November 25, 2023

On November 25, 2023 a great event took place at main stage of Bolshoi Theater: the celebration of 250 years of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy

Lucia Longhi, the spectator from Switzerland, shares her impression of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Gala Concert.

It is hard to find in the world a cultural institution with such a long history and success.

For whom who had the chance to be present, it was a magic evening, decorated with the white snow that fall on the Theater Square, the superb enlightening of the Bolshoi building and the thrilling atmosphere of something great to come.

The Bolshoi was full of a fervent public. The jubilee began with a remarkable video flying over 250 years of history of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy from its opening in 1773 to nowadays, narrating about the main directors of the Academy and the jewel-dancers who graduated at the Academy and became world ballet stars such as Mikhail Lavrovsky, Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasilev, Ekaterina Maximova and many many others.

Then, the students of the Academy together with professional soloists graduated at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy alternated on the stage in group choreographies and pas de deux taken from famous ballets to give a demonstration of the extraordinary level of the school.

It was amazing to see how many young dancers the Academy is forming, especially the high number of male performers, of whom there is shortage in most world ballet schools and companies.

The last part of the evening was to my eyes the most surprising one. The Academy students danced a choreography that Boris Eifman specifically conceived for the event. Everybody knows the hard-working personality of Boris Eifman, who can shape any dancer to his creations, but maybe fewer are really aware of the potential body and soul expression of still young dancers as are the students of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. The combination of Eifman’s lyrical (but highly original in each single step, movement and sequence) choreography with the technical preparation and this surprising inner drive and maturity of the students of the Academy gave birth to a journey to Paradise.

Until I was reconfirmed that the dancers were really Academy students, I could think it was the main Eifman’s troupe on the stage, so intensive, fluently confident, expressive and poetic was the interpretation.

The closure of the evening was the speech of Vladimir Vasilev, the greatest living ballet dancer in the world, surrounded by all the Academy teachers invited on the stage to pay honor to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and also to be honored by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and by the public for their magnificent work.

Lucia Longhi, Switzerland

Photos: Alexey Brazhnikov, Alisa Aslanova, Mikhail Logvinov.

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