled audiences with its artistry and technical brilliance in Europe, South America, Japan, United States and Canada. Most recently, Sulyma Productions Inc. had the Kyiv Ballet together with Canada’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, perform with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Andrea Bocelli and London’s Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra in the North American arena touring spectacular A Royal Christmas.
After the turn of the century, The Kyiv Ballet repertoire, like that of the company’s contemporaries, included Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and La Bayadere. During the 1920’s and 30’s, the company began staging works with a more modern approach, including Prokofiev’s The Fool and Shostakovich’s Golden Age. As time progressed through Eastern Europe’s tumultuous history, the Kyiv Ballet continued to live up to the same standards as its peers, and, since the independence of Ukraine in 1991, the company’s theatrical heart and soul has flourished. The Kyiv Ballet is finally earning recognition as the hidden jewel it is, complete with a roster of classical and contemporary works.
Today, the Kyiv Ballet boasts a full repertoire of classics, and, with a company of 150 artists and a solid school of up-and-coming young dancers, it has a depth characteristic of the most established companies of the world. The artists of the Kyiv Ballet are, and always have been, among the most talented in the world. Serge Lifar, a notable company soloist from the early days, was one of the 20th Century’s greatest dancers and choreographers. Today, alumni and students of former Artistic Director Viktor Lytvynov are principals in the finest companies around the world: Ivan Putrov with London’s Royal Ballet Covent Garden; Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky with the American Ballet Theatre; Vadim Solomakha at the San Francisco Ballet; Leonid Sarafanov at the Kirov; and, notably, Alexei Ratmansky, the former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet and current Artist in Residence at the American Ballet Theatre.
In addition to virtuosic dancers, the Kyiv Ballet also boasts one of the most talented set and costume designers of the theatrical world. The National Opera of Ukraine’s Maria Levitska dresses each production in a unique interpretation that brings a lavish, sumptuous, even exotic visual spectacle rarely seen in the Western world. Combining the talents of critically acclaimed choreographer and former Artistic Director Viktor Lytvynov with the newly appointed Artistic Director Denis Matvienko, the Kyiv Ballet exhibits impressive creative talents giving audiences a seldom seen sense of old world grandeur, leaving even the most sophisticated dance fan awestruck.