St. Petersburg Ballet - and prima ballerina Galina Mezentseva - comes to the Spokane Opera House Tuesday night for a single performance. The evening will take the audience on a tour of the best of classical Russian ballet, ranging from portions of “Swan Lake” to “The Dying Swan.”
The same company performed in late September at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman; that program will be repeated in Spokane.
The first half of the program includes The White Swan adagio from “Swan Lake” (Act II), the pas de dix from “La Vivandiere,” the pas de deux from “Giselle” (Act II), the Black Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake” (Act III), the monologue from “Legend of Love” and “Passione,” a modern, whimsical Italian romance.
The second half of the evening includes “Rhapsody on a Love Theme,” a modern ballet created by American choreographer Peggy Willis-Aarnio set to the music of Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.” The choreographer dedicated the ballet to the strong spirit of the Russian people to help them sustain the arts through the fall of communism.
The pas de deux from “Don Quixote” follows “Rhapsody,” but the star of the evening is clearly “The Dying Swan.” This stunning ballet was created by Michael Fokine to the music of Camille Saint-Saens for the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova.
“The Dying Swan,” in fact, was premiered on Dec. 22, 1907, in St. Petersburg.
While Mezentseva performs in four of the ballets on the program and it’s evident her skills have been finely honed by years of training in the Russian tradition, she is not the whole show. This company is loaded with young, talented dancers who represent the future of Russian ballet. They are strong and athletic and capable of performing the classics that have graced the stages of the Russian cities for centuries, as well as modern ballets.
Those who have seen the Bolshoi Ballet perform the last two years in Spokane should not stay home with the thought they have already seen the Russian dancers perform. This company boasts a surprising depth of world-class dancers that exceeds even the Bolshoi troupes.
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MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: St. Petersburg Ballet Location and time: Opera House, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $22.50, $18, $16 ($5 discount on all tickets for students)