In a dream world we'd all be able to pop over to the Bolshoi to see the best of Russian ballet whenever we want. But because (unfortunately) that's not a possibility for most of us, the Bolshoi makes it easier by bringing their masterpieces to the silver screen. Now in its 8th year, the 2017-18 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema season presents a wide range of classic story ballets restaged by some of today's most celebrated choreographers. Movie theaters nationwide will screen these ballets starting on October 22; you can find the closest cinema to your hometown here. So grab a ballet-loving friend and a bucket of popcorn and be sure to get your tickets soon—if these knockout trailers are any indication, tickets are bound to sell out fast.
First up is Le Corsaire. Reworked by Alexei Ratmansky (a theme of this year's selections) from Petipa's 19th century classic, this ballet is billed by the Bolshoi as one of their "most lavish productions." A full shipwreck on stage? Yeah, "lavish" seems about right.
On Sunday, March 19, Fathom Events will high-beam the Bolshoi Ballet to movie theaters around the world—and while we tend to associate the Bolshoi with 19th century classics, this time we’ll see their more versatile side. “A Contemporary Evening,” recorded from a performance earlier that day in Moscow, includes two ballets originally created on New York City Ballet: Jerome Robbins’ The Cage (about a female tribe of man-eating insects) and Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons. But it won’t be completely devoid of tutus—Harald Lander’s Etudes rounds out the program, with plenty of bravura.
This will be the first time the Bolshoi has tackled The Cage, staged by NYCB ballet master Jean-Pierre Frohlich. (He recently talked to the New York Times about the challenges of staging this hyper-stylized ballet on the Russian company.) But with Ekaterina Krysanova as the Novice, it’s bound to be a thrilling performance. She’s not the only major Bolshoi star featured – casting for the entire program is listed below. To find theaters and show times near you, go to fathomevents.com.
The Novice: Ekaterina Krysanova
The Queen: Yanina Parienko
First Intruder: Nikita Kapustin
Second Intruder: Alexander Vodopetov
Ballerina: Olga Smirnova
Principal Dancers: Semyon Chudin, Artem Ovcharenko
Couple in Yellow/White: Yulia Stepanova, Vladislav Lantratov
Couple in Red: Ekaterina Krysanova, Denis Savin
Couple in Green: Anna Nikulina, Anton Savichev
Couple in Blue: Anna Okuneva, Dmitry Dorokhov
Couple in Violet: Victoria Litvinova, Artur Mkrtchyan
Couple in Claret Red: Victoria Yakushev, Mikhail Kochan
Mark your calendars! This Sunday, the Bolshoi Ballet, in partnership with Fathom Events, kicks off its 2016-17 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series. Between now and April, seven Bolshoi productions will be high-beamed to movie theaters around the world (400 in the U.S. alone), giving ballet lovers a chance to see the legendary company on the big screen.
In addition to standard classics like The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, this season is book-ended by two uniquely Russian ballets not performed by other companies, starting with Yuri Grigorovich’s The Golden Age on October 16. Set in a cabaret during the Roaring 20s, The Golden Age is a Soviet love story between Boris, a young fisherman, and Rita, a dancer with connections to a local gangster. Yuri Possokhov’s A Hero of Our Time, based on the great Russian literary classic of the same name, closes out the season in April.
In an exclusive interview, Pointe spoke with Bolshoi prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova about what it’s like to perform for the camera.
What is it like backstage when you know you’re being filmed live?
I feel a great amount of stress because I know so many people are watching. I get so nervous and tired that it takes me a week to recover afterwards! Although it doesn’t really matter if it is a regular performance or a live streaming—I always get nervous beforehand. But once I step onstage and start getting into my character, I don’t have any more worries. I’m just dancing and enjoying the show.
One of the ballets, Yuri Possokhov’s A Hero of Our Time, has never been seen in the U.S. Can you tell us about it?
A Hero of Our Time is based on a very famous Russian novel by Mikhail Lermontov. The ballet features three chapters of the book: “Bela,” “Toman” and “Princess Mary.” It’s such a great show because it was choreographed on the Bolshoi and showcases a lot of different artists throughout. I play Princess Mary, and I’m absolutely in love with her character.
Why is it so important to make these Bolshoi performances available to audiences worldwide?
This gives people who cannot otherwise come to the theater a chance to see the Bolshoi. And it helps to expand audiences. Of course, a lot of people who come are ballet fans, but many are not—they just want to see what it's like. Lots of my friends told me they saw the advertisements and came just out of curiosity, and they were surprised by how amazing the show was. Visually, it rocked their world! I’m really glad I have this opportunity to show my art, and to show it in high quality. Because from time to time, people record me and put it on YouTube, but the quality is not great--not like something that’s been filmed for a movie theater.
Catch Zakharova in Swan Lake on February 5, 2017. Casting for the other productions has not yet been released. The full cinema schedule is below; to find a theater near you, visit the Fathom Events website.
The Golden Age – Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm ET and PT/11:55 am CT/10:55 am MT
The Bright Stream – Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 12:55 pm local time
The Nutcracker – Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm local time
The Sleeping Beauty – Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm ET and PT/11:55 am CT/10:55 am MT
Swan Lake – Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 12:55 local time
A Contemporary Evening – Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 12:55 pm ET and PT/11:55 am CT/10:55 am MT/ 9:55 am PT
A Hero of Our Time – Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm ET and PT/11:55 am CT/ 10:55 am MT